What would cause me to need stress relief using healthy coping tactics? How about giving Arthritis Wisdom a new look! As in building a new website ground up! You may ask how that would be stressful, it sounds more like a lot of fun! Well, it is a fun thing to do, but it is a computer-technical-thing that is completely out of my comfort zone. I’m very excited Arthritis Wisdom will be able to serve my friends (that means YOU) better, but I am “flying in the fog” until I get used to the changes!
That is where the stress relief using healthy coping tactics comes in handy! A little bit of stress is good. That is what gets me going. But, when it reaches a certain point’’, it’s not good. That point is reached a whole lot sooner since my RA (rheumatoid arthritis) diagnosis five years ago! When my muscles got tense, I knew it was time for stress relief using healthy coping tactics. Here are the six I employed this week, and it worked!
I know there are formal, specific breathing techniques taught by professionals, but I simply breathed deeply while sitting up straight. As I breathed deeply, I imagined all the cells in my body getting oxygenated. Doing this afforded me a bit of relaxation in addition to oxygenating my body. That’s a good thing!
Next, I took 10 minutes to calm my thoughts. I did some “self-talk”. I told myself to go ahead and take the time to get familiar with the new set-up. I gave myself permission to not be pressured to know everything right away. Sounds a bit crazy, but it did help to put the task in perspective. This was a great time to read something inspirational and let my conscience guide me with priorities and perspective.
I also utilized the “get up and stretch” or I would grab Gipper’s leash and we would take a walk. It not only relaxed those tense muscles, but helped organize my thoughts. Just stepping away from the project for a short time actually made me more productive and relaxed. I came back refreshed and recharged.
Avoid Sugary or Processed Snacks
I reminded myself of the anti-inflammatory diet that has helped me so much. That meant avoiding cravings for sugary treats, chips and other processed foods that make me feel lousy and cause my joints to scream. I also kept water at my side. What I eat is so instrumental in how well I feel. If I feel well, I get more done.
Practice Good Posture
I would remind myself to sit up straight. When I get too intense, my muscles get tight and I tend to bend forward. By practicing good posture, that helps to keep my back and neck muscles from tightening up. When I walk, I was instructed by my physical therapist to imagine I’m holding an egg between my shoulder blades. It has helped me with my posture!
Stop Negative Thinking
When I caught myself getting overwhelmed with discouragement and negative thoughts, I would think of what was going right. It helped to bring some perspective to light.
I hope these tips for stress relief using healthy coping tactics come in handy for you when you reach the point that stress is no longer a good motivator, but a bad thing. I’d love to hear of tips you have to relieve stress. Our bodies do not need stress on top of dealing with RA!
photo: Mary Kennedy for Arthritis Wisdom