Dec 13, 2019

How to Beat the Holiday Blues when you have Arthritis

The holiday season inspires feelings of joy and nostalgia in some people, and feelings of panic and stress in others. How can the most wonderful time of the year inspire such a wide range of emotions? The months leading up to and following the holiday season can be exhausting to our physical and mental health, especially if you are coping with arthritis. While some people can grin and bear it, the holiday hustle and bustle can leave many feeling overwhelmed and hopeless. Emotions that can become exacerbated with all the happiness and cheer that surrounds them. If you struggle with the holiday blues, try these six ways to reconnect your heart and mind with the real reason for the season.

Focus on gratitude.

Embracing gratitude and positivity can help to ease the sadness that occurs during the holiday season. Research shows that it can also help manage your arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, “thankfulness helps people feel happier and more optimistic, even when things aren’t going well. It strengthens personal relationships and can improve physical health.”

Take care of your body.

Eat well, drink a lot of water, exercise and then be merry. Instead of making yet another New Year’s resolution to join a gym or take a yoga class, give your mind and body an early gift and do it right now. You will be amazed at how just the littlest bit of movement will lift your spirits and how reducing junk food, sugar and alcohol will reduce your blues. Sleep deprivation and inconsistent sleep patterns are at the root of many people’s depression so make sleep a priority during these winter months.

Limit alcohol.

It can be easy to overindulge around the holidays, but excessive drinking will only make things worse. While cocktails and the holidays seem to go hand in hand, it can exacerbate arthritis symptoms and increase depression.

Accept your feelings.

There’s nothing wrong with not feeling jolly; many people experience sadness and feelings of loss during the holidays. So be kind to yourself, and give yourself some time to wallow in your sadness every now and then. Just don’t make it a habit.

Help others.

Helping others can be the best antidote to self-pity and seasonal sadness. Find someone who is struggling more than you are, lend them a helping hand, and remember the real meaning of the holidays.

Seek help.

Don’t underestimate the power of friends, family, support groups, and neighbors. Talk about your feelings with them, make a simple phone call or chat over coffee. Releasing your feelings will help others understand you better, and more importantly, help you understand yourself!

Remember that if you are experiencing a bout of the winter blues or full-blown depression, there is no need for you to handle it alone. If your feelings of sadness or hopelessness become more serious, talk to a mental health professional. Be sure to contact Carolina Arthritis with any questions or concerns and together we can create a mental health plan that has you on a path to happiness and peace.