Research has shown that people in relationships in which they feel positive, connected, and comfortable sharing feelings may experience a reduction in their physical disability and pain, and fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety. Do you know how to make Valentine’s Day special for someone living with arthritis?
Below are some ways to impress your sweetheart:
- Take the time to learn your partner’s disease. Learning about your partner’s disease will show that you care, understand and want to share their struggles and celebrate their accomplishments with them. You will also reduce the feelings of stress and frustration that sometimes come with explaining one’s arthritis to a friend or loved one.
- Pace your Valentine’s Day activities. Pace yourself to conserve your energy. Look at what you can realistically do and ask your partner for their feedback on your Valentine’s Day plan(s). You will both feel more relaxed and controlled.
- Ask others to help. Put certain tasks on hold or delegate others to complete the tasks for you while you take the night off with your loved one. If you have children or pets, ask a relative or friend if they can look after them for you.
- Avoid long commute. There are health risks associated with activities that require you to be in the same position for long periods of time, such as getting stiff or swollen joints. If you must commute a long way, ensure the car seat is comfortable and to take short standing breaks every 15 minutes or so.
- Avoid smoking and limit the amount of alcohol you drink before anticipated sexual activity. Both reduce sexual functioning. Furthermore, some of the medicines your doctor prescribes to relieve sore joints don’t mix well with alcohol – including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve), which carry a greater risk for stomach bleeding and ulcers when you drink. Taken with acetaminophen, methotrexate or leflunomide, alcohol can make you more susceptible to liver damage.
- Start the night with a warm shower or bubble bath to warm up the joints, to help with sore muscles, and to relax.
- Talk to your partner about what you like and don’t like, what hurts and what doesn’t hurt. You may find the honesty will enhance your relationship, and you will likely be more comfortable during sexual activity because of communicating what works for you. If you are finding these conversations difficult, you may benefit from seeing a sex therapist.
- Incorporate sexual activity and physical contact (like hugging) into your Valentine’s Day activities. Both can improve bonds between people and help build trust, reduce pain, promote sleep, reduce stress, boost immunity, burn calories, improve self-esteem, and improve heart health.
If you have any other ideas, please leave us a comment on Facebook or Twitter. On behalf of the team at Arthritis Broadcast Network, I hope you will have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!