Survive and Thrive This Holiday Season

By Adam Leonard
Updated 2024-03-24 14:08:11 | Published 2022-12-08 02:57:00
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  • Ankylosing Spondylitis
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    • Discover the world of Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) through our dedicated iMedix Blog section. Learn about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments of AS. This area serves as a guide for individuals living with AS and their caregivers, offering information and tips for managing this chronic inflammatory disease.

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The holiday season is a favorite time of year for me for several reasons. I cherish the opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones, celebrate my religious beliefs, and partake in traditional foods and festivities associated with these celebrations. It is also a time for reflection on the good things that have occurred in my life over the past year and for setting new goals for the future.

6 Tips to Survive and Thrive During the Holidays

However, for those of us living with ankylosing spondylitis (AS), the holidays can also bring stress and anxiety. With the combination of packed schedules and an already weakened immune system, it is crucial for us to take care of ourselves during this time.

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Managing our condition during the holidays can be challenging, but with some advance preparation, we can make things a bit easier on ourselves. Here are a few things that I personally do to manage AS during this time:

  1. Plan: Being organized is key to minimizing stress. I create a to-do list and delegate tasks to others, which helps me stay on top of things and prevents me from feeling overwhelmed.
  2. Eat healthier: While indulging in holiday treats is tempting, I try to incorporate healthier options into my meals and snacks. I focus on including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats to avoid aggravating my AS symptoms.
  3. Get plenty of rest: With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it is important to prioritize sleep. I make sure to go to bed at a reasonable time, even if I have unfinished tasks. Taking a hot bath before bed helps me relax my muscles and relieve tension.
  4. Exercise regularly: Incorporating exercise into my holiday routine is crucial for managing AS symptoms. I take short walks or engage in gentle stretches. Recently, I have added Pilates to my exercise routine, doing it twice a week.
  5. Stay positive and practice self-care: It can be difficult to remain positive during the holidays when there is lots to do, but taking time for myself each day is essential. Whether it's reading, listening to music, or meditating, I make sure to prioritize self-care. I also try to focus on the things that bring me happiness.
  6. Stay organized: The holidays can be chaotic, especially for those managing a chronic illness. I find that staying organized and planning my time effectively helps keep stress levels down. I set aside time to relax and recharge, and I plan holiday gatherings well in advance to avoid last-minute scrambling. I also try to maintain my usual routine as much as possible.
  7. Ask for help: When the holiday season becomes overwhelming, it is important to reach out to friends and family for support. They may not fully understand what I am going through, but having someone lend a helping hand can make a significant difference. When cooking becomes too much, my son takes charge, and his assistance is truly a lifesaver.
  8. Enjoy the moment: The holidays should be a time of gratitude and enjoyment with loved ones. I try to focus on creating special memories rather than stressing about tasks or managing my condition perfectly. Despite the challenges of living with AS, I have learned to appreciate the moments I am living in.

The holidays do not have to be a time of stress and anxiety for those of us with ankylosing spondylitis. With preparation and self-care, we can manage our condition and still savor the festive season. Take care of yourself and focus on what truly matters. Happy holidays! Stay connected by joining our Facebook Support Group for people with ankylosing spondylitis.

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