Self-Care in Uncertain Times
Self-care might sound like a buzzword, but in the face of pandemics and natural disasters, it’s downright necessary. There is a fine balance between protecting your physical health and guarding your mental and emotional well-being.
Too much research can send us into a panic, but not enough can leave us vulnerable. Find the balance that works for you, and don’t forget to reach out to your healthcare team about any specific risks and precautions. If you’re dealing with unmanageable stress, share that as well. Right now and always, mental health matters.
How do I stay informed about COVID-19?
It’s easy to say “find a trustworthy source,” but how do you know where to look? We’ve picked a few go-to links to get started. If you have specific questions about your health, be sure to check in with your healthcare team.
- What to Know about COVID-19
- COVID-19: Tips To Reduce Your Risk
- Rheumatic Diseases and COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
- What Do Older Adults and People with Disabilities Need to Know?
- CDC: Travel Health Notices
- CDC: How to Protect Yourself
- Harvard Health Publishing: Coronavirus Resource Center
- COVID-19 Vaccine Updates: Continuously updated vaccine news and guidance from the FDA and CDC
- COVID-19 Update: FDA Authorizes Monoclonal Antibodies for Treatment of COVID-19 (February 9, 2021)
- COVID-19 Update: FDA Authorizes Monoclonal Antibody for Treatment of COVID-19 (November 9, 2020)
- COVID-19 Updates: People at Risk, Testing, Reopening, and a Vaccine (July 16, 2020)
- COVID-19 Updates: Solidarity Hydroxychloroquine Trials and COVID Vaccine Development (June 15, 2020)
- COVID-19 Updates: Remdesivir, Antibody Testing, and Reinfection Risk (May 7, 2020)
- ACR Guidelines To Ensure Access To Hydroxychloroquine (April 13, 2020)
- COVID-19: Updates on Face Coverings, Testing, & Medications (April 7, 2020)
- ACR Guidelines for Infusions during COVID-19 (April 6, 2020)
- FDA Issues Emergency Use Authorization for Use of Chloroquine Phosphate or Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate for Treatment of 2019 Coronavirus Disease (March 28, 2020)
- FDA Issues first Emergency Use Authorization for Point of Care Diagnostic (March 21, 2020)
- FDA Makes Way For New Experimental Drugs to Fight COVID-19 (March 19, 2020)
Managing stress & anxiety
Take some time to check-in with yourself. Are you feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or drained? Think about what would help in managing those feelings. What will help you recharge? Call up an old friend, watch your favorite comedy special, or check out an online chat.
Social distancing is necessary, and everyone should be taking it seriously whether they are immunocompromised or not. But that kind of isolation can be damaging to our mental health. Take time to connect with others around something other than the news.
- Play virtual games or watch a movie in sync with your friends
- Join an online group for your favorite hobby
- Call up an old friend and catch up
Seek healthy distraction
Don’t underestimate the power of distraction. If the news is fueling anxiety, step away for a little while. If it’s hard to stay distracted, try dedicating a certain amount of time to one relaxing activity. It might sound silly, but you can even set a timer!
- Get outside! In whatever way you’re able, take in fresh air and let your body move.
- Try a new recipe or get takeout from somewhere new. When you’re stuck at home, an adventurous meal can break up the routine.
- Go back to the old favorites - a childhood TV show, a classic movie, something familiar that helps you feel grounded.
- Finish that project - art, home repair, whatever you’ve been avoiding
- Pick up a new hobby - especially something you’ve been meaning to try and never get to! Click the button below to share your favorite or any new RA-friendly hobbies with the community.
And remember, there is no shame in asking for support! If you’re having trouble coping on your own and have access to a mental health professional, consider reaching out to them - some are available via video chat or text.
How do you distract yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed? Tell us in the comments!
Right now, what RA tips would most be helpful for you?