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Adrienne Dellwo

What NOT to Do on Black Friday with Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

By November 27, 2013

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Blog Classic: Nov. 16, 2012

Please tell me you're not planning to hit the Black Friday sales the day after Thanksgiving! That's an environment those of us with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome should avoid at all costs.

Why? Let me count the ways:

  1. We'll probably be too worn out from Thanksgiving
  2. We can't afford to lose the sleep
  3. It's too much exertion
  4. The chaos of it can lead to over stimulation, anxiety, panic attacks and flares

Now for a little more detail on each of those points:

1. Even if your Thanksgiving is fairly low key, you still should set aside some time to recover. Just socializing for several hours can be enough to wear us out, let alone the grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning that usually go along with it. Pushing yourself for another day is a very bad idea.

2. This time of year, we're more likely to be stressed out and over exerting ourselves. Since we generally don't sleep well anyway, forcing yourself to get up ridiculously early - or stay up after a busy day - will only leave you more sleep deprived, which will exacerbate all your symptoms. It's not the way to start what's often the busiest 4.5 weeks of the year.

3. The standing, running, pushing and other craziness of it is too much for most of us. Just the initial adrenaline rush of the door opening could be enough to kick up symptoms.

4. For many of us, any day in a big-box store can lead to over stimulation. The bright lights, the overwhelming amount of colors and visual chaos, the crowds ... our central nervous systems just can't process it all. That can lead to anxiety attacks, massive symptom spikes, and sometimes even mental overload to the point that you can become confused and disoriented.

Yes, the savings are amazing. But these days, a lot of stores have "doorbusters" online as well. If you're an insomniac, you might just be able to stay up late, do your shopping in peace and quiet, then go to bed. Sounds like a much better option to me!

Here's more help for getting you through your holiday shopping and the season in general:

Have you braved Black Friday? What was it like? How do you handle holiday shopping? Leave your comments below!


Photo Getty Images

November 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm
(1) Jenny says:

I used to go to the whole Black Friday thing every year. But since I had to leave my job because of the fibro, money is beyond tight, so I can’t even window shop with the ads (it is too tempting to me). I know there are worse things in the world vs going Black Friday shopping but it is the guilt of it. I am the reason we are strapped financially, because of my condition. Sorry this really gets to me some days more than others.

November 16, 2012 at 3:58 pm
(2) valerie says:

Jenny, I had to look to see who wrote the above comment, because I wasn’t sure if I wrote it! I am going through the same guilt as you. Leaving my job and counting pennies. I continually argue with my husband that I need to go back to work. The guilt stresses me out.

November 16, 2012 at 4:13 pm
(3) Leslie (Boom) Arnold says:

The only way that I’ve experienced Black Friday is as an employee at WalMart 13 years and Home Depot 3 years. Believe me, being on the working end is at least as hard as doing the shopping! Fortunately or unfortunately, I escaped the grind 2 years ago when I became one of the recession’s “early retirees,” by becoming unemployed at 62 & employers being reluctant to hire people my age. Since the FM developed in December 1999, I worked with it for quite some years, & the holidays were always an ‘adventure.’ Glad to be out of it and I NEVER shop Black Friday. Do most of my shopping online now, or at WM during quiet times (weekday mornings, mostly).

November 16, 2012 at 5:03 pm
(4) Donna says:

I too used to do all the black Friday nuttiness. Not anymore. I fatigue too easily plus my back cannot take it. I do all my shopping on-line where I get free shipping. No gas, no fatigue and more time to really enjoy the holiday’s.

November 16, 2012 at 6:43 pm
(5) Kim B. says:

I was over going out a few years back when some idiot literally “rear ended me” with a shopping cart! Now I do my Black Friday shopping online and they even have better deals the following Monday when they have Cyber Monday deals. Most of us are unable to work so a little extra cash will always help. If you do your online shopping using ebates.com you will get cash back just by going to their site and THEN go to the store you want.

November 16, 2012 at 7:57 pm
(6) Karen says:

There is nothing, and I mean nothing that has EVER tempted me to go shopping on black Friday, even before fibro and an array of other physical problems. I no longer do any Christmas shopping. Hubby and I decided that since we aren’t religious and have no family to share any celebration, we just forgo the whole thing. I can honestly say, I am much happier. We may fix a special meal.

Back when I still bothered, I did a lot of on-line shopping, especially when they offered free shipping.

November 17, 2012 at 8:43 am
(7) Brooke says:

I went with my parents when I was growing up. Then worked in retail on Black Friday. I tried to go last year it was to much for me. This year I will order online. My husband says he will go if there is anything I want from the sales.

November 17, 2012 at 1:46 pm
(8) Rebecca says:

I got overwhelmed grocery shopping and at Kohl’s yesterday. The stores are already getting crazy! (I also grabbed the wrong bag and locked my purse with my keys, cell phone, and wallet in the car.) But I was frazzled before that.) I like online shopping, but does anyone else find online shopping overwhelming and fatiguing?

