Living with arthritis can be challenging, not only physically, but mentally as well. Depression and anxiety are the two most common mental health issues arthritis sufferers face. What can also happen is that poor mental health can make arthritis symptoms even worse.
Today, 23% of Americans suffer from some form of arthritis, and 11% of Americans suffer from diagnosed mental health issues. The cross-section between these two groups is large enough to consider mental health among people suffering from arthritis to be an epidemic. It is quite challenging to maintain positive mental health when your physical body is causing you major pain.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to reduce the physical and mental symptoms of both arthritis and emotional states like depression and anxiety. Here are some helpful tips on how you can maintain positive mental health when dealing with lifelong arthritis.
Identify Your Triggers
What causes your arthritis to flare up? Is it the weather? Was it something you ate? Identify the triggers that lead to the aches and pain you experience and do what you can to eliminate or avoid them as much as possible. It can help to record everything with a pen and paper so that you can notice the connections between something you did or something in the environment and your joint flareups.
Ask Someone For Help
Are you finding it difficult to reach high to grab something from a cupboard? Is there something that becomes more challenging for you physically? If so, rather than getting angry or stressed out about it, ask someone for help. This could be a friend, family member, partner, or loved one. Provide them with clear instructions on what sort of help you need. This will help you avoid further mental or physical fatigue.
Keep Your Expectations Realistic
The unfortunate truth is that you will be unable to do certain things you used to do when living with lifelong arthritis. The sooner you come to terms with this reality, the quicker you will avoid getting disgruntled over being unable to do something you simply believe you should be able to do. You can talk to others who suffer from arthritis about what you should and shouldn’t expect to be doing, as well as your doctor.
Make Necessary Adjustments
Don’t just keep going doing things the way you always did them. When you live with arthritis, you need to protect your joints more so they don’t get inflamed. This means getting ergonomic tools, as an example. You can also modify your diet to include more anti-inflammatory and antioxidant foods. Improving your sleeping schedule and getting more comfortable bedding can also help. Do a status check on everything in your life and identify what can be tweaked to make your life easier.
Take It Easy
You will have both good days and bad days when it comes to your arthritis symptoms. However, just because you are feeling a bit better doesn’t mean you should overdo it. Avoid pushing yourself too far physically because you will definitely feel it the next day, which will affect your mental health. Check in with yourself to identify whether you are taking it easily enough or if you are overdoing it.
Appreciate Your Accomplishment
Even if they’re small, celebrate your accomplishments by having gratitude for being about to do them. This means celebrating the little wins you have throughout the day. This could be something like vacuuming the living room, making a meal, or picking up kids from school. Rather than being hard on yourself for not accomplishing big feats, appreciate the smaller achievements you have throughout your day.
Get More Sleep
This tip is a very important one. Getting quality sleep is vital to keeping joint flareups at bay. When you have arthritis, your body needs more time to restore and recover from inflammation. Aim to get at least eight hours of sleep per night. If time allows for it, take a midday nap as well. Getting eight hours of sleep will make a noticeable difference compared with sleeping for just seven hours. To make it easier to sleep well, avoid caffeine after 4 PM, turn off all electronic devices an hour or two before bed, and invest in quality bedding.
Be Kind to Yourself
You, as much as anyone else, deserve your kindness and compassion. This means finding ways to improve your mood and experience some rejuvenation. Others who deal with arthritis have found numerous ways to improve their mental health, including listening to music, meditating, journaling, taking a walk, getting out into the sun, running a hot bath, reading a book, or playing with a pet. Find something that sparks happiness and joy within you and incorporate it into your life.
Take a Joint Supplement
Taking a joint supplement will help you minimize how much joint pain you experience on a daily basis. This will directly impact your mood, which means your mental health is bound to improve. A popular joint supplement is JointFuel360, which comes packed with all-natural ingredients to keep joint soreness and stiffness at bay. Anti-inflammatory ingredients like black pepper extract and turmeric, along with antioxidants like resveratrol will do their job of reducing joint swelling that leads to unwanted aches.
Control What Content You Consume
Are you regularly reading or watching the news that is undoubtedly mostly negative? If so, your mental health can take a major hit if you’re not regulating how much of this content you are consuming. This doesn’t mean you need to stick your head in the sand, but you can balance it out with reading or watching positive and uplifting news. This will relieve stress and result in feeling less physical pain that’s brought on by stressful news.
If you are suffering from arthritis and have seen your mental health decline, you now know what you can do to return to a happy, peaceful, and improved mental state. Given the direct connection between mental health and living with a lifelong chronic condition, it is vital to take steps to prevent a worsening of either.