“Having a routine is what keeps me going.”25 January 2021
Lots of us have felt worried during the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of people with arthritis have been shielding, lockdown restrictions have been changing and most of us are still adapting to find some routine.
There are small things which can make a big difference to help you look after your physical and mental wellbeing.
Our top four include:
- keeping connected with friends and family. This could be a ‘how are you’ phone call, writing a letter or sharing a GIF on WhatsApp.
- manage your stress levels. Exercise, meditation or finding others to talk to can help. If you would like to talk to someone, you can join our online community or call our free helpline on 0800 5200 520.
- enjoy the simple things which make you happy. This might be sitting down with a cuppa, watching your favourite film, 20 minutes of yoga or a soak in the bath.
- be kind to yourself - maybe not everything will get done in a day – that’s ok.
Here Donna, Rebecca and Porscha share their experiences of living with arthritis, how COVID-19 has had an impact on their lives and their advice to others.
“Having a routine is what keeps me going.”
Donna Roberts is 51 and has psoriatic arthritis. Here she tells us what’s helped her during lockdown and shares her tips for others.
I was shielding and working from home, this was very difficult mentally, as I find being amongst people very helpful in keeping my mind active, as well as my body.
I’ve been trying to look after myself as much as I can, 've been taking vitamin d. I go to a store near me and always ask the staff for suggestions, they've never sent me on the wrong path.
I try to eat as nutritiously as possible - I'm not averse to ordering pizza delivery but it's not a regular thing. I walk between 2.5-4 miles a day. It's so important to keep moving when you have a joint disease.
My pain has been very high, despite the pain relief prescribed by my GP, I find it doesn't keep the pain away all day. I will never be used to this, I hate it, but having a routine is what keeps me going.
I have to get up to feed my four rescue cats and I do this every day. They return the favour by being living pressure blankets and their purrs are healing too.
So, in summary:
- have a daily plan.
- do one or two things off your to do list every day
- keep in contact with friends and family
- I hope that we will emerge a kinder, more patient and friendlier bunch than before.
“Listening to music has helped me.”
Rebecca Hart, 37, was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis at the age of 3. Here’s some things which have helped her and might help others living with arthritis.
I’ve been trying to stay fit physically by using my adapted exercise bike and equipment like dumbbells and stretch bands for 20 minutes around 3 times a week.
Having herbal tea once a day has become a routine, turmeric is great for joint pain and helps strengthen the immune system.
Listening to music has helped me, as it naturally lifts my spirits.
I’ve been trying to listen to news in the morning rather than in evening, so I don’t feel stressed at bedtime.
It can be concerning not seeing my usual consultants face to face. To help myself, I’ve been keeping a list for my telephone appointments to keep track of how I've been feeling and to see if there’s any patterns.
“Exercise helps me a lot. Without it my body is a lot stiffer.”
The first lockdown was hard, it was scary. The rules were up and down, the do’s and don’ts were unclear and this caused a lot of anxiety.
I am currently working from home, and have been since March 15th to be precise. At first, I felt really alone and now I find this has been really helpful for me.
There’s less pressure to get up and get dressed for work if I am feeling sore and my employers have been really supportive in the transition to working at home.
This is now a permanent position for me, I understand for some this can be isolating, but for me, it works really well.
For me, the biggest positive of this time are the minimal sickness days I’ve had during the last 10 months.
I get to spend more time with my partner, who unfortunately lost her job due to this, but we spend more time together now.
I’ve been able to manage my condition from home, as I am in the comfort on my own home with all my remedies - hot water bottles, comfy seats, etc.
I make sure that I go for a short walk every day after work if I am not sore or fatigued. Exercise helps me a lot. Without this it, my body is a lot stiffer and harder to shift in the morning.
I’ve been in touch with friends every day since this pandemic started, which is more than I ever did before. It’s really helped bring us closer together.
My other tips and advice to others with arthritis would be:
- limit the time spent on watching/reading the news. This only adds to the pressures we are all already feeling.
- if you are working from home, take down time during the day and find a way that works for you to ensure you switch off after work hours.
- keep moving! Whether that be to the kitchen for another cuppa tea or a walk around the block, just keep moving.
- Sleep plays a big part in your wellbeing, take that down time if you need it.
We’re here for you
If you’re feeling isolated from family and friends during these uncertain times, we’re here for you.
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