4. Surround Yourself With Supportive People
Having a strong support network is important when you have any type of chronic illness. “It’s important to surround yourself with positive people who are willing to be supportive -- even if this means making some new friends,” says Grusd.
You may also consider joining a support group for people with lupus. “It’s important to get empathy and be around others who understand what you’re going through,” says Debra Borys, PhD, a clinical psychologist based in Los Angeles. “A support group can be a great way to find this.” If getting out is too difficult, you can even find support groups online.
Seeing a therapist is another way to get support. “It can be really helpful to talk with a professional about your worries and concerns,” says Borys. “A therapist can also help you improve your relationships with family and friends.”
5. Take One Day at a Time
It can be overwhelming to worry about all the things you need to do. Instead, try to focus on one day at a time. It may help to break up the day into small, manageable pieces. “Every morning, I usually prioritize a few things to get done that day,” says Utterback. “And if I can’t get through everything on my list, I don’t get upset with myself. I just tell myself that I’ll get to it eventually.”
6. Watch Your Mood Closely
It may be helpful to create an internal barometer of how you’re feeling, using the numbers 1 through 10. “If you notice you’re starting to head down the scale, don’t wait until you’re at a 3 or 4 to do something about it,” says Grusd. “Instead, try to notice small changes right away and do something to pick yourself up if you start slipping a little bit.”
7. Keep a List of Ways to Feel Better
Create a list of things that make you feel good. Some examples may include taking a bubble bath, calling a friend, watching a show or movie that you enjoy, reading, taking a short walk, sitting in your garden, or petting your dog. Keep this list handy and do one of these things if you start to feel down. “Keep in mind that the same activity may not always work, so if one thing doesn’t work, try another,” says Grusd.
8. Connect With Your Spirituality
If you are religious, this is a great time to reach out to your religious community for support. Depending on your beliefs, it may be helpful to go to your church or temple or simply pray on your own. If getting out is difficult, you can request a home visit from those in your congregation. Or simply ask them to pray for you. “Asking other people to pray for you can be very powerful,” says Grusd. “Even if they are people you don’t know.”