A woman is featured on a calendar completing chores, self-care tasks, take-out, resting, food prepping as she plans ahead for energy levels

Becoming a PsA Flare Prepper

Every time I think of preparing for PsA flares, a catchy jingle from my childhood comes to mind. In the 70s, Dr. Pepper had a catchy commercial called "I'm a pepper." The actor begins by singing that he's proud to be a part of an original crowd and that if you look around, there seems to be a Dr. Pepper craze. Then he sings, 'I'm a pepper, he's a pepper, she's pepper, wouldn't you like to be a pepper, too?"

Fifty years later, I still hum that tune. The only difference is that instead of pepper, I sing "I am a PsA prepper!"

Being prepared for psoriatic arthritis flares

We prepare for so much in life—births, surgeries, home buying, etc. So why did I resist prepping for PsA flares? Although I hoped and prayed that each severe flare would be my last, the truth was, it wasn't.

By not preparing for the time that PsA would make it impossible for me to keep up with the simplest of tasks, I was increasing my pain and making myself and everyone around me miserable.

Why I Became a PsA Prepper

About ten years after my PsA diagnosis (yes, I was a late bloomer), I not only accepted that this wretched autoimmune disease would forever be a part of my life, but I also realized that there was quite a bit I could do to lessen the stress flares create. Tired of feeling like I had the rug pulled out from under me and having control over nothing, I aimed to take control of the areas I could.

While I knew I wouldn't be able to prevent a flare or decrease its duration, there were some things that I could do to make those moments easier on not just myself but my husband and children as well.

Practical Prepping Tips

Things like having smoothies and other frozen meals on hand for flares that make cooking difficult. As for flares that make it extremely difficult to get out of bed, I keep money aside to have pizza or something else that can be easily reheated and delivered.

Another way I prep for PsA flares is by purchasing what I will need before I need it. That means not allowing myself to run out of my favorite topical pain reliever and having medication for breakthrough pain on hand.

Prepping for PsA flares also includes knowing what I need and where I will need it. There are items that I use every morning. Those are kept on my bedside table, easy to find and reach.

By storing other items like a heating pad, hot water bottle, and leg massager nearby, I am more apt to use them when needed. To be honest, there are times when my pain is so bad that just the thought of having to search for something makes it worse.

Ensuring my tech items are fully charged is also essential when preparing for PsA flares. My pain relief devices, such as my TENS unit, red light therapy wand, and PEMF device, aren't going to help much if they aren't charged. Let's not forget the importance of always having an icepack in the freezer ready to use at a moment's notice.

Being a PsA prepper reduces the stress my husband would experience whenever a heavy fatigue flare would hit me. Brain fog is awful, and there were times when bills would go unpaid, and we would not be aware of it until something was turned off.

By having my husband pay the bills that we couldn't set up with auto-pay, neither of us has to worry about what was or wasn't paid.

Taking Control

Someone once said to me that by preparing for flares, I was giving control to the disease because I expected it to knock me down. My response was that they were wrong. That instead of relinquishing control, I was taking the reins!

Flares are going to happen. The frequency and severity of the flares will differ, but they will still occur.

Preparing for them decreases my emotional and physical stress. Being a PsA prepper also reduces the amount of stress my flares inflict upon my family. Prepping keeps our lives moving even when I am not.

These are just a few things that helped me become a PsA prepper. How you prep may look different.

What's important is that no matter how you prep, it makes your psoriatic arthritis flare life easier, not harder.

Share your PsA flare prep tips to help others become PsA preppers, too!

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Psoriatic-Arthritis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.