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How to Keep Holiday Festivities from Increasing Your PsA Symptoms

How to Keep Holiday Festivities from Increasing Your PsA Symptoms

The holidays are upon us! It’s that time of year when we gather and celebrate with friends and family. It involves more outings than we may be used to as well as indulging in our favorite foods and drinks. There are gifts to buy and wrap and decorations to be put up. It’s a time of laughter and love, but if we aren’t careful this season of celebration can quickly turn into our worst nightmare.

Party time

I loved the holiday season prior to becoming chronically ill. Decline an invitation? Not me, I loved going out, meeting new people, and spending time with my friends and family. However, for most of my chronic life, I have dreaded the holidays because it became the season of pain. While I haven’t figured out how to get through this season without increasing my pain, I have learned how to lower the amount I experience. To do this I had to learn to pace myself. This entails not waiting to the last minute to decorate my home or go Christmas shopping, not committing to more outings than my body can handle, and giving my body time to recuperate after an event.

Rally the troops

In the past, I handled all the decorating of our home. I put up the tree, decorated every room, and even hung the outdoor lights. For years, I forced myself to continue with my holiday routine and each year I began to loathe the season more and more. By the time Christmas day arrived, I was exhausted and in so much pain that I could hardly make it to the bathroom. Changes needed to be made. The first change I made was to decrease the amount of decorations I put out. Instead of transforming each room, I only put out a few items. The other change was to ask my family and friends to help me. It took some practice, but with each passing year I get better at delegating tasks that will increase my pain to others. When hosting a holiday party, I ask guests to bring food to reduce how much cooking my family has to do or I have the party catered. I used to think that people who ate out on Thanksgiving or Christmas were sad and lonely. Not anymore – in fact, I have come to prefer eating out because I save energy by not cooking nor do I have to clean up.

Pain filled goodies

In addition to pacing and delegating, I also watch what I am eating and drinking. My favorite holiday dishes are all either high in sugar, fat, or salt, none of which are good for me. In high amounts those three things will increase my inflammation and pain. I still indulge in my favorite treats; I just don’t eat an entire serving. Instead I allow myself a few bites and savor every little morsel. Alcohol is also a major pain trigger for me. When I first noticed it, I only allowed myself one or two drinks, but the result was still the same. To avoid unnecessary flares, drinking alcoholic beverages in any amount is no longer an option for me.

What changes have you made to make the holiday season merry?

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.


  • Npool71
    2 years ago

    I just can’t part with all the decorations. I get too much joy from them, so I spread out the decorating over an entire week. I am blessed with a husband that loves the trimmings as well and has stepped up to the plate since my PsA diagnosis and helps. When it is time to take down we do it all in reverse.

  • Cynthia Covert author
    2 years ago

    For three years, until we moved earlier this year, it was Christmas all the time in my house. One year I just decided that I wasn’t going to take them down. Obviously had to take everything down for the move and I have yet to pull out the boxes. I will say this, when I do get around to decorating this season, I will be leaving it all out just like before. LOL

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