Living your best life with arthritis.

Survival tips for the holidays

Picture of an ornament hanging from a treeJoy and love are bountiful throughout the holidays. For people living with arthritis, so is physical and mental stress and pain. Here are some survival tips for the holidays:

  1. Make a list. A list will help keep you on budget and alleviate the stress of not knowing what to buy for presents or food.
  2. Shop online. Shopping online helps you avoid the crowds. It is convenient and you can do it day or night, in comfortable clothes, without the need to find parking.
  3. If you must shop at a mall, shop during non-peak hours (during the day or early morning).
  4. It is the thought that counts. Do not stress yourself over the delivery date of your gifts. Bad weather is just one of the many limitations beyond our control.
  5. Go shopping with a friend. It's always good to know someone's got your back when you need to leave your purchases for a while to go to the bathroom. Take turns with your friend carrying heavy items.
  6. Wear supportive shoes to avoid unnecessary pain.
  7. Include breaks in your shopping day. Make good use of the benches in the mall.
  8. Leave heavy items at home. Consider using a backpack instead of a shoulder bag or purse so that weight can be evenly distributed.
  9. Use sturdy reusable bags. These can prove more useful than flimsy plastic and paper bags that can rip easily when subjected to sharp edges.
  10. Some malls will offer motorized scooters for rent or use. Use these if you feel that walking increases your pain.
  11. Give gift cards if you are unsure what to get for someone.
  12. Offer to do gift exchange between your friends where each person brings one gift, instead of purchasing one gift for each friend.
  13. Make sure you are dressed properly for the weather.
  14. Make sure you have the proper winter tires for the road condition ahead.
  15. Arrange to have a neighbour or friend shovel snow for you. Ensure you have enough supply of road salt for this purpose.
  16. Make sure your house is stocked up for the winter. Ensure you have at least 72 hours of emergency supplies (food, water, and medical supplies) in case you are caught in a winter storm.
  17. Pace yourself. It's better to do a little bit at a time.

Do you have other tips you want to share? Feel free to comment below. For those of you who plan to travel, this JointHealth™ insight talks about how to make your travel safe and fun.