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A Psoriatic Arthritis Story: Holiday Amnesia

Finding the right balance between caring for your health and deciding how much of your time and energy to give to others is difficult all year long, but especially when a holiday is on the horizon. Even those of us who have had years of experience often struggle.

For years I wondered why it was that I could pace and balance my life so well throughout most of the year, but when a holiday appeared I would lose all common sense. Then it hit me! With each holiday I caught myself a case of holiday amnesia!

So, what is holiday amnesia?

Holiday amnesia occurs when we forget that we can’t keep up with the holiday pace of yesteryear. It is forgetting that we can’t stand on ladders to hang lights, are no longer able to spend days baking cookies, lack the strength to spend a full day out shopping and shouldn’t fill every day on our calendars with events and outings.

When coming down with a case of holiday amnesia I often forget that I do not have the energy that I used to. I begin neglecting my chronic body’s needs and start skipping naps, keeping hours that I just can’t keep up with, and indulge too much by eating and drinking food and beverages that trigger flares.

How does holiday amnesia affect psoriatic arthritis?

Holiday amnesia can lead to long-term bed rest, emergency room visits, hospital stays, intense flares, illness, and loneliness. Our chronic bodies can only handle so much activity before they begin to rebel. So how do we prepare for the holidays when we live with psoriatic arthritis?

Happy holidays from psoriatic arthritis!

While there isn’t a vaccine for holiday amnesia, there are ways to avoid catching and getting rid of it. First and foremost: Accept and acknowledge that having psoriatic arthritis isn’t a seasonal disease. It and the care it requires is needed 24/7, 365 days a year, and 366 on a leap year! We don’t get a break!

But this disease does more than hurt our bodies; it messes with our minds too! Instead of forgetting past holidays, it causes us to forget how to care for ourselves in the present day. One of the worst symptoms of this disease is how it fools us into thinking we can attend as many holiday parties as we desire, that we can stay up as late as we want and that we can drink and be merry without repercussions.

We believe the lies this disease tells us, lies like pleasing everyone for a day or month is more important than our health, that it will be okay if we skip our self-care practices for a little bit, that we are stronger than our disease and don’t need to take precautions. Well news flash, we do.

Plan your calendar around psoriatic arthritis

Open your calendar and see which holiday is heading your way. Is it a biggie or one that you really don’t mind not throwing yourself into? If it is an important one, start planning a month or two before by blocking out dates on the calendar that will allow for rest and self-care practices. By doing this you are making your health a priority and increase your odds for being able to attend more events than if you didn’t take time to care for yourself.

Learn to say NO. Can’t bring yourself to say it when someone first invites you? That’s okay; try “I will check my calendar and get back to you” instead. This gives you the opportunity to figure out an alternative plan, reschedule your calendar, or at the very least better explain why you have to decline.

Prioritize the holiday and avoid the holidaze

There are a few remedies you can try if you find yourself falling prey to holiday amnesia. The first is to reevaluate your priorities. If seeing your child perform in a holiday show is a top priority, then cancel other commitments that aren’t as important. Yes, people will be let down, it is impossible to avoid.

Is pleasing everyone really worth your health? Did you make it through your last holiday without catching the wretched holiday amnesia?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.