When you ease stress, it’s good for your whole body, including your psoriatic arthritis.
Sometimes everyday worries seem to make your symptoms worse. Or maybe it's your discomfort that gets to you.
You can take steps to relax. That may help with skin flare-ups and calm achy joints, morning stiffness, and swollen fingers and toes.
Start with these five strategies.
1. Get Moving
Exercise is a great way to offset the effects of stress on your mind and body.
You don't have to go to the gym. Just move any way you enjoy and that’s easy on your joints. You can ride a stationary bike while you watch TV, or take your dog on a brisk walk. Swimming or water aerobics are good options, too, if you have access to a pool.
Start slowly with any new exercise, especially if your joints are swollen or achy. If you’re not sure what activities are OK for you to do, ask your doctor.
2. Tune In
Take a break and listen to your favorite music. Or focus on your breath -- in, out… in, out -- for a few moments. Other thoughts are bound to come up -- your to-do list, a conversation you need to have later today. That’s OK. Just gently return your attention to your breath. Prayer, if it’s part of your tradition, is another great resource when you’re stressed.
Although none of these approaches will take the sources of your stress away, they’ll renew and refresh your mind and emotions, so you’re more ready to handle your challenges.
Don’t feel guilty when you take time for these things. It's a key part of your day and can help give you more energy to do the things you need (and want) to do.
3. Set Some Limits
You don't have to do everything! Take some time to think about what's important to you and learn how to say "no." Make sure you regularly get to do some things you enjoy, and you'll be in a much better mood. Plus, you’ll save your energy for what really matters.
For instance, if you’re sore or tired, you don't have to make homemade cookies for the school bake sale. Buy some instead. Then use that extra time to spend the evening doing something that you want to do.