Tips on Coping with Holidays and Family Events

I’m a little late with this article, but I feel like this group will forgive me!! Honestly, when do we not have events to plan for? This time of year can get truly hectic. As we re-frame our lives around our rheumatoid disease, holidays and family events can derail us. Some extra planning can minimize the effects of the holidays.

Tips on attending parties and events

In someone’s home

Contact the host/hostess a few days before the event. Briefly explain your disease and your desire to participate. If the event will be longer than an hour, ask the host/hostess to have a room available where you can put up your feet and be alone for twenty minutes. Those twenty minutes mean I can stay at an event much longer. I have been surprised at how accommodating people will be. It never hurts to ask. If they say no, then explain that you will have to leave early.

At a venue

Call the venue a few days before the event and ask for the event manager. Briefly explain your disease and the need for rest with feet elevated during the event. Ask if they have accommodations for the disabled or for nursing mothers. Often the lounges for nursing mothers (I know, this will only work for women) have places to put your feet up. Sometimes the management will allow you to sit in the office.

Tips for family events at your home

The key is setting boundaries

Make expectations clear to everyone before they arrive!! Set your boundaries and do NOT make exceptions. It is OKAY to do this, and it is for your health. Some suggestions:

  • I am so happy you are here! Listed below are house rules-please follow them.
  • I will have muffins, etc. available for breakfasts. There will be eggs in the refrigerator. If you make something, you will clean it up. PLEASE use the paper plates.
  • There will be bread and stuff for sandwiches, help yourself. Clean up after yourself. If you notice something I don’t have, please add it to the list on the fridge. The person who adds the fourth thing to the list gets to go to store.
  • If the trash is full, please take it out. Remember to put a new bag in; they are under the sink.
  • Everyone will need to bring a dish for the big meal. I am only providing the meat. Bring your drink preference.
  • No politics or heated discussions.
  • I may disappear to my room for rest as needed. Please respect my time alone.
  • Laugh lots, have fun and be kind.

The holidays are a time to enjoy

Remember, it is perfectly okay to say no. Look at your obligations realistically. Figure out which ones will bring you joy and accept those. Look at what’s left and determine if you will have energy left for those. Make your holidays a time you enjoy!

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