A woman is sitting on a couch looking at their to-do list. The list is multiple cards, and cards are floating around her face. Her eyes are spirals because she's overwhelmed.

Life Doesn't Stop Because We Have Rheumatoid Arthritis: 4 Tips to Get Caught Up

Last updated: August 2021

Our world, our lives don’t stop because we have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We are still moms, dads, brothers, and if we are still so lucky, coworkers.

The roles that we have outside of the RA world still go on. My kids still need a mom who bakes cookies for the bake sale.

My husband needs a wife who can somewhat function as part of a team to make our family’s life continue to run smoothly.

All these branches of my life don’t just stop because I’m sick.

Life does not stop when you have RA

Life may not stop when you have rheumatoid arthritis, but I do have 4 tips to help make the most of your limited time and energy.

Unfortunately, the bathroom doesn’t stop getting dirty and the dust bunnies don't stop partying under the kitchen island.

House projects, laundry, work drama - on and on life goes whether we are drowning in fatigue and pain or not.

If you’ve found a miraculous way to halt every little thing getting dirty all the time, please for the love of God, share your secret in the comments!

4 tips for how to get caught up

1. Don’t freak out

I know when I’m not feeling well and start to see my life implode around me while I’m "resting" on the couch, I start to freeeeeak out.

The anxious pressure starts to build in my chest and my mind starts to feel overwhelmed which contributes to my stress and flares. Continuing the viscous stress and flare cycle.

I try to remind myself to just breathe and hold off the overwhelming feeling as best as I can.

2. One thing at a time

So I have a few bits of energy and know that I need to get something accomplished. But, where to start Here’s the answer: anywhere.

Here’s the scenario: I stand up and decide that I have to accomplish something. But what? Where should I start when there is just so much to do? You have two options here:

  • First you can mentally decide what is the most important. What needs to absolutely be accomplished now? Figure out what is the highest priority that you can reasonably tackle, and start there.
  • The second option is to just do the first thing you see. Is it a dirty dish? Then load the dishwasher. Is it an overflowing laundry basket, then do the laundry. You will mentally feel better if you can just push through and get something, anything, checked off the list.

3. Try to get organized

Two things I’ve learned as my kids have gotten a little older: one, routine is everything and, two, they aren’t helpless.

If while you are “down” you’ve established a sort of routine or organization to your house, it will be less likely to totally implode when you aren’t feeling well.

I’ve tried really hard over the past few years to really keep a schedule with my kids, making sure they are well aware of what is expected of them.

I’ll be honest, this isn’t easy, nor is it perfect (after all, they are only children) but it does help.

4. Delegate chores or tasks

Sometimes, I can’t do a particular chore or task myself because of my limited energy, pain, or even brain fog. (You’d be surprised how many chores require actual mental thought!)

As I was going through the process of setting up a sort of “routine” in my home, things certainly weren’t running like clockwork.

But what I did learn is that while I couldn’t actually do some tasks, I could ask for help and delegate. Sometimes, people want to help us, but they don’t know where to start or what to do either.

If you can delegate some of the tasks, then the world is less likely to fall spectacularly apart while you are managing the complex symptoms of life with RA.

Life doesn’t stop because we have RA, but we can do our best to prepare for the worst. That way we can at least allow life to continue to limp along as best as we can.

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