Nov 10, 2017

Live Well: How to Survive the Holidays with Arthritis

The holiday season is officially upon us! For most this means family, friends, baking and shopping. However, for someone with arthritis this time of year can be hard. It is harder to enjoy this time of year when simple things such as decorating or gift giving can be difficult, exhausting and even painful. Having arthritis doesn’t mean you have to give up on your favorite time of the year. It just means finding ways to adapt and manage. Follow these six tips for surviving the holidays and having a happier and healthier holiday season.

Make time for your needs.

This is an extremely busy time of year. Make sure you are giving yourself time to rest and sticking to an adequate sleep schedule that allows for a good night’s sleep. Be sure to treat yourself during this time of year. If you’re feeling down or stressed, let yourself indulge. Schedule a massage, get that calorie filled and expensive coffee, or go home and binge on Netflix.

Ask for help.

Seek support from your community. The people who understand you best are others who are dealing with arthritis as well. Sometimes just venting to someone who faces the same challenges can help provide relief. Be sure to talk to your friends and family and be honest with them about your limitations or needs during the holidays. If you need help while shopping, reach out to a loved one. If you are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, ask a friend to sit with your children while you nap. The people who love you will want to support you, but often times you just have to ask.

Be healthy.

It’s easy this time of year to eat terribly and throw your fitness regime out the window. The temperatures are cold and that comfy couch and cozy blanket are more appealing than a brisk walk outside. Unfortunately, inactivity will make pain and depression worse- especially this time of year. Staying active has been proven to help manage pain for arthritis patients so don’t give up because it’s cold or you are busy. Sugary sweets and weight gain can add to arthritis pain, so while it’s ok to indulge once in a while don’t make it a habit during the holidays. Also, be sure to drink alcohol only in moderation. While cocktails and the holidays seem to go hand in hand, it can exacerbate arthritis symptoms and increase depression.

Gift give with ease.

Online shopping is essential for those suffering from arthritis. Forget driving to the mall, fighting the crowds and lugging heavy shopping bags. With the internet, shopping for your friends and family is literally at your fingertips. For those with arthritis, shopping is the easy part. Gift wrapping, on the other hand, can make even the strongest person cringe. If you are going to gift wrap, set a goal of two presents per night. Or enlist the help of friends and family and have a wrapping party. Many places offer gift wrapping with your purchase, or utilize the beautiful bags that can be found at almost any store.

Survive socializing.

While it’s tempting to say yes to everything, be smart about filling up your calendar. Plan and prepare while keeping in mind you have to rest and exercise. Spread things out throughout the holiday months so you aren’t overwhelmed and fatigued. Remember to hydrate, eat well and stay active.

Stay smart in the kitchen.

Baking during the holidays is essential. If you are cooking or entertaining, be smart about what you can handle. It will not be enjoyable if you are in pain or exhausted. Follow tips on how to make handling food easier and utilize a grocery delivery system. Take frequent breaks and make you kitchen arthritis friendly. Get the holiday music pumping and have fun!

Surviving the holidays can be tough for anyone, but for someone with arthritis a happy time of year can be miserable. The holidays are about family and friends, but before we take care of others we must take care ourselves. For more tips on living well with arthritis, keep following Carolina Arthritis. If you need more ideas on surviving the holidays, call us today!