Winter Wonders in Spite of My PsA
Winter can be a very challenging time for those of us who experience psoriatic arthritis. Winter is often a trigger, the change of seasons, the change in weather, and the actual cold can all play a role. Winter is a big trigger for my psoriatic arthritis. My pain levels are much higher than during other times of the year. I find going about my daily tasks to be a laborious task at best, some days I simply can not and I stay in bed.
This can have a massive impact on one's mental health and for many years it would mean that winter would see me hitting a pretty heavy depression. Last year I started a new way of approaching winter and this will continue into this year.
A changed mindset has by far been the best and most impactful change that I have made. By focussing on guided meditations, gratitude journals, and making a conscious choice to work on my mental health. I also make sure to take what I call my "silly mental health walks" I make sure to attend therapy when I need it and sometimes even when I think I don't. This helps me stay on track with my mental health. My therapist gives me tasks to go home and do as well. Being held accountable to someone makes a big difference.
Winter is snuggle time. It is cold and rest is something that I need to get a lot more of. I used to feel madly guilty about this and feel bad that I was not able to keep up with social engagements and so on. What I have learned in the process is that I invite people to my home for social engagements at home, bring snacks and a blanket and we will watch movies; lie and read our books, or just hang out on the couch. Honestly, I have got some of the best people in my life and almost all my friends are down for this. It means that I can rest and hang out with my friends without running my health into the ground. This way I do not isolate myself from my loved ones and they find a way to be there for me and help me, in ways that they would not usually be able to.
Every single day, I make a point in a journal to note down things that I am grateful for. This helps my mind focus on the positive things and the beautiful things in life. It can be the smell of coffee or the sound of the rain pattering on the roof. The feelings of my warm blankets around my body, the warm sunshine on my face in the cold winter air. Some days the most beautiful things that I can see are my fluffy ginger curled up next to me, and my beautiful mug that holds my hot chocolate. Other days I can get out and be about and it's the scenery around me, the winter trees, and the beautiful markets with their Christmas lights.
How can we make winter easier with psoriatic arthritis?
Winter can be hard and I know that for many of us, it is not easy. Just know that, as the seasons pass, this too will pass. Do try to find ways to see the beauty in every day anyway, and look after your mental health along the way. Be kind to yourself and treat yourself the way you would look after your own friends. Give the chance winter can bring a time of rest and hibernation and healing.
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