A POC adult male wearing a foam waver/hand. There is a sloth on the foam hand.

Sloths Should Be the Rheumatoid Arthritis Mascots

Power animals are important to me because they give me strength and comfort. I pull energy from them and connect to them spiritually. I aspire to have the same revered characteristics and mimic them in daily life.

Sloths are my perfect power animals (and, I think, anyone with rheumatoid disease) because their lifestyle could better my disease management.

4 lifestyle tips for RA disease management

1. Move at my own leisure

I am like an energizer bunny. I keep moving (fast), I am fidgety and I talk at a monumental pace.

You’re thinking, "Wow, lucky you, you can move quickly!" I’m thinking, 'Why the eff am I doing this to myself??’ I’ll pay for it in just a few hours. I can’t help it because my body is just wired that way.

Every time I move too quickly, I think about the sloth. Slowing down means I protect my joints, cushion them against flares, and preserve the ability I still have. Just like the sloth, I need to mellow out.

2. Think before I do

Sloths are extremely deliberate with their actions. It is probably because they move slowly that they are so sure-footed. If I slowed down and thought about my actions, I would not only conserve energy but also not waste it and efficiently maneuver tasks. Who knows, I may even complete things more quickly.

3. Persistence pays

Sloths are very determined. I went through a phase where I watched a lot of cute sloth videos. Some people shot a heart-warming video of a sloth trying to cross a high-traffic street to a patch of trees. The sloth would certainly have been hit by a car had it not been for a few kind people who dragged him safely away from oncoming traffic.

Okay, so the sloth probably didn’t know he was in danger. He just wanted to get to the trees. He was determined to make it across the road, without thinking of the consequences.

Next time I feel down about my condition, I will think of this sloth. RA knocks me down, but I will make a great life despite it.

4. Embrace the nap

Sloths love to sleep. They are not embarrassed by how much rest they take. So why am I?

The next time I give myself a hard time about sleeping ‘too much’ or feeling ‘lazy’, I will remember the sloth and embrace the nap. After all, if I want to function and get through my day, I need the midday rest!

Do you agree with me? Is the sloth a good power animal for people with RA? Let me know in the comments!

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