Small Changes Can Make Big Differences, Part 2

This article is a continuation of my thoughts on embracing some habits/changes that could be beneficial to those of us dealing with chronic disease.  I say this because we have so much to manage that anytime we can establish some changes that make our lives better, our days run more smoothly, our minds and bodies feel better, that is a wonderful thing!

5 more habits to help manage a chronic disease

Here is my next list of 5 habits (I will start with #6) I offer to you with my thoughts behind why they are so crucial to our health.

6. Make sleep a priority in your life. So often we find ourselves almost bragging about how little sleep we need to function. The truth is that it is recommended that adults get 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. Work towards this goal. That may mean turning off all screens at least an hour before bed. Listen to some white noise, soft sounds, calming music, etc., to get you prepared for sleep.

More on this topic

I love guided imagery and there are some wonderful ones specifically designed to induce sleep. I often take a nice warm bath, use soft lights, and read just before bedtime to wash away (pun intended) the busy thoughts of the day that when carried into sleep keep me awake. If I am in pain, I try to move a bit, do some light stretches, etc., to get my joints ready for some needed rest. Applying some heat (or cold if that works better) to my joints, just before bedtime, relaxes and soothes my joints as well.

7. Make every decision, every choice, based on your desire to be a caring and compassionate person, while giving consideration to your own needs as well. You need not sacrifice your life to accommodate others, but being empathetic and considerate of others has boundless benefits that you will reap far into the future. Paying it forward is such a wonderful practice and one that gives great satisfaction to anyone who exercises it. Tell people you love how proud you are of them, how important they are in your life, how grateful you are for them, how crucial they are to your joy and happiness. Let them know you are here for them just as they are here for you.

8. Talk to strangers sometimes. Maybe turn around in the grocery store line, say a few words to the person behind you. Sharing your time and conversation with someone new has amazing benefits. I have met some very interesting people that way and never have I regretted it. Ask your server at a restaurant how they are doing, not just what today’s specials are. When you extend yourself to others they appreciate that effort.

9. Wear whatever is the best combination of what makes you comfortable and confident. It may take some time to adjust your wardrobe to suit these qualities but it is so worth it. Feeling both comfortable to accommodate our RA, but also confident in how we look, is crucial to that overall feeling of success and joy.

10. Read something meaningful to you every day. It may be a book, an article, a poem. Taking time to read and absorb the written word is a practice that only serves to keep you cognitively sharp, wise and deeply satisfied. I have a book with me at all times so that when I am waiting in line, or at a doctor’s office, I can read.  It not only makes the time pass more quickly, it makes it pass more happily.

I hope some of these resonate with you. I am sure you can offer many more that have served you well. Try a few and see if your life is better for it.

Nan

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