Flexible Festivities

Flexible Festivities

For many years, I tried forcing my body to celebrate holidays on their proper dates. This led to failed outings and longer than necessary recovery times. No longer wishing to dread holidays or birthday celebrations I decided to make some changes.

Preparing for any celebration

The time leading up to any celebration is always filled with energy sucking preparation. I may have to shop for a gift or buy or prepare food to bring. If the celebration is not taking place in my home I need to figure out how I am going to get there and prepare my outing bag with items needed to keep me as comfortable as possible. If I am hosting the celebration, I am in charge of all the preparation and cleaning. No matter how well I delegate or plan; I am always exhausted by the time that date on the calendar appears and often fall asleep at the event, or my body forces me to cancel.

Instead of forcing my body to follow dates on a calendar I have learned to become more flexible when planning celebrations. For example, instead of being a stickler about the family opening presents on Christmas morning, I found that having them open gifts on Christmas Eve after church works best. Christmas Eve day drains me. I not only push myself to go to church in the evening, but I also have to find the strength to get dressed. This always results in my body demanding that I do nothing but sleep on Christmas day. Now I enjoy watching my family unwrap their presents instead of sleeping through it and my body gets what it wants the next day.

Find what works for you

Instead of traveling long distances to celebrate holidays with family, I prefer to keep it simple and stay home. It is not that I don’t want to be with family; instead I would rather enjoy time spent with them during a less stressful time. I prefer visiting my mom in the spring when we can relax instead of spending Christmas asleep in her guestroom. Birthdays are celebrated and planned according to the amount of rest my body needs near their date. We celebrated my daughter’s birthday a week early because I knew my schedule would not permit me to play at Disneyland on her actual birthday. For Valentine’s Day, my husband waits for me to say, “Hey, I am ready to celebrate!” This annoyed me at first, but now I am just happy to celebrate a holiday during its proper month.

My point is this: Find what works for you. There is nothing normal about living with a chronic condition like psoriatic arthritis and forcing it to follow the same calendar that it used to will only bring you heartache.

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