When living with rheumatoid arthritis or any rheumatic condition, you quickly find ways to adapt. You seek to live a life that is comfortable, pain-free, and as “normal” as possible. It is not always easy, and sometimes it can feel impossible. Nearing a decade into my journey and being diagnosed at an age where I’m suppose to feel my best was a tough one to swallow. During this journey, I’ve picked up some must-haves thats I made sure to include in my survival kit. These 5 must-haves are key in helping you achieve exactly what you strive for daily: comfortable, pain-free, normal way of living.
1. A Strong Support System
When diagnosed with any condition a feeling of loneliness may creep up in the throughout your journey. Having a strong support system is a must to help you get through really tough times. May your support system be your family, friends, or even an online community or support group. Whatever it may be, make sure to have one. It will make a huge difference in how you navigate and cope with your daily life living with your condition.
2. Form of Movement
Movement is crucial when it comes to any rheumatic condition. With constant pain and stiffness, we may sometimes fall victim and live a more sedentary lifestyle. So take a walk, bike ride, try yoga, even tai chi. These are just a few low impact exercises that can help you keep moving. Whatever you do, keep moving!
I find that gratitude goes a long way. We find ourselves thinking about what all goes wrong and tend to forget what all goes right in our life. It can be a simple gratitude gesture about waking up or your ability to straighten your arm with ease. Whatever it may be, be grateful for your current state. I find for myself that gratitude even boost my mood and lessens my stress levels. Try adding a moment of gratitude in the morning, it will makes all the difference.
4. Heat Pads and Essential Oils
I can’t say this enough. Ever since I discovered heat therapy and essential oils, it has become a must-have on my list. Daily, our body stresses from the constant inflammation and stiffness that comes with our condition and it can be draining. Adding heat therapy like a simple heating pad or even trying infrared sauna can provide your body relief from all these stressors. Essential oils like frankincense, myrrh, and lavender can aid in pain relief and relaxation as well. We need every bit of relief we can get ya’ll!
5. Find You a Go-To Hobby
I believe finding a hobby or interest can make all the difference. Having rheumatoid arthritis can make simple task harder than they need to be. Hobbies like reading, writing, or drawing are just few hobbies that you can enjoy and that can also get your mind off the constant pain. Now one hobby I love is traveling. I find traveling smart makes a huge difference and you get all the adventure and experiences you enjoy. One of my old hobbies was working out. I can’t do it as much as I would like but I find moderation is key in everything you do when having rheumatoid arthritis. SO make sure to find a hobby that you enjoy, it makes all the difference!
Now there are more than 5 things I go by in my survival kit like, comfortable shoes, heat blankets, music, and more. Do not limit your survival list. When in doubt, make a must-haves list of things that you believe are necessities that will help make you comfortable, pain-free and feel like your old self before your diagnosis.