Disclaimer: Self-care is kind of my thing. I don’t know if it is because I am an introvert and require lots of down time or it is part of my reflective personality. Either way, self-care is something that I strive to include in every single day.
When rheumatoid arthritis (RA) became part of my life, I quickly began looking for triggers such as food, weather, stress, etc. Over time, I have discovered that while many times there is no apparent trigger, stress is one thing that can definitely cause a flare. Knowing this, my job is to keep my stress levels to a minimum. This is what works for me.
- Walks: I use the excuse of having a border collie who requires daily walks, but I know I require them just as much as she does. They keep my body moving, but most importantly allow me to work out a lot of what is going on in my brain.
- Workouts: My RA is currently is in a good place which allows me to workout three days a week to Fitness Blender videos. I focus mostly on strength workouts. I want to keep my body strong and flexible so on days my RA has a strong voice, my body can keep up.
- Gratitude: Finding the good things in life and feeling grateful for all the people, experiences, love, and things I have in my life is really what keeps me going. Gratitude is a practice that gets easier with time and can completely change your perspective for the better.
- Family: A warm hug from my husband and/or two kids keeps me energized for hours. I think there is magic in hugs.
- Planning: Each day as I think through my day, I include some type of self-care activity. It might be quite simple such as finding a quiet place to eat my lunch or taking a hot bath at the end of the day. As I plan my days, I scrap things I “think” I have to do if it interferes with allowing myself a little time to regroup and take care of myself.
Know your body and know your mind. When we know what we need as an individual and make sure it happens, life and rheumatoid arthritis seem to balance each other out.