My first big holiday with RA

Download PDF

Made it through Thanksgiving … and I’m really thankful for that. Glad it’s over. I’m also thankful to have learned a few lessons that will surely help me in the future.

Oh my, was this the most tiring experience! I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. Fatigue has so far been one of the most difficult aspects of RA for me.

I am still adjusting to what I can do, for how long, and how many times in one day. Most of the time I am doing better at setting appropriate limits for myself. For example, I have reduced my massage hours each week by 20%. But apparently holidays make it much harder to set those limits.

I am grateful to say that I didn’t do the primary cooking. That’s never been the way my husband and I divide labor. But I do bake the desserts, and do all the related dishwashing. Not a small task during a holiday with all this eating!

Next time I won’t offer nine people two dessert choices. One would have been plenty! And probably I would have been less stressed with the tried-and-true instead of new recipes.

And when the first chocolate cake I baked was ruined by another’s carelessness, I debated about baking a second cake. I did – and regretted it. Next time I won’t re-make anything – and hopefully won’t need to. This way I hope to be less exhausted when guests arrive!

During a busy day, I often plan a short nap to help with fatigue. But our family togetherness made it hard to stop for naps. Our grown kids live down the street, which we genuinely love. Over the holiday weekend, it meant extra evenings together eating leftovers and playing fun games. With all the people in and out, I didn’t get even a short nap on Thursday, Friday or Saturday! Thankfully I decided to give in Saturday night and head to bed almost two hours early. Next time I won’t compromise the need to rest a bit during the day.

Now I just have to remember to read this before Christmas weekend!!


  1. Wren
    Nov 30, 2009

    Pacing yourself to be able to keep up with the holiday feastmaking and merrymaking IS difficult, even without RA. This is the first Thanksgiving in many, many years that I’ve had to manage it all while dealing with fatigue and flared up hands. Nevertheless, I had a ball. I love cooking, and while I’m new to baking, I loved doing that too, this year.

    Thursday evening, I fell into bed around 10 p.m. and didn’t wake up again until 9:30 a.m.! I never manage to sleep that long, or in so late, but wow was I whipped.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m going to plan my Christmas celebration a little more carefully and try to do more in advance of the day so I can relax a bit. I’ve had RA for 22 years but I’m still learning these lessons. Thank goodness!

  2. RA Guy
    Nov 30, 2009

    One of the things that has helped me the most on my journey with rheumatoid arthritis has been limiting the number of items that even get on my to-do list in the first place! After I trim down what is on my list, I’m easily doing 1/3 of what I used to force myself to do in the past. It took me a while (okay, years) to get to this point of acceptance, but now I would not have it anyway else!

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *