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TMJ Travel and Holiday Tips

With the holidays right around the corner, it is time to start planning on how to deal with the stress that comes from the whirlwind of activities during the season. Living with chronic pain can be difficult some of the time – but during the holidays it can be especially trying. Here are some tips we’ve accumulated from living with it ourselves and from our smart readers & friends.

Gift Giving

  • Everybody loves gift cards….you can buy them when you do your grocery shopping….no extra trips to the mall.
  • Draw names……fewer gifts to worry about.
  • If your children are older, why not pick a charitable organization and make a donation in your family’s name?
  • Shopping online is easy, gifts can be delivered already wrapped.
  • Stick to a budget.

Going out of town for the holidays?

  • Schedule travel time for when you feel your best.
  • Mail your presents ahead of time so you don’t have the extra baggage.
  • If you are flying, try to avoid peak times or days…shorter lines, less stress.
  • If your trip is by car, allow extra time for frequent stops.

Parties and Get-Togethers

  • If you are asked to do a cookie exchange, buy the pre-made, ready to bake ones, and add your own decorative touch.
  • If you are hosting a party, ask your guests to bring their favorite hors d’oeuvre.
  • If it is your turn to have holiday dinner, ask your guests to bring the sides so you will only have to do the entree.
  • Pre-made dinners from your local gourmet store or specialty grocery store/deli are great.
  • Cook ahead of time when you feel good, then freeze the food for later.
  • Buy pre-made frozen appetizers.
  • Costco and Sams are great places to buy hostess gifts around the holidays.


  • Buy a pre-lit artificial tree, when the holidays are over, put it away decorated. We all know how quickly the holidays roll around again.
  • Trim the tree parties are fun. Let your guests bring a decoration and trim the tree for you!  This is a good time to serve the frozen appetizers.
  • If you must decorate outside, have someone else do it for you, or buy a pre-lit decoration.

Your Health

  • If you are going to be traveling, make sure your medication is in its original container.
  • Find out your doctors schedule for the holidays. Double check to be sure you have enough medications to get you through.
  • Watch your alcohol intake. Many medications do not mix well with alcohol…and if you don’t drink normally, now probably isn’t the time to overindulge.
  • Nap when you can!  Take care of yourself. Learn to say no. Ask for help when you need it. You will be surprised at how much people will understand if you just let them know what you’re going through.

What are your favorite tips to get through the holidays? Do you have any special jaw-friendly holiday recipes to share with us?

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