I absolutely adore the holiday season. The twinkling lights, ringing bells, the scent of fresh greens, the nutmeg in the eggnog, the warmth of a crackling fire and reconnecting with relationships dear to me! And of course, the tree trimming! Can we say sensory overload? It’s also the time of year when emotions and expectations run high, at least mine do! For someone with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), all the wonderful things that come with the season can become a stressor quickly. I really tune into what my body is telling me during the holidays. It takes mindfulness and discipline to a new level!
I became overwhelmed early on this year. It has everything to do with my rheumatoid arthritis (RA). I’m not experiencing a flare, but I can tell I’m fatigued. So I am pacing myself, making sure I get plenty of rest. My executive decision to trim my tree trimming effort this season was an essential one that came very natural. I’m getting used to these situations when I change plans very quickly depending on my energy level. I don’t want to use all my energy preparing for an event so I can’t enjoy the event!
There were three changes I made to my tree trimming plans:
- Candle lights. I’ve had 2 strings of candle lights for years that I never used. I decided to take one of the strings and put it on the tree. This was something new so I just continued on with my 2017 look! By changing the look, I”m not reminded of our traditional Christmas tree. I can honestly enjoy the difference.
- LED lights. Next, I put colorful LED light on the tree. I started at the bottom and worked up to the top. I was able to safely string my LED lights together so I didn’t need to bother with extension cords. This made things a lot easier.
- I used less than 1/3 the number of ornaments this year. In the past I would layer them and hang them IN the tree and try to coordinate where I hung each of them. Not this time! And the tree is beautiful! I love it and so does my family. Minimalist trim!
By simplifying my tree trimming, I was able to catch my breath and now can enjoy the season more. I’m not only able to enjoy the season more but my body can absorb unexpected obligations better. And the unexpected obligations can be expected!
I talk about my FRESH acronym often. That is because I refer to it often! It is in the forefront of my mind all the time these days because of all the excitement and activity. I’m carefully planning when and what I am eating. I’m cognizant of stressors and adjust my obligations to my energy level. Although I’m missing pilates this week, I’m making sure to get a daily walk in and do some stretches during the day. I’m aiming for 10 hours of sleep each night to help my body recover from my very full days. Lastly, I’m keeping my water bottle as a constant companion. Now that the heat is on, the air tends to be drier. Stay hydrated!
By giving my tree trimming a trim in 2017 to adjust for my RA, my joints haven’t been screaming at me. It was the key change I made this year to best accommodate my RA. In the next month I will probably make other adjustments as well. I call it the RA lifestyle!
We would love to hear of your tips to navigate this festive time of the year. Please leave a comment and say hello!
Arthritis Wisdom wishes you a very happy and healthy holiday season!