JointHealth™ express   December 22, 2022

A year in review and tips for a healthy holiday

Today’s episode of #ArthritisAtHome features ACE President, Cheryl Koehn, and VP of Communications and Public Affairs, Kelly Lendvoy. They provide a year in review of Arthritis Consumer Experts’ activities in 2022. They also share key initiatives for the new year, including:
  • new programming on osteoarthritis, lupus, psoriatic arthritis, spondyloarthritis, mental health, and exercise
  • advancing work in truth and reconciliation in the arthritis community
  • 2023 ACE National Survey topics on health literacy, osteoarthritis, and representation in arthritis care
Additional learning resources: Tips for a healthy holiday

Whether you’re traveling for winter holidays or staying warm at home, the season can bring along plenty of fun with family and friends but some stressors, too. Here are a few precautions people with arthritis can take to ensure the holiday season and the rest of winter is as healthy as possible.
  1. Keeping a routine helps. Even if you’re on vacation or have family visiting, be sure to exercise, get enough sleep and take your medications at the same time as usual.
  2. Be kind to yourself. Don’t feel pressured to participate in every festive activity you’re invited to. Again, stick to your regular schedule as much as possible. When you do decide to partake, allow extra time to prepare for and travel to activities so you don’t feel rushed or stressed.
  3. Do your best to eat and drink sensibly at holiday parties. Indulge in a treat or two but stick to your usual diet as much as possible.
  4. Watch out for depressive symptoms. Depression is common for people living with arthritis, and the shorter days and colder weather may lead one to feel more blue. Talk to your doctor or rheumatologist right away if you feel you might be depressed. Free support is available 24 hours and 7 days a week, whether you are in crisis or need someone to talk to:
  5. Be careful of slippery conditions and ice. Speaking of cold weather, ice and slippery conditions can be particularly hazardous if you’re having trouble with balance. Walk on cleared walkways as much as possible, wear shoes with non-slip tread rubber on the bottom and bring along a cane or walker. You can even try ski poles or walking sticks to help steady yourself if necessary.
  6. Keep a winter emergency kit handy in your home. Be sure to include several emergency light sources like battery-operated lanterns or touch lights, as well as spare batteries. Navigating a dark home can be particularly dangerous with gait or balance difficulties.
  7. If possible, try not to isolate yourself. If you’ve recently been diagnosed or your symptoms have worsened since you last saw certain friends and family, it can be tempting to sit out on holiday gatherings. However, social activities can help lift your mood and help reduce stress. Participate in social activities as you are able and comfortable doing. Attend a Christmas concert, bake cookies with a friend or go on a walk with neighbours to view outdoor decorations.
  8. If you can and feel comfortable doing so, take advantage of online shopping for gift buying and avoid the malls if they are anxiety-provoking or make symptoms worse.