Dec 1, 2020

Seven Tips for Balancing Arthritis Care with Holiday Cheer

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The holidays are officially here, and I don’t think we have ever been so excited for a fresh new holiday season!

The holidays provide a unique opportunity to spend quality time with family, take some time off of work, revel in some downtime, and celebrate traditions. However, while this can be a joyous time, it can also bring some additional health risks if you have arthritis.

Unfortunately, chronic conditions don’t take a break during the holiday season, and holiday stress, cold weather, and illness can exacerbate symptoms. While there are some risks, there are many great things about this time of year that shouldn’t be missed, so try these seven tips to balance arthritis care with holiday cheer and avoid those risks keeping yourself healthy and happy all season long.

Handle your money woes. 

Although spending money during the holiday season is unavoidable, you can control how much you spend. Some of the stress you will feel over the holidays will have a lot to do with financial pressure if you aren’t careful.

To help prevent stressing over money, plan ahead, review your finances, and develop a realistic budget for gifts. Buying gifts shouldn’t affect your ability to pay your bills. If you have a large family or friend group, plan to do a gift exchange instead of buying something for each person. Or research homemade gift ideas; after all, the holidays should be about the memories, not the “stuff.”

Avoid slips and falls. 

With all the magic in the air, it’s easy to get caught up in the festivities and forget about your health. While you’re busy decorating the house and trimming the tree, safety is probably one of the last things on your mind. But for those who suffer from arthritis, safety and body awareness must be a priority.

To ensure you have a safe and happy holiday with your loved ones this season, be careful when decorating and when you’re out and about in the ice and wet weather.

[Click here for more holiday decorating safety tips!]

Attack those holiday blues 

The most wonderful time of the year can inspire a wide range of emotions. The months and events leading up to and following the holiday season can be exhausting to our physical and mental health, especially if you are coping with a chronic condition.

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 holiday-related depression, try these six tips for beating those blues:

  • Embrace gratitude – even on bad days, there are good moments; choose to focus on those.
  • Take care of your body – Stay active, drink lots of water, and get plenty of rest.
  • Accept your feelings – Whiles it’s important to focus on being thankful, it’s also ok to not always feel jolly.
  • Help others – Seeing the struggles of others can often be the best cure for the blues.
  • Talk to someone – Tell others how you feel. Sometimes the best medicine is a long chat with your friends, family, support group, or doctor.

Stay on track.

It is easy for our sleep, work, activity, and other routines to go off course during the holiday season. Try to stick with your regular habits. Go to bed at your standard time, don’t skip workouts, eat at regular mealtimes.

Avoid medication mishaps. 

The holidays are a busy time of year with many distractions, be sure to stay on top of your medication regime. Skipping meds can lead to inflammation, worsening pain, and disease progression.

To avoid forgetting, set reminder alarms on your phone or use a special pillbox that will help you keep track. And don’t forget to stay on top of refills; the last thing you want to do is be out of your medication when the pharmacy or doctor’s office is closed.

Do your best to avoid getting sick. 

Flu and virus activity generally peaks in December, and holiday gatherings are prime opportunities for these viruses to spread. People taking immunosuppressive drugs, like those commonly prescribed for arthritis, are at increased risk of getting sick. These medications lower the body’s ability to fight infection. Follow your instincts and common-sense advice:

Stay stress-free.

Focus on staying as stress-free as possible this holiday season. Research shows stress can worsen disease activity and arthritis symptoms, so take some downtime from the holiday hustle and bustle.

Go for a walk, meditate, binge on Christmas movies, listen to music, read a book, take a hot bath – anything that will transform crazy days into a truly happy and healthy holiday season.

Balancing the holidays with arthritis can be challenging, but it’s crucial to ensure that this happy time of year doesn’t end up miserable. The holidays are about family and friends, but we must take care of ourselves before we take care of others. For more tips on living well with arthritis, keep following Carolina Arthritis. If you need more ideas on surviving the holidays, call us today!