My Top Five Tips for Surviving the Holidays
Surviving the holidays without exhausting yourself is hard even for the healthy, but it is especially tough for those of with a chronic illness like Psoriatic Arthritis. Even if we are lucky to get through the season without a severe flare, the additional stress and social commitments wear us down. However, by having realistic expectations and planning with your condition in mind, it is possible to have a merry season. Here are my top five tips for surviving the holidays and enjoying the season despite having psoriatic arthritis.
1. Don’t over commit.
Don’t feel that you need to accept every invitation that comes your way. I only commit to one or two events and either decline the rest or say that I will attend if I am able to. I also find that by spacing out the events that I do commit to, I have time to physically recover between commitments. By under committing I find myself able to do more and canceling less often.
2. Be flexible.
You don’t have to celebrate on the actual date. If Christmas falls on a Saturday and you find yourself exhausted before the day arrives, there is nothing wrong with planning your celebration on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday! If hosting a holiday dinner increases your pain and runs you down for weeks afterwards consider having someone else host the meal. If you have to leave a party earlier than planned, don’t let it tarnish your memories of the day. Enjoy each moment and be thankful that you were able to attend even if you have to leave earlier than you had hoped to.
3. Plan ahead.
Do as much as you can ahead of time. In order to not exhaust myself transforming my home for Christmas each year I began leaving my décor up all year long. We are embarking on our fourth year of Christmas. If you aren’t keen on seeing your Christmas tree in your living room all the time just slide it into another room like a guest room or office. Either prepare as many meals ahead of time and freeze them or stock up on frozen meals for easy prep on high pain days.
4. Pace yourself.
Don’t wear yourself out by mixing your dough, baking cookies, and decorating them in one day. Depending on your energy you could mix your dough and either freeze or bake your cookies and freeze them, and then they will be ready when you are to frost and decorate. Don’t worry about holiday decorating time lines. There is nothing wrong with getting a head start by decorating for Christmas in October.
5. Make use of technology.
If handwriting holiday cards drains you, print them yourself or send digital cards. Instead of running yourself down by driving all over town to do your holiday shopping, purchase your gifts online.
Were you ever misdiagnosed before being diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis (PsA)?