Build a Support Team
Managing a chronic disease like rheumatoid arthritis can impact your relationships, social life, and even your mood. You are going to want to be around people that understand your condition without adding unnecessary stress.
There are online support communities where you can share your experience, stay up-to-date on breakthroughs and treatments, and learn of new ways to manage RA as best you can.
Communication is going to be more important than ever before. You will need to be able to talk to your family, friends, and people you work with so they can gain an understanding of how they can help. If you have never been assertive about your needs before, living with RA will give you the chance to hone those skills.
I found this to be particularly challenging, but have learned to set boundaries for myself when I needed a break or had to adjust an activity. It gets easier with more practice.
Symptoms are known to come on quickly, and being able to change or modify plans will save you a lot of stress. You may be surprised at how creative people can be if you ask for help.
Another way to seek support is to join a spiritual community or a local support group for people managing chronic illness. Finding a way to help someone else who is on this journey can provide a much-needed distraction from the challenges it brings.
The most important thing you can do for yourself is to try to be patient with the process, and kind to yourself when you’re having a bad day.
Keeping the Faith
Researchers are working tirelessly to improve the quality of life for people living with all kind of arthritis. It may be difficult to stay optimistic if you’re in the midst of a flare, but try to remember that there is a great big arthritis family out there working diligently to help find a cure.
You may find it helpful to get involved with fundraising within your local community. There may be times when anxiety or depression set in from the stress of managing chronic pain. Be sure to ask for help if you need it.
Some therapists can help you make changes to help your symptoms and provide support. Life is stressful as it is, and having fatigue and pain as your closest friends can make it feel challenging. Everyone could use a helping hand through this.
Rheumatoid arthritis cannot be cured, but with the help of your doctors and a variety of treatment options, it can be managed successfully. Being as actively involved with your treatment plan can keep the disease in remission and ease flares.
People with severe RA have been known to have a reduction in life expectancy of about ten years because of the damage caused to body systems or organs, which is why early aggressive treatment is so often the preferred plan of action.
Living with a chronic pain condition can wear on you physically and emotionally. You will need to build in time within your self-care program to do something that brings you joy. Watching your favorite sports team play, listening to a new book online or learning how to cook, can keep your spirits up through this journey.
Doctors’ appointments, treatments, food preparation and needing time to exercise may leave you feeling stretched thin. Set aside time weekly to plan as strategically as possible. You may find it helpful to delegate certain tasks to conserve your energy or control your pain level.
The time you take to care for yourself is never wasted. Your health is the basis from which you do everything else, so please be kind to yourself and may you be in remission for a very long time.