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Loving Yourself During a Flare

February is all about love and we’re getting ready! We asked you, the community, how do you show love to yourself when you’re dealing with a flare? Do you look to a good book? A long bath? Meditation? Your favorite self-care stories and tips were amazing! We wanted to share as many as possible!

Taking it easy; The chores can wait

“When I’m flaring, I take the easy way out as much as possible! Food is a great example: Frozen waffles or cereal are okay for any meal. Takeout is ordered as long as it fits the budget. I use prepackaged snack bags for my son’s preschool snacks. And I don’t let myself feel guilty about any of it.”

“Ask for help, I do from my husband. Let the laundry sit an extra day or don’t dust. Whatever you need to do to take care of yourself for a bit.”

“I knit. It relaxes me and takes my mind away from the pain as much as possible. It also has the benefit of keeping my fingers and wrist moving and lessens the pain in them.”

“I either just sit in the quiet for hours or listen to music and color. Depends how bad the flare is and where.”

“Bath!! I bought my house for the tub that was in it (Jacuzzi) and when I’m flaring, it’s the best thing in the world!”

“A good movie or music, a soft blanket, comfy clothes, are definitely key for me, and having loved ones and friends close to keep me motivated and smiling.”

“I spend as much time in a heated pool that I can. Something about the low gravity seems to loosen my joints. I also plan ahead for flares and make big batches of soups that I freeze flat in freezer bags in individual portions. I just reheat on flare days.”

“Just a little me time and relaxation goes a long way.”

Self-care and self-love is the way to go

“I take that extra time to snuggle with our family dog.”

“Sometimes I need a really sad movie to have a good cry for someone else, but relieve the stress in my body during a flare… time to have a healthy cry, not a pity party.”

“I allow myself to be ‘okay’ with being sick and if things do not get accomplished, c’est la vie! I used to feel guilty if I needed to rest or take a two-hour bath, and now I realize how silly that is!”

“I walk gently, stretch purposefully and rest more often.”

“Put on my neck and shoulder warmer, light candles that are scented, comfy clothes and pre-made food.”

“We have an English cocker spaniel, Raffy. He always knows when I need a little TLC. He comes over and lays around me like a blanket.”

“Binge watch something on Netflix and get out the ice packs.”

Sleep, fun TV show and a chilled mocha! I have been in a constant flare, so I have to take pleasure in the small stuff.”

“I love Epsom salt baths and heating pad in bed, it’s the best during the worst!”

“Listen to calming music and sit in my yard and listen to nature. I try to focus on my breath and visualize the pain leaving.”

Distracting oneself away from the pain

“When in a bad flare, I basically try to keep distracted with music or computer games. If that doesn’t work, I will grab a blanket and try to watch a movie.”

“A walk in the sun when possible.”

“Nap or watch a happy movie that makes me get my mind off the pain in bed or on the couch with my best friends.”

“A good book, funny movie, and lots of rest!”

Thank you again for your incredible feedback! Continue to share your self-love tips with us! We love hearing them, and they can be so helpful for others looking for tips!


  • starscream
    12 months ago

    For flares that are bad enough to miss work but not bad enough to take a methylprednisolone 6 daypack, I will take cold baths and use icepacks to reduce swelling. Hot baths make me much worse!!! If I can think, I will then do work from home so it doesn’t have to be a sick day. If I can’t think, I will do light housework. If its really bad I will lie down and watch silly TV shows or read silly novels. I cannot deal with anything serious or exciting so I don’t watch/read horror or sci fi or adventure although I used to enjoy such genres in the past.

  • starscream
    12 months ago

    I was lucky that my kids school provided their own food from preschool through high school. I don’t know why more places don’t have this. It is a great help for working parents aside from RA, not to mention providing all kids equally with nourishment whether they are in poverty or not.

  • kgerth
    2 years ago

    I didn’t know that flares were part of RA. I have been feeling guilty for being so lazy during those times, and it’s good to know I’m not alone.

  • Richard Faust moderator
    2 years ago

    Glad you found the article helpful kgerth. Unfortunately guilt can be a common (but unwarranted) emotion for those with RA and other chronic conditions. In fact, in this article one of our contributors discusses the impulse to feel guilty and overcoming it: As she notes “So when the moment comes when you just can’t get up off the couch or you need some help buttoning that shirt, please don’t feel guilty for asking family or friends for it.” Thanks for being part of the community. Best, Richard ( Team)

  • starscream
    12 months ago

    You might want to speak to your doctor about flares. There’s medication that can be taken for them. Sometimes I can go in and get a shot of conrtisone in the knee or shoulder. Other times he prescribes a 6 day pack of methylprednisolone over the phone. If the flare lasts longer than a week he wants to see me. I don’t think we are supposed to be toughing it out completely alone.

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