Time for a FRESH Life Story
After formally diagnosed with RA (rheumatoid arthritis), then fully absorbing the initial shock ready to move in a positive direction, I was ready for a FRESH life story!
I had accepted RA has no cure, but I promised myself I would do all I could to live my life as full as possible. That is where my FRESH Life Story began. It is a process, a few steps forward, one step back! I shared in my previous post how I need to regroup from time to time. I need to reorient myself to healthy habits when I wander off the right path. That is where the acronym FRESH comes in. FRESH is my tool to quickly recall the five elements of an anti-inflammatory lifestyle, in other words, tips for the autoimmune lifestyle.
I’d love to share each element:
- F is for Food
- R is for Relaxation
- E is for Exercise
- S is for Sleep
- H is for Hydration
By changing my diet, reducing stress, keeping my body moving, good sleep habits and staying hydrated, I’ve been able to manage my RA quite well. This is in addition to my medication, of course. I can feel the disease sensations every day but have been able to keep the pain and swelling under control for quite awhile. I work very hard at listening to my body and implementing my FRESH concepts. I am convinced paying attention to what my body is telling me is affording me a quality of life I can live with. It isn’t what I imagined it would be without RA, but it is a life with an added dimension.
Here is my FRESH plan:
- Food: There are many renditions of the anti-inflammatory diet but for simplicity, I limit processed food, added sugar and salt. I read labels and stay away from multi-syllable-chemical-sounding ingredients.
- Relaxation: I analyzed my schedule to eliminate as much stress as possible. I also purpose down time to rest, relax and do meditation.
- Exercise: I do a 50-minute pilates session each week and I walk our dog almost daily. The walk is usually 2 miles.
- Sleep: I aim for 8 hours per night. I have a routine so my body starts to get ready for bedtime about an hour before I go there. I do not have caffeine after 2 pm and try not to eat after 6:30 or 7 at night. I don’t engage in anything “exciting” in the evening because that is time to calm down. In the pharmacy world, we call that good sleep hygiene.
- Hydration: The rule of thumb is to take your body weight in pounds, divide that number into two giving you the amount of water in ounces to ingest each day.
When I start feeling fatigue or sensations in my joints, I refer to my FRESH acronym. It’s a quick rundown of the 5 areas I’ve focused my lifestyle changes on with great success.
Quality of life. We all define it differently. We are unique, so an individual approach is necessary. I may choose to skip a walk if it means connecting with a friend. I look at it as an immune booster to have happy-heart moments! I’m getting to know my body more and more all the time.
The autoimmune lifestyle is a work in progress. It is a process! When you realize you haven’t been making the best FRESH choices, by listening to your body you know it’s time to get back to your personal anti-inflammatory diet, stress redux, exercise, good sleep habits and staying hydrated. By doing so, you are writing your FRESH life story going forward! And that is using Arthritis Wisdom!
I hope this easy acronym helps you recall the five tips for autoimmune living. As I started feeling better, I was more inspired to continue learning additional ways to improve my health, therefore making me feel even better.
My desire is for all of us to mitigate the devastation these autoimmune diseases can bring on. Because we are all in this together, I’d love to hear what you have learned helps you feel better. Please share in the comment field below!
I am thankful and grateful to you, my dear friends at Arthritis Wisdom sharing this journey together. It would be very lonely without you! That is a bit of stress redux right there! Thanks!
Cathy of FRESH Life Story! Xoxo