"These little changes have already added up to a bigger change in how I'm feeling about my life."

Sharon sat in her conservatory sewing a jacket.

A bit about me

My role at Versus Arthritis is to support and manage our online community which is a safe place for people with arthritis to share their ideas, worries, and ask questions. I work with a volunteer team of truly amazing moderators who all have arthritis, as I do. 

We understand what it’s like to live with the condition. And we’re truly passionate about supporting and providing information to other people with arthritis. Read more about why it's good to talk.

Daily gratitude and 52 small things

I wanted to share my experience about collecting a list of daily gratitude’s, as research shows that changing focus and looking for things to be grateful for can support mental health.

I was encouraged to start this after reading about The Mighty’s programme called ’52 small things’. This is aimed at encouraging people to make little changes each week.

If you don’t know about The Mighty, it’s a digital health community created to empower and connect people facing health challenges and disabilities. They have over 2 million users and like our online community, it’s a space for people who live with health and disability.

The idea of 52 small things really appealed to me as living with arthritis and making changes can be daunting sometimes, you can end up not doing certain things.

Little changes can make all the difference

I am not one for New Year's resolutions and so making small changes felt much more manageable. I can’t say that I've stuck to it every week. And I haven’t necessarily followed the suggestions made on the website for each week. What I've done though, is used it to remind me to make just a small change that I can manage.

So far, I’ve reinstated my regular meditation sessions at a time that suits me, rather than fitting around everyone else.

I’ve finally found an exercise machine that I can use and so I've bought it and started a little bit of daily exercise. I'm making sure I take time out just for me to wander and enjoy the scenery. This has given me plenty of inspiration for daily gratitude's for my list. I’ve spent more time with my family and aimed to ask for help when I need it.

It's wonderful that lots of the suggestions on the website are focused on self-management aspects of life and mental health.

These changes might appear minor, but when your arthritis is flaring, as mine seems to be presently, just getting through the day can be daunting.

Caring for yourself is important

The biggest change for me - is I feel more positive, as I'm making these changes. The size is irrelevant, it’s the changes that matter.

These little changes have already added up to a bigger change in how I'm feeling about my life as a whole. I'll continue to commit to these changes, even if I miss some weeks. It just feels like a proactive way of managing my life with arthritis now and in the future.

I would certainly recommend #52 small things to everyone as it’s always good for us to reflect and take time for ourselves. These little tokens of caring for yourself are often the easiest to set aside for another day. But even doing a few of them will make a difference.

We are here to help

At Versus Arthritis we have a variety of options available for support and information. Take a look and choose what’s best for you.