Staying Positive during a Pandemic

As I sit on my couch, quarantined in my home, I have many thoughts racing through my mind...

COVID-19 has hit my home state with a vengeance. Watching the national and local news has become even more depressing than usual. Statistics, government mandates, and fatalities flashing across the screen. Every day the infection rate increases, with no end in sight.

Infection risks with rheumatoid arthritis

Living with RA, we all know our health is ever-changing. We have good days, bad days and everything in between. We are all living with an autoimmune disease that puts us at a higher risk of contracting certain illnesses, such as COVID-19.

How worried should I be?

I view myself as a rather healthy individual. I exercise daily, eat relatively healthy, take my immunosuppressants, and have been flare-free for over a year (minus a few rather uncomfortable days). So, the question is...should I be even more worried about contracting COVID-19 than I already am? I am very unsure about how I feel about this question. I want to say “no”; I’m a healthy 39-year-old woman with no respiratory issues.

Then I do the thing we should never do.... google it.

Anxiety due to the impact of the COVID pandemic

All of a sudden my anxiety kicks in (yes, I have that too) Am I breathing heavy? Was that a cough? I even went and checked my temperature. It was normal. I should be scared, I should panic, I should crawl under the covers and come out when this craziness is over.

There's a lot of time to worry

But... I can’t. Sure, it’s easy to do. I’m currently unemployed due to government mandate. I have lots of time to worry about my lack of income, my health, and the health of my family.

I’m trying to teach my children ( I have so much respect for all of you educators out there), keep my house intact, keep my clients from panicking, and keep myself from going into a full-blown flare. Hiding under the covers is sounding pretty darn appealing.

But, that is not what I have chosen.

How I chose to stay calm during the pandemic

I have chosen to do the best I can and be diligent about following precautions. My family has been socially distancing and sanitizing everything... and then sanitizing again. Being outdoors has kept me sane. Lots of hiking and walking, alone and with my family. Breathing in the fresh air and keeping distant from the real world.

In those moments, I forget that there is a pandemic. I forget I am at a greater risk, I’m just living my best life.

Be safe and stay informed

With that being said, I write this to my fellow RA warriors, asking them to stay safe, be informed, and follow all precautions pertaining to COVID-19. Know that we may run more of a risk and it’s up to us to stay socially distant and make smart decisions.

All I ask is that you don’t look at it like a prison sentence. Look at it as a time to relax, reflect, and appreciate the beauty around us. Soak up the sunshine, read a book, appreciate the time with loved ones. We’ve been given a chance to stop and smell the roses, just please do it from a distance.

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