Home > Coping Mechanisms > How to deal with Holiday Parties when you have Rheumatoid Arthritis

How to deal with Holiday Parties when you have Rheumatoid Arthritis

Congratulations! We have made it through Thanksgiving so now the parties, the office Holiday party, the neighborhood Holiday party, your friend’s Holiday party, etc. Everyone will be having a Holiday party. So now you feel obligated to attend in the spirit of the season and you genuinely want to support others who have supported you.  But there is only one complication, you have Rheumatoid Arthritis and you simply cannot go to a party almost every day of the week. So let me give you some tips.

1. Attendance Decision. Decide which parties you will attend and which you will not be able to attend. Try to spread out the parties as much as possible. A party every couple of days, weekend dates only or every other Saturday. The goal is to give yourself time to recoup between each event.  You want to make sure you are well enough to continue with your regular routine after the party.

2. How to RSVP. Once you make your decision, RSVP with a “Maybe”, this way if you don’t feel well the day of the event you will not feel the guilt of already sending an acceptance. This often puts too much pressure on you to participate in activities your body is simply unable to handle. Plus this avoids insulting your hostess.

3. How to Dress. Once decisions have been made, select your outfit accordingly. Select a few comfortable basic pieces (Black dress, Red Dress, Pant Suit), then obtain fancy accessories, bracelets, necklaces and earrings with lots of glitter and flare to make your outfit pop.  If you stick to basic pieces, more than likely you will be able to find something already in your closet, then you can just add new accessories.  This will help save a ton of cash.  Basic pieces also allow you to repeat the outfit itself with just a switch of your accessories; a different belt and handbag can really create a totally different look without breaking the bank.  I do this every holiday season, and no one is the wiser, plus I must have enough money to pay for my very expensive medications.  Because my pain does not care that I wanted a new outfit.

4. Shoes Shoes Shoes. Lets face it, shoes can really make an outfit, but if they are not comfortable and you can’t walk around in them they are useless. I recommend investing in a great black holiday shoe that you can transfer over year to year. A pair of shoes that will go with multiple outfits, which allows you to really get the worth out of the shoe. If you can’t afford to invest in a really good shoe, then buy a holiday shoe that will still match various outfits and purchase on orthopedic insoles for about $15. I buy mine at any local pharmacy store, they tend to work better than those you find at shoe stores. These insoles can really change the comfort of a shoe.  I use them on all my less expensive shoes, because without them I can’t make it out my own front door.  Look in the fashion session on my blog to identify great brands and retail locations.

5. The hostess gift. I always bring a nice bottle of inexpensive wine in a nice carry bag. I shop for a nice Merlot, Pinot Noir or Riesling, which are always on sale this time of year. I buy a couple of bottles and they make the perfect hostess gift.  This eliminates the stress of trying to make a dish, the pain of doing unnecessary store to store shopping and gives you more time to rest up before the big party.

6. Party Attendance. When you attend the party, try to show up a few minutes after the party starts. If you show up too early you feel obligated to help out, which is wear and tear on your body, and leaves little energy for you to enjoy yourself. If you show up too late, you may not be able to get a seat, and no matter how comfortable your shoes are, when you have Rheumatoid Arthritis you will want to sit. I find a good 15-45 minutes into the party is excellent timing.  Sit as much as possible, but get up and walk around mixing and mingling. If feel up to a few dances, get out on the dance floor, but monitor yourself, you don’t want to get over exhausted.  Once you have made your rounds, mixed and mingled and you start to feel tired, politely make your exit.  Remember you showed up near the start of the party so there is no need to feel guilty about leaving early.   I use these tips at every party and my hostess is never upset about my early exit, because I got plenty of face time at the beginning of the party and socialized enough for them to know I had a great time.

7. Pain Management. I always take a few pain pills with me in a small pouch, something that will inconspicuously fit into an evening bag. I make sure it is mild enough strength that I don’t fall asleep during the party, but strong enough to control my pain. I always use caution if I am driving myself, and ensure enough time has lapsed to ensure a safe drive. I am not a doctor so I recommend discussing your strategy with your physician.

8. Relax

9. Enjoy

10. Have a Happy and Fabulous Holiday! You deserve it.

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Categories: Coping Mechanisms
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