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Life With Arthritis Can Be Better in the New Year

Small Improvements Yield Big Results

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Created December 31, 2013

Many people make New Year's resolutions. We often don't hear about the success or failure of the resolutions, but effort is made, at least initially. For people with arthritis, it's a bit more daunting to think of resolutions. Arthritis makes life tough enough, without adding that stressful dimension we call "New Year's Resolutions."

We can make general improvements, however, even if we don't proclaim that they are resolutions. We can do it in a more quiet and discreet manner. No one has to know but you! Let's divide this into three categories and consider how we can make live with arthritis a bit better: Helpful Approaches, Actions to Stop, and Dealing With Difficult Issues.  

Helpful Approaches

Strike a Balance With Arthritis - With arthritis, the disease itself and how it intrudes on your life can consume you. Try to find balance so you feel more centered and focused despite arthritis.

Use Distraction to Cope With Arthritis - If you feel overwhelmed by all things medical, take time to breathe. Distract yourself from what you find overwhelming about arthritis.

Get Enough "Me Time" - When it all seems like too much, take some time for yourself. It will recharge your battery and renew your ability to cope with the challenges of chronic arthritis.

Patience Helps You Live With Arthritis - When you were first diagnosed, it felt like arthritis was dumped on you, right? It requires patience to learn how to best manage the disease.

Actions to Stop

Comparing Yourself to Others - Avoid comparing yourself to others with arthritis. The disease course varies and the response to treatment varies between different individuals. Focus instead on your own situation and make informed decisions with your doctor.

10 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself if You Have Arthritis - It is helpful to stop certain actions that seem to undermine your wellness and ability to cope with arthritis. Cut out what's not working in your favor.

Stop Procrastinating - We wake up each morning in considerable pain and look at our To-Do list for the day. Crawling back under the covers sounds good most days. Stop avoiding what you need to do. The list just grows if that's your approach. Each day, tackle what is manageable. 

Get a Handle on Your Fear - Arthritis can be scary. We simply don't know what lies ahead. There are about ten things that people with arthritis fear. Learning as much as possible about arthritis and putting myths to rest can dispel some fear. Battle your fears with facts and positive coping strategies.

Dealing With Difficult Issues

Ups and Downs of Arthritis - The ups and downs of arthritis are perhaps the most difficult aspect to explain to others and the most difficult aspect to live with. Learning to be flexible is a must-do.

Variability of Pain - People with arthritis learn how to deal with long-term, chronic pain but the unexpected fluctuations of pain intensity within the same day or week can be the most difficult adjustment you need to make.

Lost Friends Because of Arthritis? - It's difficult for people without arthritis to understand what it's like to live with the disease. If a person can't understand your physical limitations or your emotions, your friendship may become strained or possibly unsustainable.

Unwanted Advice - Family and friends mean well when they bring you magazine articles about arthritis or tell you about what they saw on television. Really, they do. But, it can be hard to swallow when you know you are doing your best under the care of your doctor. Don't let it get under your skin. Choose an appropriate response that is polite but firm.

The Bottom Line

I hope you can cull some ideas from the dozen articles I just listed. If you want it pared down even more, check this out:  Arthritis Survival Kit - What You Must Have to Manage Arthritis.

  

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