About 2 years ago, my husband and I bought a house. There are many things we love about our house, but one great thing is having the space to host family events. We hosted Hanukkah last year and Thanksgiving this year. It’s a lot of fun, but also a lot of work.
Since I have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), I know I shouldn’t exert myself too much or I’ll end up in pain. Understanding and respecting your limits and is and an important part of managing a chronic condition.
Here are six tips to making hosting an easy and fun experience when you have RA.
Take turns with your loved ones to host the holidays. You don’t have to host every holiday. Don’t feel bad if you have to sit one out. As fun as it is, you’ll probably feel relief when it’s not your turn.
Make a list of things you need to do for the event. Try to finish everything on your list before the big day. If there are things you need to pick up, space the errands out over a few days to give yourself time to rest. Also, try to prepare any foods you can ahead of time.
Conserve your energy. The day of will probably be more work than you thought.
Even if you’re hosting, it’s OK to ask for help. Have your guests bring a dessert or side dish.
It’s tempting to try to do it all, but when you have RA, knowing when to ask for help is an important part of managing your symptoms and avoiding any pain.
When my husband and I host a holiday in our home, we use disposable plates and silverware, not fancy dishes.
We have a dishwasher, but rinsing the dishes and loading them in is a lot of work. Sometimes, I just don’t have the energy to do it.
I’m a perfectionist. Sometimes I go overboard with cleaning the house, making the food, or arranging the décor. But it’s important to remember that what matters most is celebrating with your guests.
When I start obsessing about how I want things to be, my husband helps keep me in check by asking how I’m dealing and if I need help. If you think you may find this useful, find someone to be that person for you.
Hosting isn’t for everyone. If you physically can’t do it or it’s not something you enjoy, don’t do it!
I am grateful that I am able to provide a memorable holiday experience for my family. But it’s not easy, and I usually pay for it for a few days afterward with RA pain.
Leslie Rott Welsbacher was diagnosed with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis in 2008 at the age of 22, during her first year of graduate school. After being diagnosed, Leslie went on to earn a PhD in Sociology from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in health advocacy from Sarah Lawrence College. She authors the blog Getting Closer to Myself, where she shares her experiences coping with and living with multiple chronic illnesses, candidly and with humor. She is a professional patient advocate living in Michigan.