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Redefining Success on Our Terms

As anyone living with axial spondyloarthritis (AxSpa) knows, one of the critical aspects of navigating AxSpa is redefining what success means after diagnosis. The sense of loss and frustration can impact everything from daily activities to long-term goals. Despite the obstacles, embracing change and redefining success on our terms is vital.

Learning new skills

Let me share a personal example that highlights the power of redefining success. My therapist has played a crucial role in helping me shift my perspective. Instead of focusing solely on what I can no longer do, I get to focus on what I can do. For many years, I was focused primarily on “mastering” new skills, but therapy has helped me enjoy the process of “learning” new skills.

Like the crochet hobby I took up, my therapist encouraged me to find joy in learning. Crocheting has become a therapeutic outlet that allows me to redirect my focus from physical limitations to the satisfaction of acquiring a new skill. What I’ve truly learned to enjoy about crocheting is that it isn’t about creating perfect masterpieces. Although a part of me still does want to make my dog a sweater one of these days eventually. Instead, I’m more focused on enjoying the journey of improvement and self-discovery.

How to redefine success

This shift in mindset is a valuable tool for anyone facing the challenges of AxSpa. Whether learning a new skill or embracing change, here are a few steps to help redefine success on your terms.

1. Mindfulness and acceptance

As someone who has learned to embrace mindfulness techniques, they are essential for staying present and accepting the current state of my health. While acceptance doesn’t mean I’m necessarily “happy” about it, I can say that doing so can foster gratitude for the abilities we still possess.

2. Setting realistic goals

Setting realistic goals would have been limiting many years ago, but I no longer subscribe to that belief system. Instead, establishing achievable goals motivates me to appreciate my current abilities. Breaking larger objectives into smaller, manageable tasks has helped me ensure that I feel a sense of accomplishment without overwhelming myself.

3. Building a support system

As someone who embraced doing this on my own for years, building a support system is not easy. However, I’ve learned that surrounding yourself with a supportive network of friends, family, and healthcare professionals helps you feel less overwhelmed. Not only does having that network give you a group of people who understand your journey, but it also fosters an understanding environment of people you can visit when times get tough.

4. Educate yourself

The phrase knowledge is power may feel overstated, but I genuinely believe it’s a game-changer. Whether you realize it or not, research is being done daily that gets us closer to understanding more about various conditions that impact people daily. Learning more about AxSpa, its treatments, and lifestyle adjustments allows you to make better decisions for your health and well-being.

5. Holistic self-care

Even though self-care has become synonymous with spa days and bubble baths, the reality is that it’s way more than that. Self-care is about catering to our physical and emotional needs, which is not always easy. The best advice I’ve ever been given in this area is to focus on one thing that will move the need. A little will go a long way, from proper nutrition to joyful activities.

In the journey of managing AxSpa, redefining success is a powerful tool for empowerment. By redefining success, individuals can find joy and fulfillment in their unique journey. Remember, success is not a destination but a continuous process of growth and self-discovery. As you navigate the path of AxSpa, may you find strength, resilience, and a renewed sense of purpose.

Is there a step I missed above? Feel free to share it with us below!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AxialSpondyloarthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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