3 reasons your tics (and mine) tics might be worse after the holidays:
If you think about it, a lot of the stress surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas is good stress. I’ve personally found, however, that eustress can rile up my tics just as much as bad stress, despite the fact that it’s caused by…well, good things.
2. Tic Cause #2: Too much food I don’t usually eat.
Processed sugar and bad fats, in particular, make me feel all jumpy. Fried food is almost completely off-limits. I know better than to eat an entire slice of pie unless it’s about the width of my finger. Likewise, dark, dark chocolate is the way to go when it comes to candy. I eat 86% cocoa because milk chocolate and white chocolate also make me feel awful. Everyone has their limits, but after years of dealing with my body, I’ve realized that I just can’t handle much junk. And you know what? That’s probably a good thing.
3. Tic Cause #3: Not enough movement
We’ve harped before on how absolutely necessary exercise is to lower stress and tics. The problem with Christmas Day is that there’s usually not a ton of movement. Between stockings, presents, food, church, food, games with friends, Facetiming distant family, and turning around to see your horrendous kitchen covered in pots, pans, plates, and everything else under the sun, you just don’t get the usual movement that an average day provides.
What To Do With this Information:
- Try to plan your schedule in advance – Nothing is more stressful than being caught unprepared. (Hands up if you were like us this year and totally weren’t ready for your guests when they arrived…and it was totally your fault.) Try not to shop on Christmas Eve (guilty) by writing down your grocery list several days earlier. Try to pick up the house a little at a time. You don’t need perfection (ignore that one relative that likes to critique). You simply need to be ready enough that you’re not a complete spazball by the time your fun rings the doorbell.
- Plan for your schedule to change – Admit it, most of us are terrible at making last minute adjustments to the schedules. It drives us crazy. Planning ahead to change plans might seem silly, but if you’re prepared for the change, it might not seem as traumatic.
- Prepare food that you’re more comfortable with – Offer to bring your favorite healthy foods. If you’re the host, well, you’re in charge of the menu. Easy peezy lemon squeezy. If your family makes butter soaked turkey every year, volunteer to bring a smaller bird or meat that was cooked in a healthier manner. If you need to, eat a little bit of your favorite foods before you arrive at dinner so you don’t pig out on the bad stuff.
- Limit the junk snacks – My family knows now that the only chocolate I eat very much of is dark. As in 86%+ cacao. Over the years, they’ve begun to send me such because it doesn’t contain as much sugar, and that works better with my body. If you’re given all sorts of bad snacks, try and stash it in a shoe somewhere and then find somewhere (or someone) to dump it on later. The dozen foil wrapped Santas might look good, but you’ll probably pay for it dearly later in tics.
- Limit the caffeine intake – I’ve written extensively about the effect caffiene has on many people with Tourettes. Read it. Learn it. Embrace the Decaf. Or even better, the water. If you’re looking for something yummy and warm to drink, try my Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe: 1 or 2 Spoonfools of Cocoa Powder + 1 Packet of Stevia + Warm Almond Milk.
- Plan for periods of movement in your day – Whether it’s tossing the ball with the kids in the backyard or finding someone else who wants to go on a walk with you, or even setting up a dance off, (Dance Dance Revolution might be so ten years ago, but it’s still fun!) try to get in some actual movement during the day. Remember, exercise produces natural stress fighting biochemicals! You’ll thank yourself three days later when you’re NOT suffering the effects of inactivity + bad food + stress.
I hope this helps. I will certainly be planning my Christmas differently next year, as it’s nearly a week after Christmas, and I’m still feeling the effects. Have a great new year, and maybe try and put some of these tips to practice for your party. I, for one, will be at home in my pajamas, probably watching Star Trek with my husband as we play with our daughter’s Megablocks.
Have any warning tales to share or any ideas to give? Just comment in the box below! Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter for extra information about neurological disorders, education, and encouragement. And as always, thanks for reading!
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