Maintaining Hobbies With Psoriatic Arthritis
Last updated: March 2023
Wouldn't you agree that life changes after a psoriatic arthritis diagnosis? I mean, of course, it does! Even before an official diagnosis, we've had to give up so many things we loved doing - things that made us happy.
Isn't it terrible that we have to live with an incurable condition and on top of it, we have to surrender our favorite activities because of it?
Do I really have to say goodbye to the things I love to do when living with psoriatic arthritis?
Life wasn't promised to be fair, and we've learned that the hard way. I was fond of dancing, running, and hiking. These were activities I loved to do! When my psoriatic arthritis progressed, my dance moves stiffened and hurt.
My running was becoming painful, and my hiking trips ended with body aches and swollen joints. Well, as determined as I am, I had to do something about this.
Psoriatic arthritis has already taken away so much. I couldn't just give up on hobbies that made me smile. I decided to read further into the habits of people living with chronic pain. After a good, detailed reading, I found one solution only.
Balance and boundaries, my friends.
We can still do those activities and hobbies we love, just with the right balance. We don't need to push ourselves but listen to our bodies, pay attention to our limitations and be realistic about what we can and can't do.
Personally, I experimented with time durations. I gave myself time blocks and adapted moves to enjoy small bursts of dancing, running, or hiking. This approach used less of my energy and was in fact, less tedious.
Using hiking as one example, I gave myself 20 minutes. I had to find my body's tolerance. There it was. After 25 minutes, my back and knees began to ache. I stopped.
Our hobbies are still that, ours.
I know my body's tolerance now. What a learning! I am in my 60's now, and I can enjoy a 15-minute hike. I look for small hiking trails. If the trail is long, I go for 10 minutes and take my time on the way back.
One thing which I have learned from my tests and trials is that I will never give up on what I love doing. If you are consistent enough, a solution will always present itself. Having a life-long condition is one thing but stopping or avoiding our hobbies entirely is not the solution.
10-15 minutes may not seem like a lot to some, but I am proud that I get to do what makes me happy while respecting my body's boundaries.
Adaptations and alternatives are possible with PsA
Stubbornness never helped anyone - certainly not us. Personally, physical activity helps keep my body muscles soft and in motion. I just have to do it for a lesser time, and it has come out fine. It does not have to be an exact science.
Find what works for you and go for it. We are all different with different pains. Don’t sit back and pass your life grieving. Come on out with me and see; the world is huge and full of magic.
This or That
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