How to Live Better with Psoriatic Arthritis
Lori-Ann Holbrook | Nov 30th 2015 Aug 3rd 2017
Often, the thought of making positive lifestyle changes with psoriatic arthritis seems like just something else to exhaust you. But making even little changes can be very positive and give you the boost you need to push ahead. Here are some small steps to start living better with your disease instead of suffering from it.
Personal electronic devices aren’t just for texting and social media. The calendar on your phone can be used to schedule good habits on an hourly basis. On the hour, you can read an affirmation such as, “My thinking is peaceful, calm and centered.” Scheduling these moments allows you to be mindful of yourself and your journey. You can also set health goals: How would you like to feel better, and what can you do to get there?
Your phone or computer can also be used to set reminders to get up and move during the work day. Take a brisk walk to coffee machine, or if you drive everywhere, park farther away and walk to the office or store.
Believe it or not, snacking helps keep up our metabolism and quell overindulgence at meal time. When grocery shopping, either shop online or create a list, which will help you to be mindful of your food choices and less likely to choose unhealthy snacks. Everyone’s body is different, so make good choices based on your needs. Some good options are nuts, seeds, fresh fruit, veggies and lean meats. Also look for organic foods labeled, “Non-GMO.”
Do you have leftover Halloween treats or sweets laying around at home? Take stock of your refrigerator, pantry and secret hiding places, and consider removing all unhealthy items. You will miss them, but they won’t miss you - so take this opportunity to break up with them for good! Make the commitment not to bring these snacks home with you, because once they’re in the house, you’re more likely to eat them.
One glass of red wine may be good for you now and then, but it should not take the place of water. One of my tricks for getting enough water is drinking two glasses in the morning while I get ready. This gives me a head start. With more water comes more trips to the bathroom. Make sure not to forget hand washing–you want to prevent the spread of germs that can aggravate your immune system.
Did you know most of our immune system is located in our gut? Taming inflammation there can help calm inflammation throughout your body. Start thinking of food as medicine. Consider an elimination diet to learn which foods disagree with you. Avoiding these foods will go a long way in reducing inflammation in the body. Who doesn’t want to feel better?
How many hours of sleep did you get last night? Did you know sleep hygiene is the key to good health? If you’re not getting ample sleep of good quality, it can have a terrible effect on your mental acuity, and your ability to manage stress and eating habits. For good sleep hygiene, go to bed at a consistent time, avoid electronics at bedtime, as well as stimulants like caffeine. Pick comfy pajamas, and sleep in as dark a room as possible.
Studies show smiling can lift our spirits, even when we don’t feel like smiling. Go ahead, practice! Take it one step further and smile at others, and people you meet. Take note of the responses you recieve. You’ll notice you’re not just brightening your day, but their day as well. And when they smile back, you’ll begin to feel even better.
Be kind and gentle with yourself. Changes are hard to make, and everyone trips up at some time or another. Be sure to plan some time for yourself, since self-care is really important. And with an autoimmune disease such as psoriatic arthritis, self-care is essential. Enjoy it!