Let vacation be vacation
Holidays often mean a lot of expectations, both from ourselves and those around us. When living with a rheumatic diagnosis, it can be especially important to ensure that expectations are kept at a reasonable level, so that the time off is enjoyable and provides the recovery you need.
Trips, events and socializing with family and friends, but also undemanding time in the hammock with all those books that haven't been read. There is a lot that we want to squeeze in during a short period of vacation. Maybe even too much? Make sure to think through what is actually important to you during the holiday and talk about this with your loved ones so that you understand each other.
The days and weeks are easily filled with all kinds of activities. First you go camping with your family and then you are supposed to join a spa weekend with friends. But also make sure to do what you yourself really want to do, even if it's not all the time or every day. Tell those around you what is important to you during the leave and plan this, whatever it is, in the same way you book trips and excursions.
Simplify time and energy thieves such as fixing meal after meal for guests visiting you. Involve everyone in planning, shopping, cooking and washing up—make it part of the visit! And remember that simple is good—in Elsa's program "We’ve got to eat – but what?" you’ll find several tips on how to simplify cooking (see chapter 9: "Bring on the flavor!")
Enjoy the little things
Sometimes we get so caught up in the big and special events that we forget to appreciate the simple, the small, the close. Seeing a friend or going for a morning swim—make sure to value these moments and use them to replenish your energy.
Take breaks also during the holidays
The word holiday can make us forget that we may actually need to take a break—even during the holiday itself. Find places and moments when you can retreat. Say that "now I need to be alone for a while to recharge for the evening". And instead of acting as a tourist guide, let the guests discover the surroundings themselves some day.
If the planning grows into a monster and the empty days when you can just take it easy become too few—say no. It is not possible to do everything and you have a responsibility to take care of yourself. It is okay both to skip things and to change your mind, or come up with new suggestions that are better suited to the moment and mood. Saying no to something opens up to say yes to something else, something that you really want.