There Is a Season….for RA Changes

As each season winds down, I find myself considering where I am at in my rheumatoid arthritis (RA) journey. It is a great time to take stock and contemplate what, if any, changes or new strategies may be needed to improve, enhance or maintain.

I think it may be related to the fact I often end each season doing some significant house cleaning, out with the old, downsizing, etc, which I find liberating - both mentally and physically. What naturally follows is some self-examination and renewal. 

Self-examination and renewal

For example, this past summer was spent attending to some family health issues and dealing with the oppressive heat we had here in Virginia. 

Both of these meant that normal activities were curtailed, leading to some feelings of loss and sadness. That - in turn - led to some feelings of inertia and I simply did not want to upset the apple cart when it came to my RA.

Once, the heat had let up, the health issues were resolved, etc. And, best of all, fall started; I felt as though it was the perfect opportunity to do some reflecting.

When to consider change is based on the individual. For me, I have just noticed it often coincides with the seasons, unless there is some other abrupt trigger. 

What I like about this is that I can kind of plan on it. If I “schedule” it, I know that at some point (4 seasons, 4 opportunities) in the year I will take stock of my RA.

Where do I begin to consider change?

So here I am, a new season, and where do I begin to consider change? Well, first of off, I take an inventory of sorts.

RA care, medications, and treatment

I review my medications and treatments and think about how I am doing on them. Are they still effective? Do I need to consider a change? What are the latest options available to me?

I might reflect on my care team. How do I believe my relationship is with my rheumatologist? Their staff? Other professionals that I work with, from massage therapy to physical therapy. Am I satisfied? 

If not, why? Do I need to consider making a change?

Physical movement and exercise

How am I doing from a movement perspective? Can I increase my exercise? What might I do to enhance that area of my life?

Where do I look for assistance in selecting those exercises that might work for me? Even the slightest change could mean significant positive results.

Assessing my mental and emotional health

How am I doing mentally and emotionally? What, if any, areas are troubling me and how might I pursue some strategies to cope with those issues?

Who do I need to talk to? Talking to some trusted advisors, friends, and members of my care team can be both healing and energizing.

Relationships

How are my relationships going - at work, at home, and socially? How might I improve them? What do I need and what can I offer? 

Both are critical to successfully managing RA. Taking the time to have deep and meaningful conversations with everyone in your circle of life can be life-altering.

Changes to ponder

What are the changes you want to ponder as the seasons move from one to the next?

We all have different aspects of our RA journey that need attention throughout the year. Taking the opportunity to address them is an important part of successfully managing our RA.

Nan

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