Small Changes Can Make Big Differences (Part 1)

I am a firm believer that making some small but meaningful changes in our daily lives can often have significant impacts over the course of our lives, well into the future. This includes our management of RA and our ability to live with and thrive while handling a chronic disease.

In Part 1 of this discussion, I will go over changes/habits I think are important. I will carry this into a Part 2 because I think it makes sense to try Part 1 first, then move on. Too much, too soon can be overwhelming. In Part 2, I will continue with additional changes/habits and wrap up.

5 habits to help manage rheumatoid arthritis

So let’s start with some simple, yet effective habits we can establish. These are in no particular order so feel free to try them as they strike a chord with you.

  1. Turn off, or silence your phone/devices before you share a meal or a visit with someone you care about.  I know this is suggested all the time, but most of us do not do it, or we only do it now and then.  I suggest you make this a habit.  You will not only enjoy the visit/meal more, but you will find you are a better listener and conversationalist when you are not distracted by your phone.

  3. Walk whenever and wherever you can. Depending on the state of your RA, this may be a challenging habit. But if you are NOT flaring and those joints involved in walking are doing well, take advantage and WALK as much as possible. Your mind and body will thank you for it. I now live in an apartment building and I walk around all the time.  I think I actually walk more since moving here than I did when I was in a home!

  5. Try to listen more than you talk.  This is a real challenge for me as I love to chat with people.  But each year, I start out with this as my new year’s resolution.  I find I am more informed, and certainly, a better friend when I listen to what others have to say and how they are doing.

  7. When the mail comes, open it as soon as possible.  Sounds silly but it gives me such satisfaction to do this.  I sort out what I need to address or handle the bills that need paid and throw out the junk mail.  This means there is very little chance that I let anything important slide, be it some insurance or medical issue, etc.  Makes life better, I promise.

  9. Talk to someone whom you trust when you are in pain, physically or mentally. Keeping our pain hidden does nothing but intensify that pain.  Letting it out, by sharing with someone we know is there for us, not only releases the burden, but their advice and support can be just the tonic we need to move forward.

Reflect on how these new habits made you feel

After you have implemented these, write it down! Share the good news and pat yourself on the back. Reflect on what these changes have done for you both mentally and physically.  There is no timetable for doing these, so don’t feel a need to rush. Changes are not easy and everyone has their own pace.  That is what will make it a successful endeavor. Enjoy!  Part 2 will add some more.



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