The Holiday Rule I Have To Keep With PsA
Last updated: April 2022
Holidays, specifically Thanksgiving and Christmas, can be terrifying. There are so many unrealistic demands put on us that even someone without a chronic illness would be overwhelmed.
Once upon a time, I loved and looked forward to the holiday season. Deciding which state and family members we would visit, making travel plans, and the stress of getting everything done and everyone ready was an adrenaline rush. And I loved every minute of it!
More joyful moments with psoriatic arthritis
Chronic pain and flares from psoriatic arthritis and other chronic illnesses began getting in the way. I found myself falling asleep during Thanksgiving dinner or, to my children’s dismay, unable to wake up on Christmas morning. Keeping up with traditions while dealing with multiple chronic illnesses was more than my body could handle.
It was time to change my approach. To limit the terror and to sprinkle more joy, I had to adopt the rule of less is more! The holidays weren’t about how many cookies I baked or decorations I put out.
I realized that doing less of everything would allow me to enjoy more joyful moments versus doing more things that helped me the most because that is truly what I wanted.
Letting go of expectations
While friends and family attend several holiday gatherings each weekend, I rest. To enjoy Thanksgiving or Christmas days, I need to rest in between. I do not make plans that cannot be broken.
Real friends understand that my family comes first and aren’t angry when I decline an invitation. Nor do they hold a grudge when I say maybe and do not show up. No longer capable of decorating our home like I used to, I handed that job over to my husband and daughter.
Once they realized how much work it was to put up and later take down, they quickly got on board with a minimalistic holiday style. I had to let go of generational expectations of everything having to be made from scratch. If I have the energy to bake, I do.
Whether the cookies are from the corner bakery or my oven doesn’t matter. What matters is the time spent laughing and talking while I decorate them with my family.
Make the most of what you can do
I have lowered my expectations. I have friends and family who think if they don’t do certain things throughout the holiday season, they are not fully experiencing the season.
As I have learned, an enjoyable and satisfying holiday season is not based on checking off a long list of activities. It is accomplished by making the most of what you can do.
Some years I go for nightly drives to look at Christmas light displays. Others I only see what is on my street. Each year is different, and that is okay.
By letting go of past expectations and immersing myself in what I can do, my family and I have created many beautiful memories. The best part is that each year has different experiences, making trips down memory lane more fun.
What could you do less of this holiday season?
Do you usually need to recover from a vacation?