Well it’s that time of year again when folks are out in full force, pounding the pavement searching for that special gift for the holidays. With the economic crises being felt by many this year, the stress of maintaining the level of festivities one is accustomed to may be unrealistic.
With the colder weather and damp chills that come with the changing seasons, arthritis and other muscular-skeletal conditions can wreck havoc with normal everyday functioning. So how can folks get through the holidays this year?
Prioritize. Sit down and map out the important and necessary issues that need to be addressed. And spend money wisely. Paying on a bill is more important than buying holiday gifts. Consider cutting back and spending less. Shorten your gift-giving list if necessary. And limit the number of gifts purchased per person. Remember it is the thought that counts.
Some of the best gifts are those that were crafted or made by hand. The thoughtfulness and time that go into creations is a priceless gift. You can’t put a price tag on the amount of kindness and love that is shown by the efforts put into making a special gift for that special loved one.
Another idea might be to offer your services to someone. Create your own gift certificates such as 4 hours of baby sitting to provide relief for a new mom. Run errands, assist with light house cleaning for a busy friend or loved one. Helping others in spite of personal pain and limitations can feel rewarding in itself so you benefit in more than one way by sharing yourself with others. And most important of all, remember the reason for the season. That should help you put things in proper perspective.
When you prepare to go shopping, plan your trips carefully. Don’t overdo. If whatever you plan to purchase is big and heavy, bring someone along who can help manage the item. Make sure to have assistance from the store employees when necessary.
If walking is a problem for you and the trip will require a good deal of it, consider taking some medication before leaving the house. This will help keep you comfortable while you are out and about. Be careful however if you plan to take a medication that could cause drowsiness. Be sure to have someone else do the driving. And plan to take a little time when you get back home to rest for a short while with some ice or maybe some heat so that you can get a jump on any possible inflammation that might have occurred with the activities of the day. For acute conditions, one common course of treatment is to start with ice and then introduce heat after at least 24 hours. And perhaps one of your family members can provide a short massage to help relax tired and achy muscles.
These are some coping strategies that might help folks get through the stress of the holiday season. I encourage folks to share some of their survival tricks with us. Post them on either my Pain Management or Migraine board. Refer to “Surviving the Holiday Season” in the subject field so I will know your post is linked to this blog. Happy Holidays!