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Caring for Our Emotional Well-Being & Mental Health

Last updated: September 2020

Practicing self-care looks different for each of us. For some, self-care means looking after our physical well-being. For others, it also means taking action to better our mental or emotional well-being.

To hear what you are doing to take care of your mental and emotional health right now, we reached out on the RheumatoidArthritis.net Facebook page and we asked: “What self-care activities or hobbies has everyone been doing this week?”

Almost 150 community members responded. Here is what you shared!

Caring for our emotional well-being with RA

Connecting with loved ones

Other people play a big role in our emotional well-being. A phone call or Facetime session can help us feel seen and understood. We all need connection with others. Sometimes, you may need to vent. Other times, your focus might simply be listening to the other person. Either way, that meaningful connection is form of practicing self-care.

“Listening to my grandbaby laugh.”

“Family time. Talking on phone/texting my family.”

Spending time with pets

So many of you shared that time with your pets help you feel better. This makes sense. Our pets love us and, when we spend time with them, we enjoy that connection and feel loved. This in turn can do wonders for our emotional well-being.

“Lots of interaction with my darling companion, my dog, Fred!”

“I was able to take my cat outside today. He is a very happy kitty now.”

“Visits with my cat.”

A creative outlet or peaceful pastime

A lot of adults do not take time for art and creativity. We often value work or other pastimes over creative pursuits, but creative activities relieve stress and are very necessary for mental health. These can be anything that brings you joy and feels good: painting, coloring, crafts and the like.

“Crocheting.”

“Knitting.”

“Sewing and painting crafts.”

“Painting.”

Stimulating the brain with books and puzzles

Sometimes it is easy to forget that the brain likes stimulation. We need to be mentally engaged. Several of you named reading as a favorite hobby. Reading is wonderful because it connects us to new ideas and thoughts.

Plus, reading well-written works can engage the mind as you appreciate the creativity and beauty of what you take in. Reading to learn a new skill is also a great way to stretch your brain. Crossword puzzles or foreign films with subtitles might also be a nice treat.

“Reading.”

“Reading on my Kindle.”

“Crossword puzzles.”

Gardening

Many of you also shared that gardening is a favorite hobby. Gardening grounds us and allows us to appreciate beauty, spend time outside, and take advantage of the healthy produce (if one is growing fruits or vegetables.) Gardening can also be a kind of meditation as it involves repetitive motions, which many people find relaxing.

“At home, I am in my garden. Thank God I am still able to do it. I have containers and raised beds, and I am growing everything from blackberries to zucchini. This keeps me active physically as well as mentally—and I get tomatoes!”

“Gardening as much as possible.”

We want to say thank you to everyone who shared what is working for them in terms of self-care. We appreciate you!

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