Time to Renew!

This time of year brings with it a sense of renewal thanks to the budding landscape that I see each day. I truly feel a sense of starting fresh in the spring. I guess it comes from the end of winter and the feeling of hibernating that has come to an end.

I really am one of those folks who loves all the seasons of the year and I think part of the reason is that each time a new season begins it gives me this sense of renewal that I think is really helpful when it comes to managing RA. How? First of all, whenever you "start something over" it offers you an opportunity to take stock of where you are in your journey with RA. That means you can examine the various components that need "renewed" every so often. For example, pull out that medication list and make sure it is up to date. Have you done or considered an Advanced Directive or Living Will? Might be time to take that step.

When did you last see all of your various medical support team members? Check on those appointments and make the ones you need to. With spring comes the opportunity to do some new exercises that can include the outdoors after a winter of being confined. Try something you have wanted to do but maybe were reluctant to try in the dead of winter.

A walk on the beach is one of my favorites! The feeling of getting outdoors can be so liberating after being indoors for several months. Not to mention that daylight stays with us well into the evening now giving us more chances to enjoy being outside, soaking up the sunshine and getting that much needed vitamin D that is so crucial to both our physical and mental well being!

Another opportunity that this time of renewal offers is taking stock of your environment and how it works for you and not against you. Do you put safety first in your home? That means safe flooring, safe lighting, etc. With RA, having a home that is a haven and not a hazard is crucial to your well being. This is a good time to examine your residence and make sure it is a safe and "user friendly" place for you.

One example is night lights. Many of us with RA get up several times during the night to move our joints around to ease pain and stiffness and/or make that necessary trip to the bathroom that seem more and more frequent as I age! I have night lights placed all along the path I take and in various room throughout my house! This is a good time to stock up on them so you have them in case they stop working. They do have a shelf life! There are some really charming ones out there but be sure they illuminate the path well. That is the most important role they play! I have a really cool one in my hall bathroom that has an aquatic appearance and many colors alternating and it is so fun to look at!

What about gardening? Is there anything more wonderful than spending some time outdoors digging in the dirt, planting whatever catches your fancy be it flowers, vegetables, etc.? I cannot do what I used to do in this regard but I sure can still put out my flower boxes now filled with silk flowers and plant real ones in my hanging baskets. And I love to go outside and walk around my house and see all the flowering shrubs and perennial plants coming back to life. Spring really is a time of fresh starts and new life.

We have a rafter on our lower deck that has been a home for a bird's nest for over 20 years. Each spring a new mother and her babies make it their sanctuary for a time. We get to enjoy this each year and it is still touches my soul each time I watch and hear them. A different family inhabits it but is serves them well year after year. What a lesson in "starting fresh" this is and another chance for me to reflect on the beauty of renewal. I hope you take the time this spring to "take stock", start fresh and smell the roses of your life!
Nan Hart

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