Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Last year I wrote an article (one of my first for this site!) about how much I missed winter. It was always my favorite time of year. I loved the snow, the festivities, the good mood, the generosity, and the pure genuine happiness. Or maybe, I just loved the nice long winter break from school.

Winter wear

I loved buying gifts enveloped by Christmas decorations at the mall, running errands with holiday music blasting from speakers and sipping my favorite holiday beverages only available for a couple of months. I absolutely LOVED winter clothing and bundling up in cute hats, scarves, and jackets. (My favorite this year is neon green fleece pajama pants with penguins wearing Santa hats–why yes, I am the coolest person you’ll ever meet!) I loved spending time with friends and family as this was the only time of year everyone made an effort to be together. I loved it all.

RA and winter: not a good combination

What’s wrong with me? I sound all happy and gushy and it’s weird, I know!! So let me bring myself back down to reality. There is one thing I dislike about winter and it will never change. I hate (edit: strongly dislike) the cold. I detested it before and I’m not too fond of it now.

As we have established in previous articles, I am quite the petite person. I am also skin and bones which means as a rule of thumb I am always cold (I am that person who wears sweatshirts during the summer). As I write this I am in a hat and scarf, indoors, with my space heater on.

Put me outside and I suffer. Just stepping outside to take the dogs out for a pee is dreadful. I wish I were exaggerating. I do not look forward to leaving my home during the winter.

RA’s impact on RA: Infections and flares

Before my Rheumatoid Disease, I worried about sinus infections. Now, I worry about flares. Cold is a major trigger for me (even when I bundle up). Every time I go outside my joints become a little stiffer and a little more painful.

Last January, during the polar vortex on the East Coast, my father’s osteoporosis and knee injuries flared up. I walked Mocha twice daily during the polar vortex for a week. It was so cold and my RA so flared my hands actually froze to the leash. My dad had to boil water and peel my little digits off one by one.

In order to enjoy those lovely activities, I mentioned at the beginning of the article I need to brave the freezing (okay, now that’s an exaggeration!) temperatures to go anywhere. Whether it be the mall, the coffee shop or even just the grocery store for supplies. And forget about those great social events like walking through the city’s beautiful architectures decked out in twinkling lights and other holiday decorations. I can barely walk to my car let alone a couple of hours outside!

Winter takes up too many of my spoons

In theory, events like cookie decorating and sipping holiday cocoas in gorgeously decorated hotel lobbies are feasible but I have to consider the number of spoons I’d use in braving this cold new world. But, at the same time, it is probably 100% worth the inevitable downtime that follows because the most wonderful time of the year only happens for a few weeks and I want to enjoy it!

Are you like me? Do you enjoy the holiday season but worry about triggers and flares? Let me know in the comments!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (8)
  • QTPie
    2 months ago

    Just checking in on you. Hope all is well!

  • mylady13
    2 months ago

    It is really cold today in NYC. I want to just stay home until the Spring comes back.

  • mylady13
    3 months ago

    You couldn’t have said it better! I live in NYC and today is COLD!!! Opening the door at Sephora was the most excruciating activity for me today. Just taking the trains today and walking outside was horrific. All my connecting joints feel broken. Yes broken, i know the feeling since I broke my foot in 2016. The stores in Herald Square during the holidays are beautiful to see and brings joy to my heart, but walking around to see them comes at a cost.

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator author
    2 months ago

    And if I remember correctly, there is a bit of a wind tunnel effect there too, right?? That can definitely add to the discomfort!

    Has it warmed up at all? We had a pretty good warm spell for a couple of days this week but today (Monday) is frigid!!

    Thanks so much for commenting on my article, @mylady13!! ~Monica

  • NPEOttawa
    3 months ago

    Empathize with you both. Cold weather and fluctuating barometers cause me pain. And once again, I have a winter cold that will likely last for weeks. I’ve never liked winter much and even less so now. So I hibernate, eat too much comfort food and feel guilty about it. (For me, this season is all about turkey WITH mashed potatoes and gravy :))

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator author
    2 months ago

    Oh no, now I’m hungry!!! I will 100% back you on hibernating and eating comfort food. As I see it, we need the food to keep us warmer from the cold air that flares us….Maybe? It makes sense in my head!

    I don’t know if you saw Rick’s recent article but he mentioned he tries to remember that winter will end. https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/i-hate-winter/ I try to remember that too but it’s hard when it’s freezing outside!

    know you posted a few days ago, are you feeling better? Has the cold lessened any?

    Thanks for commenting on my article!! You know I always appreciate it! ~Monica

  • Daniel Malito moderator
    3 months ago

    @mysengupta I hate winter too, I just can’t seem to get warm. I also love the holiday season too, so it’s a dichotomy. Plus my stupid nose seems to run constantly. Arghhh. Great post as always. Keep on keepin’ on, DPM

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator author
    2 months ago

    Hey Daniel! Thanks for commenting!!

    Don’t even get me started. Winter is my favorite time of year and my least favorite. I had to forgo most of the outdoor holiday festivities this year because of a massive sinus infection.

    I did see photos of them, though. That counts, right?!

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