Two women sitting comfortably on a couch with pizza, snacks, and water near them

Party Like You've Got Spondylitis!

Please do!

Do enter celebrations mindful of your own need for self-care.

This means planning to rest, emphasizing your own boundaries, values, and priorities to maximize personal health and wellness. Holidays and celebrations turn up the social and cultural pressure to make a good impression, make memories, and keep traditions. Personally, I like to skip right to having a good time, but it's not that easy. Whether it's a life milestone or a yearly event people tend to take stock of what they've achieved and what's missing.

Do keep an eye out for the sneaky toxic all or nothing mindset.

Some examples include:

  • “If I don’t x,y,z the way I’ve always done it I might never do it again.”
  • “If I can’t have the big tree, BBQ, party, or light display I don’t want to do anything.”
  • “Wearing comfortable shoes will ruin my outfit.”

Please try to remember that these traditions should be in service of us, not the other way around. It's better to use these opportunities to build and strengthen our relationships rather than running ourselves ragged chasing unrealistic expectations or ideals.

Do celebrate if you want to.

Celebrate with your friends and family if that's what you want to do.

Do plan ahead.

This is so that you have everything that you need to feel comfortable. Some things you can bring are:

  • An extra bottle of topical pain reliever-check.
  • Allergy medications-check.
  • Safe food and something to drink-check.

Do alert your host to any specific needs.

This might include storage for hot or cold packs, a place to change or rest, or your own food supply. My BFF is a cross-contamination hawk! She makes sure that I've got my own GF everything and that nothing happens to my food. If you don't have a guardian angel consider working with your host to arrange a couple of covered plates of food just for you.

Try something new.

You might like it more than what you're used to doing. Here are some examples:

  • Swap that big holiday tree for minis, a village display, or vessel vignette.
  • Have your friends gather for coffee and dessert instead of a big party.
  • Try a pajama party with brunch or pizza instead of a big meal and all of the cleanup.
  • If traveling is an issue have the squad wear matching outfits and jump on a video call together to open presents or watch a movie.

Please don’t

Don’t endure unwanted advice, comments, or prying questions.

Whether they be about your health, fertility, or love life.

Don’t skimp on rest.

Nothing you might be expected to do is more important than your health. Your guests and others you might visit get to go home, but spondylitis goes with you, no matter what's been planned. Don’t wait until you’re tired to get some rest, schedule it into your day. Pick at least two specific times to actually stop what you’re doing and take a rest.

Don’t feel that you must justify your actions to others.

You know your situation, that’s enough.

Don’t forget to do at least one thing for yourself.

Self-care is imperative.

Three questions:

  • What do you look forward to about holidays and celebrations?
  • What helps you stay comfortable on holiday trips or family gatherings?
  • What's a gift you might give to yourself?

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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