Pandemic Lifestyle Changes Have Benefited My RA

There are certain tasks in life, things I both love to do and despise, that are compounded by challenges and changes because I live with rheumatoid arthritis. Shopping has always been one of the things that I did enjoy, but the pain and fatigue it caused made it feel unbearable at times.

Shopping with RA

Shopping for anything- groceries, clothes, home goods, etc. - requires a significant amount of energy. You have to get dressed, pack your bag with anything you might need, and drive to the store.

After finding a parking spot and walking into the store, you take a cart or basket and then generally have to do a good amount of walking around, picking things up and setting them down, collecting the items you’ll be bringing home, and either carrying them or pushing them through the store until you get to the checkout counter. Those same items, once scanned and paid for, must be reloaded into your cart, then pushed to your car, placed one by one into your trunk, and then brought home and put away.

By the time you’ve finished this process, if you’re anything like me, you’re physically exhausted and probably even sore, too. You want to lay down on the couch for two days to recover from this outing, however, you can’t because life doesn’t just stop after you complete an errand. Yikes, right?

How the pandemic changed shopping

Shopping stopped being an option immediately when the pandemic took over the United States. Online shopping had been somewhat available prior to COVID-19, but it definitely wasn’t the norm. Once we were quarantined and in isolation, the only way we could acquire anything was to purchase it online and hope that the shopper pulled the right items off the shelves, texted you about potential replacement options, and delivered the correct items on time to your house.

The evolution of this was significantly brilliant as everyone got more used to the conditions surrounding the pandemic. One of the most helpful ideas I’ve seen was also born - curbside pickup. I can go to the store without getting out of my car, walking around, or carrying anything. I don’t have to come in contact with anyone else and I don’t have to expose my already weak body and immune system to the virus. Sign me up.

Life after the pandemic

I’m honestly not sure if or when we’ll reach that point, or what it will look like, but I really hope things like delivery and curbside shopping stay available. I’ve realized how much less physical energy and pain I’ve experienced as an RA patient utilizing these services, and I’ve become so grateful for the way they’ve improved my regular life. I sure hope they don’t disappear.

What about you? Have you felt like these services and others have inadvertently improved your quality of life?

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