November 18, 2012 at 9:44 am
(9) Debby says:

I went Black Friday shopping 3 years ago. I thought it would be “fun” to go out with the girls. I stayed up all night as many of the stores were opening at midnight. By the time I got home, I was in so much pain, I ended up in bed for the entire next day. I didn’t even come home with more than a few movies. So totally not worth it.
Now, I shop online for virtually everything. Most stores give you an extra discount, even when there aren”t any other sales going on, just for shopping online.

November 18, 2012 at 12:23 pm
(10) Cindy H says:

I can think of another important reason why those of us with either FM, CFS, or both need to forgo Black Friday. After the stress of Turkey Day why expose ourselves to the cold/flu viruses the day after. I have learned that too much stress has caused me many a cold over the years. For those that of us that have to go out on black friday take lots of extra vitamin C.

November 18, 2012 at 12:51 pm
(11) Cindy H says:

I can think of another important reason why those of us with either FM, CFS, or both need to forgo Black Friday. After the stress of Turkey Day why expose ourselves to the cold/flu viruses the day after. I have learned that too much stress has caused me many a cold over the years. Whether we like it or not, our immune systems are affected negatively by stress. For those that of us that have to go out on Black Friday take lots of extra vitamin C and shop for only the most important items and get back home again.
Rebecca, whether we shop in stores or online, too much neural stimulation of any kind can be overwhelming and tiring. I love to play on Ebay and have caused myself to feel overload many times. Shop online for shorter amounts of time. Our conditions cause us many a balancing act.

November 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm
(12) Lonnie says:

Black Friday is a con-job, lots of hype,bells and whistles to whip you into a blind shopping spree. It is designed to liberate you from your money and buy things you dont need. Stores are now open on Thanksgiving which is wrong, it only manages to take this important holiday and break the family apart. Do yourself and the employees who are paid low wages an no benefits by the corp-greed that has infested this Great Country and STAY HOME . You can find everything you need on the net or Instore next week, I buy a lot on the net and they bring it all to my door, So fellow Fibromites avoid this trap and the pains it causes.Stay home and Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays.

November 23, 2012 at 5:25 pm
(13) Jane says:

I wouldn’t step one foot out the door on BF. I live in a damp, cool climate and the weather always kills me this time of the year. I am retired so I stay at home, listen to mellow acoustic guitar on my Lazy Boy while reading my Kindle and stay COMPLETELY stress free. I and my spouse are both born in December, one on Xmas Day and the other seven days before. We never buy gifts for each other but we make sure that we go to a upscale restaurant in January (to avoid holiday crowds) and eat a fine meal with wine and dessert. We save all year for it and it’s worth it.

November 23, 2012 at 7:07 pm
(14) Donna says:

I saw the madness on the TV in the stores in the USA. I’m in Canada. They showed the stores here and there were people calmly walking down the mall, a guy playing a quitar and kids sitting on a bench. It was all very calm and peaceful. What a difference. We don’t have that kind of madness here. No object is woth fighting over.

November 23, 2012 at 7:37 pm
(15) Deb says:

I never shop on Black Friday! Too much noise, too much of everything. I did find one thing I hadn’t thought about. My son and I go to a local buffet place for Thanksgiving dinner — no relatives in the area to share with so we would have a better variety at a buffet. But for some reason the noise of the crowds there got to me. There is one room in the restaurant that seems to be quieter and this year I asked to be seated there — and I told the waitress that I the noise in the main room was just too much. This is the first year I’ve been brave enough to make the change. Christmas will be at a Chinese buffet which is normally very quiet — but now I know I can ask for what I need and that makes me so pleased with myself — and my son was quite proud that I could make my need known.

November 24, 2012 at 6:40 pm
(16) Abot Bensussen says:

Not about to wait in line for anything other than immortality. But I did order a new down pillow from Macy’s on sale, and am so much more comfortable got to crow about it. Worth every penny and shipping was free. Really feathering my nest this year.

Son sent me a high density reading light for the bed as I am finding it more difficult to read with my bedside lamps.. Daughter is waiting for me to hand them down. With family nothing goes to waste.

Overate at thanksgiving, but gave a lot of thanks, too. President Lincoln was right to try and unite our land after the Civil War, and we need it now, too, after the last elections.

Love the way it gets dark so early, I’m always ready to go to bed by 4pm. And now it seems more normal. Hoping all my fibromites are keeping warm. An electric blanket is a must! and I also use a SunBeam shoulder electric heating element. It saves me from so much cold and stiffness in the mornings. Wouldn’t want to wake up without it. My electric blanket was on sale at Macy’s, too and is soft and velveety.

November 24, 2012 at 7:38 pm
(17) nancy k says:

OK….I HATE to shop but my neck and back pain have gotten so bad it hurts to sit in front of my computer since I have to hold my head up to look at the monitor.

Black friday afternoon found husband and me at the large shopping mall. 20 min. of looking for a parking place, then I got out and looked for a shopper going back to their car so I could stalk them for their parking place. Thank goodness I always carry ear plugs because the Mac Store was a zoo. I wouldn’t have made it 5 min. without my ear plugs because they help me to tune out all the excess noise and confusion. We’re now the proud owners (I hope) of a new Ipad which will allow me to carry it around from kitchen table, to barstool and counter, to starbucks. It’s really necessary for me to feel human again!!!!

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