Ask me how I take care of myself and my first answer will be to get alone with God. I need that quiet time every day or I just don’t handle my stress very well. And for someone working in the creative field, with daily deadline pressures, a chronic illness (or two), and a pre-teen daughter, I need to be able to handle stress!

Living with RA means I have to care for my mind, body, and spirit.

That said since I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) a few years ago, I’ve learned there is a lot more to taking care of myself than just quiet time, and I have to credit my Pack Health coach Tamara for helping me define exactly what that looks like.

Being able to successfully live with RA means I have to take care of my mind, body, and spirit in order to feel my best. My spiritual life may be central to who I am, but I have other needs as well, which have to be a priority.

Move it or lose it.

I make my living as a writer, which means I can easily sit down on the couch or in my office early in the morning, and only get up for meals. That does not help my RA one bit! Taking frequent breaks to move my body is critical. Taking daily walks for just 20 or 30 minutes has helped me stave off flares, and stretching a few times a day keeps stiffness from setting in.

You are what you eat and drink.

As a certified foodie, the idea of changing my eating habits was the last thing I wanted to hear, and yet I hate to admit it –has worked to make me feel better! Drinking more water, cutting back on coffee and soft drinks, and eating more fresh fruits and vegetables has made a difference. Reducing my sugar and red meat consumption has also helped in reducing inflammation. I’m not a drinker myself, but studies have shown that cutting down or eliminating alcohol consumption may also help moderate disease activity, and may be necessary if you’re taking certain medications.

Get connected.

While quiet time is important to me, it’s just as important to connect with others. I am fortunate to have a supportive family, but even with that, getting involved in a community of other patients helps you realize you’re not alone in what you’re going through. And my Pack Health coach is just a phone call away if I need advice.


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