Setting Realistic Goals With Psoriatic Arthritis
Last updated: June 2023
Life is overwhelming. We're constantly overthinking the past and planning for the future. When you live with psoriatic arthritis, this type of approach to life amplifies. We're always worried about how our pain and symptoms may limit us. It forces us to be flexible, in the moment and self-sufficient.
Self-compassion should come before we set goals
Usually, when I wake up for the day, one of my first feelings I'm met with is confusion. Don't get me wrong, I know who I am and where I am, but I need to assess my energy and think about how I want to plan for the day.
I have to be selective on where I begin to spend my energy. I make a list of things that important, must do and can wait. Our energy is precious and living with psoriatic arthritis alone sure can drain it. Life often feels like too much at one time - my list helps manage that.
I think we could all benefit from self-compassion, self-kindness and stop being so darn hard on ourselves. I am unbelievably guilty of this. In the face of adjustments, I really need to be more forgiving to myself. I am always biting off more than I can handle. I can't do everything.
Our plates are literally too full!
You might be familiar with the spoon theory or even the fork theory, but have you heard of the paper plate technique? Maybe, maybe not. My mentor once handed me a paper plate and stated "Take this paper plate and write down everything you want to do today."
Once I filled it up, she took it from me and stated she was going to do everything written on my plate for me. She handed me a new clean plate to write anything I may want to change or add after the fact. I was met with instant guilt and felt like a burden. I began removing a variety of things instantly, anything that felt like way too much.
She made me explain why I took a few things off. It was then I realized, why wouldn't I make the same sacrifices for myself? My plate is literally too full - and if I didn't want to overwhelm her, why would I allow myself to be overwhelmed?
Setting realistic goals with psoriatic arthritis
Setting goals starts with being realistic - which is why I shared the paper plate technique above. I hope you take this exercise upon yourself. Meeting goals allow us to feel accomplished and proud. It's difficult to set and achieve goals when living with psoriatic arthritis, that's just the plain truth.
It's so important we set goals in our daily life - because we deserve that feeling of accomplishment. Self-worth is a challenge when struggling with a painful lifelong disease. Try looking at your day like a pitcher of water. Identify the necessary cups and began filling them with your water and take sips as necessary.
This approach allows you to set goals that are more achievable. Only you know what's important to prioritize. Try keeping that in mind when setting goals. Here are a few other things to keep in mind when setting goals.
Give yourself a break.
Plan a resting period (more than one) throughout your goal setting. It will help with your stress management and overall mental health. Knowing your limits will begin to come more naturally for you and you will find a comfortable niche.
I am not saying that there won't be days that you might not meet your whole gallon pitcher but you will have a plan!
Never feel guilty for boundaries
Boundaries can often feel like a buzzword anymore. What do they even mean? It means asking yourself questions like "Am I capable of saying yes to this? Do I want to say yes to this? How would I feel if I did this?" and if the answer is no - then it's up to you to hold that boundary.
We live in a society where anything that doesn't look like self-sacrifice, we're made to feel guilty for. We hold the key to change that.
Be kind to yourself.
As with the paper plate technique, you would be kind to someone else in your same circumstance. Try being to kind to yourself. It will be uncomfortable but you're already in discomfort! Set goals, give yourself rewards and find enjoyment in planning your days.
Cross items off your list if you have to. The act of knowing you completed something will give you peace, and a sense of pride, feelings you so very much deserve.
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