By Sharon Miller
While the holidays are an enjoyable time, they bring a certain amount of stress. This stress can compound problems for those suffering from arthritis or related diseases such as lupus and fibromyalgia.
In many families, the homes of the older relatives, the relatives most likely to suffer from arthritis, have become the Christmas gathering place.
The Arthritis Foundation offers the following 10 tips for people with arthritis to manage holiday stress:
• Don't put off doing important things. For example, do your holiday shopping early so you don't feel pressured by the holiday rush.
• Learn to say no without feeling guilty. Turning down extra duties, even for a short period of time, can reduce your stress.
• Make a list of your priorities. What must you do right away? What can you postpone? What can be eliminated?
• Do a reality check. Put stressful situations into perspective by asking, "What exactly is at stake?"
• Learn to relax. Try different methods such as deep breathing, progressive relaxations, guided imagery and visualization until you find one or two you like best.
• Set goals for your holiday activities and develop a plan of action for reaching them.
• Find positive ways to express your feelings of stress such as writing in a journal or exercising.
• Focus your attention on positive aspects of the holiday season that you enjoy.
• Use your support systems. Share your thoughts with family, friends, clergy or others who are good listeners and can help you see the problems in a constructive way.
• Don't push your body beyond its limits. Be sure to pace your activities and schedule periodic rest breaks.
The Arthritis Foundation offers a free brochure called "Managing Your Activities." To receive this brochure, call (800) 482-8858. More information is available on the Net at www.arthritis.org.
Source: The Arthritis Foundation.
For more information about arthritis, please visit www.ArthritisSupport.com