3 New Year’s Resolutions for People With RA

3 New Year’s Resolutions for People With RA

By Lana Barhum Published at December 27 Views 2,167

Lana Barhum is a legal assistant, patient advocate, freelance writer, blogger, and single parent. She has lived with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia since 2008 and uses her experiences to share expert advice on living successfully with chronic illness.

Many chronically ill people dread setting New Year's resolutions, because we can’t predict what our illness battles will be, but we can still live a full life despite compromised health. Millions of people living with chronic diseases are caring for themselves and enhancing their relationships.

One of the biggest fears people with chronic illness face is the unknown future. How do you learn to cope successfully with your limitations and lessen your fears as we start a new year? You can start by setting resolutions that help you manage pain and illness successfully.

Here are three resolutions people with chronic illness should set for the new year.

1. Improve sleep

Pain and fatigue experienced by people with chronic illness has a huge impact on daily life, including sleep. Because of their diseases, chronically ill people often have trouble sleeping at night and experience fatigue during the day. Sleep issues can make a person’s quality of life worse.

In the new year, resolve to get better sleep. Start by working with your doctor to control pain and symptoms. If your pain and symptoms are managed and you are still experiencing sleep problems, make sure you are practicing good sleep habits. Good habits include things such as: sleeping in a dark room, keeping noise out of your bedroom, maintaining a comfortable bedroom temperature, having a sleep schedule, avoiding naps during the day, staying away from caffeine close to bedtime, and drinking liquids that induce sleep, such as warm milk or chamomile tea.

You could also try approaches to sleep such as relaxation training, biofeedback, and cognitive behavior therapy. As a last option, consider asking your doctor about a prescription sleep aid to help you fall asleep at night and stay asleep until morning. It is best, however, to try non-drug methods before turning to sleeping pills. Sleeping pills should only be used for short periods, as long-term use may cause tolerance and dependence.

Remember, you doctor is the best person help you to find the best sleep solution.

2. Eat healthier

We all know that eating healthy is vital for everyone, but especially for those who live with chronic diseases. Consuming the right foods can lessen symptoms, slow disease progression, and in some cases, reverse the signs of disease. After all, the origin for many chronic illnesses is poor nutrition. For example, obesity, heart disease, and high blood pressure are generally caused by poor diet choices.

For the new year, resolve to make healthy nutrition choices. Eat food close to its natural state, skip processed junk foods, avoid excess carbohydrates, and drink plenty of water.

Good nutrition is central to supporting the body’s ability to heal itself. But before making a change to your diet, talk to your doctor or a dietitian regarding the best plan for your particular lifestyle and health condition.

While you’re at it, get moving. Making small and purposeful choices can help you be active and mobile for as long as possible. Use the steps instead of the elevator, park further away from your destination and walk, or use your lunch hour to take a short walk whether it is in your office building or outside.

3. Improve relationships and make new friends

Loneliness is a common issue for people living with chronic illness. Sometimes, friends and loved ones stop calling and inviting you once you are diagnosed. You might also find yourself wanting to distance from others. While this is a normal part of illness, maintaining relationships is important to your health.

In the new year, resolve to improve relationships with friends and loved ones and to make new friends. Perhaps, get to know others who share your religious beliefs or who have the same illness as you.

Remember, you need support from everyone, especially those closest to you. People care about you and genuinely want to support you, so don’t let your fear of judgment keep you from seeking support, making new friends, and maintaining relationships.

Looking forward to a new year

Having a chronic illness can be devastating, and it makes a person feel downright helpless. While you have little control of the diagnosis, you can still take charge of your life and your responses. A chronic illness doesn’t have to stop you from resolving to improve your life and looking forward to an amazing new year.

Have a happy and healthy new year! Here’s to setting resolutions that improve our lives, in spite of chronic illness!

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