*FRESH* has become my compass navigating all the stress I’ve lived under the past few months. Taking care of my mother meant constant worry, difficulty sleeping and an overactive mind. Ironically, I spent the majority of the day obsessing about what mom could and would eat, then realized at the end of some days I did not eat anything myself that day. I felt like the guy in the above photo walking through the day as life and circumstances were zooming by me from every direction. I depended on the healthy default habits I’ve come to live by since creating my *FRESH* acronym to help manage my rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
I was pretty sure that my eating habits, mindful relaxation, exercise, good sleep hygiene and proper hydration, the 5 elements represented by *FRESH* had significantly augmented my biologic to keep my RA in check, but it was seriously tested this summer. With all that transpired caring for mother, I utilized my acronym daily to give my body the best chance to avoid an arthritic flare. So far, so good as the stress continues while we settle her estate.
What I appreciated most about *FRESH* was how easy it was to quickly refer to the 5 elements to stay on a healthy path while life was chaotic and scary.
My brother planted a beautiful garden in mom’s backyard, so the fresh vegetables were helpful to make wonderful salads. We did not have sweets or snacks around, so preparing healthy meals was just what we did. F for healthy food was covered.
I kept mindful of meditating when I could feel the pressure of stress overwhelming me. I simply couldn’t have a flare when I was responsible for caring for mom. I didn’t make any other commitments and walked daily to keep moving. R for relaxation was covered.
I went to my pilates session when I could and like I said, I’d walk to keep moving. E for exercise was covered as much as it could be.
I would not have any problem getting to sleep because I was so tired by the end of the day. I would have a problem waking up in the middle of the night and then thoughts of reality would flood my mind. Again, I would meditate in order to get back to sleep. Some nights I would just be satisfied with the rest I was getting when I couldn’t get back to sleep. I did my best to cover the S for sleep. Some nights were better than others.
We kept the refrigerator stocked with bottles of water. We didn’t stock any soda. Staying hydrated was so important. H for hydration was covered.
I’ve become even more disciplined with *FRESH* as my compass because of the success I experienced during my difficult time. There is nothing like feeling good with no joint pain or fatigue to stay motivated and disciplined. Life gets crazy and stressful, so healthy habits are essential to help the body deal with it.
And that is using Arthritis Wisdom.
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