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After you’ve been just diagnosed with arthritis, it will take some time before you fully adjust to the challenges that the condition present. There will be days where it feels like everything will be OK. But there will also be days when the pain will be excruciating, your disability stares you right in the face.

It’s because of this that on those good days, people tend to overcompensate. Maybe you want to prove to yourself that you can still maintain your independence. Or it could be because you want to make sure you can still enjoy the things you used to before you go diagnosed.

The point is, there are certain lifestyle changes that you have to make post diagnosis. Here are some that you have take note of—

1. Never saying no

Given what you’re going through, you have to set more reasonable boundaries for what you think you’re physically capable of. Saying no because you’re exhausted after staying up all night because of the pain is OK. If you’re not able to keep up with your friends and family’s usual activities because of stiff joints, that’s OK too.

2. Multitasking

Multitasking is a great skill to have, but when you’re dealing with a condition that can be debilitating, it’s important that you focus on the present and take it one step at a time.

3. Shutting down in the face of challenge

It’s easy to isolate yourself when faced with the realities of your condition. Because of the excruciating pain you have to face, it’s easy to shut everyone out. But try to streamline your schedule and make time to see friends and family. And be sure to be open about what you can and cannot do given your condition.

4. Taking on too much

On the opposite side of the spectrum are those who do too much. Don’t beat yourself up for being unable to do all the things that you used to.  You have to let go at some point and realize that you have to be more reasonable about what your body is capable of.

You also have to remember that arthritis doesn’t just affect you in the physical sense. Your mental and emotional state is also affected, and taking on too much can ultimately become overwhelming.  Admitting that you need help—whether by using tools and aids to ease the pain on your joints, seeking out emotional support from loved ones, or consulting a professional to help manage the mental toll the condition takes on you is perfectly OK.

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone in this. Even when it seems like no one else will understand what you’re going through, know that there’s a community just waiting to hear your story and lend a hand. Join our Facebook group and join our growing community of patients, caregivers, friends, family and loved ones who are bound together by their goal of learning, understanding, and managing arthritis.  

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