6 Steps For Self-Care Success
Last updated: March 2023
Authentic self-care is grounded in the actions required to align our needs, desires, and commitments with our actions. It’s a deep process, especially when we aren’t used to spending so much time and energy on this sort of thing.
It’s recognizable in the choices we make around diet, sleep and rest, exercise, screen time, medical appointments, hobbies, and the relationships we choose to participate in.
Treat access as a privilege
We live in a time of unrivaled access and connection where any rando can grace us with their inspired musings, cat pictures (yes, please), or nonsense. This is all brand new. So new that we aren’t necessarily clear about how to handle it. A default setting of access and connection isn’t a good idea. This goes for close relatives, bosses, and peers. Take it slow getting to know people and keep an eye on their energy.
Live your purpose
We all have some things that we’re meant to do and be in the world. I say things intentionally, as arthritis and other health concerns might interfere with certain career aspirations.
The small artists group I joined in 2021 is still going strong! My work continues to develop through our weekly meetings. Living out this commitment to my purpose gives me something to look forward to and helps how I think and feel about myself and my future.
Keep an eye on the facts
Sometimes the days with arthritis can all bleed together, with the things we want and need to do getting all melty and undefined. This makes it hard to take action, no matter how much we want to.
Could planners or journaling make a difference?
Maybe. Many folks find planners and journaling helpful tools to stay present with how their time, money, energy, and attention are spent. I use my Minimalist Bullet Journal to track work, homemaking, health advocacy, and hobbies.
Accepting your diagnosis and the ways that it shapes your life matters. We’re culturally programmed to see this as defeat, weakness, and failure, but it’s 100% strength. Acceptance is truth. And there’s no progress in our lives without the facts.
Keeping up won’t work
The mainstream side hustle and grind culture is bad for everybody, but it’s worse for arthritis patients dealing with a baseline of fatigue and other built in limitations.
Stay sophisticated about opinions
Everybody is wrong about something. Ideally, it’s a little thing like hating Detroit-style pizza. It’s a shame, and I hate to see it, but these folks are only hurting themselves.
Don’t get got
People have different understandings of the world based on identity, education, and experience. Some people don’t know anything about arthritis or what it does to patients and the people who love them. Even worse, some have more opinions than curiosity. Don’t pay attention to them.
Make a plan
Good self-care is the result of intentional choices about how we spend our lives. What’s your plan to take good care of yourself?
Have you ever had to take a leave of absence from work due to your symptoms?
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