Continuing on with past holiday traditions and trying to meet the expectations of family and friends can seem overwhelming. Imagine what it is like for someone with arthritis, who has difficulty with everyday tasks, to undertake the additional activities of the holiday season. If you have the disease, you know what I mean. There is Christmas shopping to be done, gifts to wrap, Christmas cards to mail, cookies to be baked, the perfect tree to select, ornaments to hang, decorations to display, church services, family gatherings, and parties to attend. Where can a person who continually fights fatigue, pain, and physical limitation find the extra energy needed without being sent into an arthritic flare? Is it even possible to get through the holiday season without overdoing and without self-imposed stress?
People who depend on a particular routine to keep their arthritis controlled can be upset when excessive activity proves too disruptive. The obvious solution is to do only what is manageable. Eliminate anything which has become too difficult. Find the easiest way to accomplish whatever you can, ask for help from other people, and disregard the rest. If old traditions seem impossible, create new traditions. Be realistic in what you attempt to do and remember to pace yourself.
Cutting back activities will certainly help physically, but what about emotionally? Depression can seep in as you realize that you are not able to do all that you once could do or all that you would like to do. Rid yourself of the holiday blues by considering this question. If a family member or friend had the same level of disability as you, would your expectations of them be the same as the expectations you have for yourself? Would you expect them to aggressively shop, clean, cook, decorate, and socialize?
Give yourself a gift this year. Be kind to yourself.