Woman in Burgundy shirt using scissors to wrap gifts for Christmas

Make the Holidays Free of Pandemonium and Pain

The yearend holidays are supposed to be a time of merriment, reflection and enjoying the company of family and friends. But for many, the hustle and bustle of the season can be bone-rattling, literally and figuratively. If you battle arthritis, this time of year can be even more stressful and difficult. And that, in turn, can aggravate joint pain.From not getting enough rest to biting off more than you can chew, the holidays can be draining for even the healthiest of people. When you’re also managing a chronic disease like arthritis, taking extra precautions can help you sail more smoothly through the season’s clatter.

Seek Less Stress
Research shows that arthritis symptoms and disease activity can be worsened by stress. Don’t let holiday obligations completely overwhelm you, such as the pressure to buy and wrap gifts, prepare meals and go to parties. So what if the outside light display doesn’t go up this year? Or you’re not up to cooking that traditional feast that can leave you feeling wiped out? Set limitations and realistic goals. And try to focus on things that make you happy.

Beware of Depression
Studies prove it’s a vicious circle: Depression can lead to a heightened sense of pain, and increased pain can lead to depression. The more depressed you are, the less you’re able to cope with pain. If you’ve got the holiday blues, going for a walk or doing another exercise might help. Or try meditation, listening to soothing music, reading a good book or taking a hot bath. Connect with others who have arthritis and who understand the challenges you encounter. Let family and friends know you may need extra help during the holidays. Depression is treatable, so seek professional help if you need it.

Eat Right
Don’t let the holidays be an excuse to indulge in an unhealthy diet. Poor food choices can lead to a painful flare. And too much snacking on holiday treats can lead to excess pounds, causing more problems you don’t need. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as lean protein, whole grains and low-fat dairy. Here’s a joint-friendly meal idea.

Enjoy the holidays by reducing stress and arthritis pain. Our Pain Toolkit has tips to help you make a personal pain management plan you can practice all year long.

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