Today I would like to discuss the importance of SELF CARE! This is crucial to those of us suffering with chronic pain.
Constant chronic pain can make us feel irritable, lonely, scared, and most severely DEPRESSED. Depression is one of the most common symptoms of this disease. My goal in this blog is to stress the importance of taking care of ourselves as a whole. This includes, physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing.
First I would like to mention how I personally deal with the stresses, and difficult obstacles I face with RA. When I was first diagnosed (story in my RA journey link) I was 16 years old. Having Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) wasn't easy. I felt isolated, as I spent many days in the hospitals and in my bed at home. I needed EVERYTHING done for me! I needed help getting dressed and doing my hair. Often I simply did not go to school, as it was extremely difficult and painful for me. I found myself feeling depressed, because none of my friends understood why I never wanted to hangout with them. I never wanted to leave my house, I felt too sick. I took heavy amounts of medication, which involved side effects, such as sore stomach, which made me uncomfortable. My main issue was the feeling of isolation. I felt sad, and tired, because I could never sleep. However, in the last 5 years of being diagnosed, I have found a few things have helped me stay positive.
My parents and sister have helped me stay positive, and are always understanding when I have a hard time performing a simply task. My now fiancé, is incredibly helpful, and even gives me my weekly Enbrel injections! My fiancé and I have been together for 6 years, and he has been with me throughout this dramatic change in my life, and has always stood by me, even on those nights where our friends would go out, he would never leave my side, I am very blessed.
I try to keep my thoughts positive. This can be hard! Trust me I know! There are good and bad days. I am grateful to have been blessed with great medical, which has helped me battle this disease and keep my pain relatively manageable. However, when I am having days where I am stressed (which we know is a pain trigger), and I am feeling very low, I try and think of 5 things that I am grateful for that day. This helps me prioritize my feelings. It also helps to talk to a close friend, or take time to meditate. Meditating can be different for everyone. I often will go on youtube, and watch 'ASMR' videos. These are incredibly helpful for relaxation in my opinion (I will leave a link to a video for you to try tonight!). Meditation videos help me to feel at peace, and put my mind on other things rather than stress and pain.
In this year of 2014, I plan to take yoga classes. I hear that this form of exercise can be very beneficial to those suffering with chronic pain. I even have a few daily videos that I often do in the morning before I head to class, which helps me with my back pain. I will link the video below.
Recently I decided to see a Naturopath to discuss some dietary options in managing stomach discomfort, and inflammation. I will make a blog soon with the outline of how to do an anti-inflammatory diet that I hope some of you will try. I have tried this diet, and found it very challenging to stick to, however it was helpful. I have been given a list of foods that are helpful to eliminate inflammation. Some of these foods include: pineapple, blue berries, avocado, and the spice turmeric. I try to make smoothies, and put this spice into EVERYTHING! I will also add a smoothie recipe that is great for anti-inflammatory conditions!
Overall, It is vital that we continue to stay mobile and busy. I know that it can be hard, but positivity is the BEST MEDICINE!
Please share your experiences, and how you keep positive through your journey :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9f1Y4OV3QlA - Quick yoga for back pain! These help me immensely!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WmogbO0rGU - ASMR video! works best with headphones! enjoy the calming sounds.
Wish you all a pain-free positive day !