My MS-Friendly Thanksgiving Outfit
Last updated: November 2023
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year. My dad’s side of the family has 40+ members so it’s not too often that we all get together. Thanksgiving is one of those days.
And I am fully aware of how fortunate I am that I enjoy my family. So, for the few hours that I get with them, I want to be feeling my best. I want to stand next to my aunts, uncles, and cousins in the kitchen enjoying the appetizers and catching up, while the turkey and all the fixins are in the oven.
Holidays and oven heat
Did you catch that? The majority of this large family hangs out in the kitchen where the oven is on for hours.
The average person will hear this and think, wow that’s too many people in one space, I would need a little more elbow room. Or, someone else might think, I at least hope that I get a spot by my favorite appetizer.
How heat can impact those with MS
Someone living with multiple sclerosis? They most likely go immediately to the heat. The oven itself can elevate the temperature enough to trigger symptoms. Then, add in all that body heat and it’s enough to want to reconsider your RSVP, even for the most delicious meal of the year.
The heat from an oven is often a trigger for me. It’s unsuspecting because it’s in the background and at best, it only elevates the temperature in the room or house by a few degrees. But that’s all it takes for someone with MS to be triggered. Did you know that it can be as little as one or two degrees of your internal body temperature to trigger symptoms?1
That’s mind blowing to me. That’s so subtle you may not even feel it. And that’s exactly what a home oven can do on Thanksgiving.
The invisible temperature struggle
I call it the danger zone – the level where you don’t really feel a big temperature change, and it’s not warm enough to trigger your body to sweat. In this case, sweating is actually a good thing because it helps your body to cool down.
I also consider it the danger zone because like many of our symptoms, it’s “invisible” to others. Someone may say that it’s warm, but they certainly wouldn’t have the same reaction that they would if someone were out in the middle of a summer heatwave. Yet this slightly elevated temperature can be just as harmful to us.
Planning my outfit around a warm kitchen
So that brings me to my Thanksgiving outfit. It’s one of the most important outfits that I pick throughout the year. It’s not because of the fashion. It’s because I need to select something that will be light and cool and best support me in the “heat of the kitchen.”
Dress for the heat inside
Living in New Jersey, we can have cooler temperatures outside and even snow at the end of November, but that doesn’t matter. I’m showing up to Thanksgiving in a short-sleeved top and my hair often pulled back in a ponytail.
Consider your fabric
I don’t want heavy fabrics. I don’t want extra layers. I want thin, light, airy fabric that is breathable and has the best chances of keeping me cool.
Find the exit and hydrate
Then, I of course, will do my best to position myself as close to the back door as possible, so I can step outside when needed to cool off a bit. I also like to have a cold glass of ice water with me because in addition to drinking it, I can also set it on the table and casually rest my wrists against it to further cool me down.
Utilize the AC
Last but not least, I also have been known to scout out the floor vents and if the air conditioning is on, I will definitely stand close to it, if not directly over it, to keep cool as well.
These may be little tricks but they each help to keep my body temperature in check so I can enjoy the time with my family.
I’m curious, is the heat of the oven a challenge for you – especially on holidays when people tend to gather in the kitchen? How do you best handle it? Please share below so we can learn from you too!
What does advocacy mean to you as someone living with multiple sclerosis? Please select all that apply: