Sadly, stress is a part of life. It’s ok in small bouts as this is what gives us that get-up-and-go, attitude. But prolonged bouts of stress can actually worsen your arthritis symptoms.
When we stress out, our bodies react by releasing chemicals that will help us face the challenge ahead. A bit like the fight or flight response. Our breathing speeds up, our heart rate increases and our muscles tense.
While this reaction is fine in the short term, it’s the long-term repetitiveness of it that can affect your arthritis. The increased tension in your muscles can intensify your arthritic pain.
Stress can also turn off your immune systems inflammatory response. Inflammation is actually what fuels joints damage, the longer you are stressed, the more destructive the inflammation can become.
Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom. Stress is a part of life and we all have our own stress busters. Just in case yours aren’t enough, we have a great list of stress management tips below.
5 Great Stress Management Tips
Massage isn’t for everyone. But For those who enjoy it, it can be both relaxing and therapeutic. It can help you ease anxiety, pain and stiffness. If you are at all unsure, you can always talk to your masseuse, they will know what is best to help you. It’s always important to let them know if you suffer from arthritis, joint pain and inflammation so they can adjust their plan accordingly.
The Simple Things
Sometimes, it’s the simple things that can centre us and bring us back to ourselves after a stressful period. Whether its watching funny clips, finishing the crossword puzzle, a stroll through the woods or baking up a storm. It’s ok to let yourself enjoy the things that bring you back to you.
Try to take some time for you to do what ever it is that brings you joy and peace.
Talk to Someone
A problem shared is a problem halved.
Whether you choose to talk it out with a friend, family member or a professional. Talking through your troubles with someone is a great way to get it off your chest. Talking about it can even help you towards a resolution.
It can be hard sometimes to ask for a helping hand, so why not do the most Irish thing we all know and love. Invite them over and pop the kettle on. Conversation always flows over a cuppa.
There’s nothing like exercise to help you battle it out. For me, if I’m stressed out and frustrated, an intense walk usually helps. I may cry, I may even come back breathless but it all helps me to de-stress.
Exercising can help boost your mood, as it releases the feel good chemical inside your brain. It also has some great benefits for those living with arthritis. Exercise can strengthen your joint supporting muscles and it helps with weight management. This can all take the pressure off of your joints and relieve any pain and inflammation.
I won’t lie, when I’m stressed out, I don’t make the best choices when it comes to food. It’s chocolate cake over the crunchy salad for me every time. The sad part is, that high from the cake is only temporary. It will be tough, but training yourself to opt for a nutritious anti-inflammatory food such as nuts, fruits and fish will help with the arthritis and relieve the pain.