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We’re a few days shy of 2019—which means it’s time for New Year resolutions.

For arthritis sufferers, this is a great time to take stock of how far you’ve come in terms of learning how to manage your illness better. It’s also the perfect opportunity to start making healthy lifestyle changes that can help make living with arthritis easier.

Get the ball rolling towards a healthier, (hopefully) pain-free 2019 with the following New Year resolutions:

1. Make a conscious effort to improve your diet

Your diet plays a critical role in how well you’re able to manage your arthritis. Certain foods make your more prone to inflammation and flare ups; while others help keep symptoms at bay. In addition, maintaining an ideal body weight can help minimize the pressure on your joints and greatly reduce arthritis pain.

Start simple. Add more fruits and vegetables in your diet whenever possible and cut back on fatty meats and junk food. For more information, check out this quick video below.

2. Get moving and start exercising

A lot of arthritis sufferers tend to balk at this suggestion. Understandably, when your joints are stiff and painful, the last thing you want is to move around and exacerbate your symptoms. However, exercise is critical to maintaining healthy joints, even if you do already exhibit symptoms of arthritis.

Keep in mind as well that exercising doesn’t mean you have to train heavily. Walking, even for just a few minutes a day, is a great way to strengthen the supporting tissues of your affected joints. Gentle stretching, cycling, and swimming are also great alternatives to traditional exercises that don’t add more stress on your joints.

3. Remember that there’s nothing wrong about asking for help when you need it

It takes time to adjust to the idea that your illness may limit your independence. But keep reminding yourself that asking for help when you need it is not a sign of weakness; nor are you considered a burden if you do. In fact, it’s likely that friends and family will appreciate you opening up to them about your condition.

Arthritis is a condition that’s very hard to articulate to someone who doesn’t have it—which is why a lot of sufferers tend to feel isolated and alone, often leading to depression. Opening up and asking for help is one of the simple ways to avoid this.

4. Try to get more sleep

We know—this is one of the more ironic parts of living with arthritis. You’re tired all the time because your arthritis prevents you from sleeping, yet sleep is critical to minimizing your symptoms.

While this is a challenging reality that all arthritis sufferers have to deal with, this year, make sure that you do what you can get more rest despite your illness. Assign a regular bed time and make sure you tuck yourself in bed at the same time every day. Make sure your bed is a haven for rest and relaxation—don’t keep your gadgets such as your laptop of smartphone within arms reach so you don’t end up reaching for it late at night. Talk to your doctor if your sleepless nights could be caused by medication.

What about you? What New Year Resolutions that can help manage your arthritis better are on your list this year? Feel free to comment and share them below.

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