Check Your Stress at the Door
I know I have caused many a flare for my best friend who has PsA. I’m guilty, her husband’s guilty, basically anyone she holds near and dear has, at one time or another, been the culprit that set off the disease.
We all know stress can be a major trigger for PsA, but as caregivers and companions we tend to focus on keeping our loved one tension-free, forgetting all about how our own anxiety levels can have a direct impact on them.
Taking care of yourself
My friend is a problem solver, a great listener and always game with some fabulous, yet legal, way to get revenge anytime I am wronged. As incredible as each of those qualities are, they can be extremely problematic when they manifest as her taking on my issues and consequently causing her to be sidelined by her disease.
We’ve all heard the adage of you have to take care of yourself first so you can be healthy to care for others. I don’t ever want to be a source of pain for my friend, and I certainly don’t want my issues to cause her strife. Our jobs as best friends are to be each other's foundation, but it's my job to give her an extra boost.
Being my best self, so I can be the best for her
So, with that in mind, I’ve made a commitment to work to be my best self so I can be the best for her. As someone who lives a fast-paced life with the attention span of a gnat, it’s difficult to eradicate stress overnight and making major commitments to life-changing behaviors tend to end quicker than they began. So, baby steps have been the key, but even these small changes have shown a direct relation to keeping my stress in check.
Meditation: I will tell you, as someone who has trouble focusing on anything I am the most reluctant meditator. However, thanks to some incredible free apps I’ve been able to gain access to thousands of free meditations that focus on everything from career to health to love. The best part of all is they range in length from 5 minutes to well over an hour. I’ve started small- 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there - and I have to say it’s working!
Massages: Thanks to a number of spa chains around the country getting access to a great massage is no longer a major financial investment. For less than what it costs to go out to a drinks and dinner, I’m able to decompress and loosen those knots caused by work, bills, family drama - you name it!
Dessert: Sometimes you just need to completely indulge. No guilt, no worrying about the sugar or calories. The Golden Girls solved all the problems of the world gathered around a cheesecake at their kitchen table and you know what, every now and again a deep dive into something delicious can erase all our worries. The caveat is you have to do it without feeling bad about it. Own every delicious bite and celebrate the sugar rush!
Plan a getaway: Getting out of town can be costly and hard to schedule but a change of scenery and pace can give you a whole new lease on life. Don’t have a lot of cash to spend? How about a trip somewhere within an hour of your home. I frequently plan off season visits to relative’s vacation homes with friends for a weekend of movies and fun.
Stress is a part of life that will always rear its head at the most inconvenient times, but it we do our best to fend it off when we can it won’t stand a chance at taking us down or lighting up that PsA in the ones we love.
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