Tip 1: Ensure you have enough ostomy supplies for the Christmas period
Firstly find out when the last order/delivery date is for your supplier and, whilst it’s always important to order only what you need, you may want just a little extra this month to cover you in case of emergency until normal opening hours resume.
Tip 2: Find out where you are going for Christmas in advance!
This can help with your confidence and packing any necessary supplies. We’re spending Christmas day with my brother and sister-in-law. They don’t live far away so I only need to have my emergency stash in my bag, and they are fully aware of my stoma so understand if I need to slip out. I’ll still make sure I have my deodoriser to take the edge off my output smell for added confidence.
Tip 3: Decide in advance what you should and shouldn’t eat or drink
If you are worried about eating all your pre-ostomy festive favourites I highly suggest trying them prior to Christmas, in small amounts first to see if your body can handle them or if you need to make some minor changes. For instance, I sometimes struggle with root vegetables causing thick output/pancaking, so I know to drink plenty of fluids to help thin it out.
Tip 4: Watch out for too many bubbles!
Drinking too much fizzy stuff (alcoholic or otherwise) can cause some severe ballooning if you aren’t careful! I talk purely from experience on this… either use an adapter valve or “burp” your bag to allow for the gas to escape so you feel a bit more comfortable.
Tip 5: Remember to take care of yourself
Taking time to rest is essential as most of us struggle with fatigue. The Christmas period usually means a lot more is going on – big dinners, lots of family members, keeping the house tidy, organising presents, coping with over-excited children… Christmas can be very stressful! If you struggle with fatigue you should make time for you – even if it’s just 5 minutes peace with a mince pie and a cup of tea.
Tip 6: Speaking of tea… stay hydrated!
I highly encourage you to ensure you’re properly hydrated. With everything going on, it can be easy to forget but dehydration is not uncommon for ostomates throughout winter, especially as central heating can dehydrate you just as the sun would on a hot summer’s day!
Tip 7: Be wise with your fashion choices
Wearing something you feel comfortable in is an important issue for me, especially when I’m going to someone else’s house. I don’t want something to be too tight or restrictive but then again I also don’t want something too baggy!
Tip 8: Be mindful of your time and energy
Don’t stay anywhere longer than you want too. This is something I often struggle with - usually because my partner drives, but since having kids it’s easier to find an ‘excuse’ however if you don’t feel well there is no need to ‘suffer through’ and possibly ruin what has been a lovely time.
Tip 9: If you need the loo, go!
Don’t feel bad about frequent toilet trips. If you have high or thick output it’s always a good idea to empty before you hit your danger zone! So if you feel comfortable emptying at half full or a quarter full, just do you.
Tip 10: Enjoy yourself!
Having an ostomy shouldn’t prevent you from having festive fun with your loved ones!