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12 Ways You Can Support Your Friend With Lyme Disease This Christmas

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For a Lyme warrior, every single day can be a struggle. Holidays often bring additional stress to many, as some have lost their enjoyable feeling and glory.

The holiday gatherings sometimes turn into a source of misery, a reminder of a distant life that some with Lyme disease can no longer enjoy.

Battling Lyme, chronic fatigue, depression, pain and so on, leaves one drained, often with no desire whatsoever to attend a social gathering.

Though, it doesn’t mean that things have to stay this way or there is nothing that you can’t do about it. That being said, here are 12 tips on how you can make your friends or family members overcome the pain of isolation at holiday time:

1. Run errands. Ask if he needs any help with his Christmas shopping list. You can either volunteer to take him around or to do the shopping for him. Keep in mind that texting is a less invasive way of communication. Rest assured that your text message is being seen, even if you do not get an instant reply. Take it from a Lymie, it always feels good and it brightens my day to see my friends care about me and how I feel.

2. Offer to prepare a meal. Prior to cooking, ensure you are aware of the dietary restrictions. There are plenty of healthy recipes online for Lyme. Delivering it in person once or twice a week gives you a chance to chat face-to-face and brighten his day. It does not have to be a long visit.

3. Volunteer to babysit the kids for a few hours or take the pets out for a walk. That would offer your friend or loved one a chance to rest or do something for himself. He would definitely appreciate your offer.

4. Offer house cleaning services. Enroll your services in his Christmas house cleaning or doing the laundry. What might look like a simple house chore to you requires a huge amount of effort from a Lymie. Attending to household duties can be exhausting when you are fighting chronic fatigue, pain, etc.

5. Invite him over for Christmas. Holidays are tough and a stressful period for anyone who struggles with a chronic illness. You certainly don’t want your friend to feel alone and depressed on Christmas. Sometimes people with Lyme disease isolate themselves from the world. They feel left out because they can’t relate to the normality of others.

6. Accommodate for his special nutritional plan or diet. In most of the cases, Lymies follow a strict diet which does not include any of the dishes you are regularly planning to serve for Christmas. Your friend will certainly appreciate your efforts of preparing some delicious diet food for him. Note that it takes a lot of effort and self-discipline to see others stuffing themselves with all the forbidden goodies, while he’s on very strict diet.

7. Serve sugar-free beverages and sweets. When you are doing your groceries, buy some green tea, natural juices, non-alcoholic drinks and bottled water, because he won’t be having alcohol. Also get some dairy sugar-free ice cream for the Christmas evening feast. Try making a new gluten-free dessert using stevia!

8. Provide a resting space. Ensure you have a resting area available, in case he feels overwhelmed or exhausted. Standing, sitting too long or even a long conversation can knock him down for the entire day or even longer. Remember that people with chronic illness have limited energy.

9. Act normal in his presence. Do not be overly polite or try too hard to make him feel better. Don’t avoid topics related to Lyme, as if you are walking on eggshells. He doesn’t need pity. That type of attitude might get him annoyed.

10. Educate your guests. Let your guests know in advance that your Lymie friend will be present and ensure they will not bombard him with questions about Lyme, or mention a comment such as, “You look fine – you don’t look sick!”

11. Prepare some take away casseroles for him because he may not feel like cooking. You will save him the pain of spending time cooking in the kitchen.

12. Be direct about the Christmas gift. Ask bluntly what he needs and don’t take no for an answer. Leave politeness and shyness aside. Most of the Lymies speak their mind because they are literally too tired to play games. The gift can be anything, from vitamins, supplements, whatever. It will be more appreciated than another trinket or something that won’t bring any direct benefit. When fighting chronic fatigue, a Lymie doesn’t have a lot of energy left. Address the gift issue directly and go for it!

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Originally published: December 12, 2017
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