Benefits of Vacation
I often forget the benefits of vacation on my rheumatoid arthritis until I go on one! Sure, vacations are great (no question!), but I can forget how good they can also be for alleviating my RA symptoms.
Vacationing in the sun during winter
One of the things we have planned for the last several years is to take some vacation (ideally, a week) to a warm place during February. It gets cold where we live and my bones feel dreadful after a couple months of having to defend myself from wintry weather. Having some time in warm weather not only gets me feeling better, it helps me to get through the remainder of the winter season until the spring warming arrives.
This year we spent some time in Key West and it was ideal for resting my RA. Every night I got at least 10 hours of sleep (plus the occasional nap). Every day I spent time in the pool doing my exercises. Plus we ate well and relaxed.
The time in the sun warmed my joints and the exercises helped me to feel better and regain some strength lost during the cold winter. The plentiful rest also helped with my fatigue and alleviate my joint pain.
Now that I’m back home and starting up my daily routine again, I can feel how my shoulders and neck are relaxed from a week of vacation. Taking time off helped to release tension in my muscles.
Refreshing the mind too
But I think the mental refresh is also important. Having a week where I really concentrated on wellness has me inspired to continue as much as I can. While I face challenges because of my work hours and other responsibilities, I think I can definitely do more to get more hours of rest and daily exercise.
I know that regular life cannot be the same as vacation (at least not until I retire!), but I can still enhance my wellness as much as possible. I don’t have to work myself into exhaustion. I can take it easier and get more sleep. I may not be able to swim every day due to my schedule, but I can do exercises at home on those off days more reliably.
One of the things about vacation that may help my RA most is alleviating my stress. My joint pain is lessened when I can have less stress weighing on my mind and body. While every life comes with stress, I know I need to do more to manage my stress or even lighten it. I’m working on taking on less responsibility. This is a great personal challenge, as I have always taken on more and more. But I have realized that for my health, I must do less and do it well. I have to remind myself that I don’t need to do it all, that others can help.
Vacation can be a start to self-care habits
Vacation can get a person thinking, about how to care for ourselves better and life changes that may be beneficial. I have learned that I not only need a week of downtime to really unwind, I need to unplug from my responsibilities. I did check in a little with work during my vacation, but I usually regretted it because I would start worrying about a problem or something I needed to get done when I returned home. I would have been better off to fully let go, because I needed to recharge my batteries.
Every individual is different in what they need and what is best for their own time off. But I’ve learned some things about how I benefit from vacation, and how I can bring a little more of these benefits home.
Have you gotten the COVID-19 vaccine yet?