Handling Arthritis Pain During the Holidays
Unfortunately, holidays can bring extra stress which increases arthritis and chronic pain. For instance, the long line up (long standing) during shopping, traffic (long sitting), long standing, extra cooking and extra cleaning will increase the physical stressors. Often people let go of their guard of what they eat. Excess sugary food, processed food and alcohol will increase the chemical stresses. The financial burden and disrupted sleep patten will increase the cortisol level leading to the emotional stress.
Here are the 9 things you can do to help your arthritis and chronic pain during the holiday session:
Shopping: Shop on week days. Aim for mid-day. This the least busy time for line ups and traffic. Use online shopping platforms like Amazon and Instacart.
Cooking and cleaning: Do them over couple of days. Planning and preparing in advance will help break the tasks into a smaller one where you can rest in between.
Water: Drink enough water. Make sure your pee color is clear. This means that you are drinking enough water. Spoiler alert: coffee, tea, pop don’t count as a water.
Eat reasonably: Eat your proteins and vegetables first. Allow yourself to some sugary food and treats in moderation. Use the 80/20 role. Eat healthy 80% of the time while still enjoying the holidays with the stuff you like.
Use intermittent fasting: It is simpler than you think. Don’t eat past 8 pm. Skip breakfast and aim to eat between 10 am – noon. Except if you are diabetic.
Walking: Walk at least 30 min per day. You can break it into two 15 min walk.
Sunshine: Get exposed to the sun first thing in the morning for 15 min. You can do that during your walk, if weather permits. Sun exposure will regulate your sleep and boost your energy.
Sleep: Sleep and wake up at the same time. To get the best recovery sleep, go to bed around 10-11 pm and get up around 6-7 am. No food or screen time one hour before going to bed. Nap no more than 20 min if needed. No caffeine past 2 pm.
Mediation: When you get stressed or overwhelmed, use the box bearing method. Breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breath out for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds. Do that for 2 minutes. This will help reduce your stress and anxiety. PS. You can use this method to help you fall asleep.
I do understand that arthritis and chronic pain may limit you working or making an extra income. Holidays are all about the family and not how expensive the gifts are. Be creative with gift that bring good memories.
Don’t stress out if you fall of the wagon. Just go back to those 9 steps and will see an improvement in as little as 1-2 weeks.
Enjoy your Holidays. Dr. Mark Hawass, Arthritis VIP, www.arthritisvip.com