While some may dismiss meditation as hippy woo, it is actually a great way to center yourself, especially in times of stress. With guided meditations, you can shut off your mind for a good thirty minutes to an hour while you ignore the stress of your everyday life. This is a particularly good coping mechanism if you find yourself really struggling with stress as it allows your body time to really relax and disengage.
You can find guided meditation for a variety of topics on iTunes podcasts (typically for free or fairly cheap) and on YouTube. Make sure there are no other distractions, turn off the lights, light a candle, sit in a comfortable position and turn on the guided meditation. You’ll find that after it is over, the stress of your day will seem to be more in perspective.
Guided meditation can also help with RA pain in that it can take your mind off of it for a good chunk of time. Think of a meditation as a vacation from your problems, 30 minutes at a time. Some people may fall asleep during a guided meditation, and if that is the case, don’t worry. Your body surely needed it!
Massage has many physical and mental benefits, not the least of which is relaxation and improved blood flow. Many people with RA may find that they suffer with tight muscles in addition to painful joints and treating yourself to a massage is a great way to unwind.
One issue, however, with massage is the hefty price tag that comes with it. There are ways to cut corners and receive pleasant massages at a much lower price tag. If you have health insurance, you can always speak to your doctor about being recommended to a medical masseuse or sports clinic and often times you can bill your insurance for a massage.
Additionally, seeking a massage at a school for massage therapy means that you’ll be paying a much lower price than at a spa or clinic. Although those who will be doing your massage aren’t as experienced, they’re still giving you all of the benefits at a much reduced rate.
Alternately, if you don’t have insurance or live near a vocational school, you can ask a friend or spouse to trade massages. Although it may not have the same benefit of a professional or a professional-in-training, it will still definitely promote relaxation and blood flow.
Taking Time for Yourself
While it may seem like a no-brainer, taking time for yourself is extremely important whether or not you are dealing with RA. Dealing with a chronic illness whilst having to run a household, go to work, spend time with a spouse or partner, take care of children and/or pets can compound the already mounting stress of RA.
Thus, it is extremely important that you take time out to do something you love, even if it is only once a week. This can mean getting together with girlfriends, reading a book, working on a craft project or anything else that you find relaxing and are doing only for yourself. It is a great way not only to relax but help your mind press the “reset” button amidst all of the other stresses in your life!