Archive for ‘Relationships’

July 4, 2019

#574 – Live Better with RA – Tip #9


Tip #9 – Learn to Listen to Your Body

What do you need? Rest? Better nutrition? A walk in the park? A good laugh? A heart-to-heart with a friend?

Identify and honour your needs. It’s an important aspect of self-care. Stress can hamper your ability to hear what your body is asking for. When you learn to quiet the cacophony that is stress, you are better able to listen to the quiet murmurings of your heart. If you fail to heed them, you might find that your body turns up the volume. You may experience more discontent, pain and negativity that detract from a life well-lived.

Tune in to your needs. They are often quite different from your wants. For example, I often reached for a sugar fix when I was feeling sluggish. I now know that I sugar-coated what I really needed, which was a nap, or at the least, a restorative time-out.

Get in the habit of tuning in to your heart and asking for what you need. Shhhh! It’s often a very quiet voice that speaks to you. Remember, it may be shy, especially if it is unused to being heard! 🙂

Read how my body “spoke” in a dramatic way in the Emergency Room.

Work to build a relationship with yourself. (Stress coaching can help sharpen this skill. Contact me for more information.)

More in This Series:

September 30, 2017

#540 – #RABlogWeek: Day 5 – Well Said!


Another year, another #RABlogWeek. While I haven’t been able to visit everyone, here are some words that resonated with me.


RADiabetes – Mental Health

Today I am 60 and I am noticing that I may not have 30 years to spend enduring things.  So with the help of Sheryl, therapy and age I have adopted a new mantra.  I do not have time to endure things.  If it is not fun I simply do not do it.  I can endure, but today I do it with a good laugh and sometimes a sigh.  It’s been long enough. I realize not everything is fun, but I look for the fun in everything.”


IPerCyst – 7 Tips to Boost Your Mental Health

While having doctors who listened really helped, I had to learn how to really focus on good mental health. Here are some of the ways I learned to practice good mental health.” (Check them out by clicking Nicole’s blog.)


Kat Elton True Health Blog – The Experience of Rheumatoid Arthritis: How Much to Say

It took years, but what I finally came to understand is this: RA is a lonely experience and it is okay to keep most of it to yourself with most of the people in your life, including loved ones. But it is vitally important that you have at least one person who you can share your full experience with.

For most of the people in my life I keep a “need to know” rule. I tell them about my pain if they will be affected by it in some way. Otherwise, I keep it to myself unless they ask me a direct question about it. I am honest when asked a direct question but I always choose my words carefully unless I am with someone who is safe. A safe person for me is someone who listens, and expresses support but doesn’t try to direct me or tell me how I’m feeling. I can tell if a person is safe by how I feel after I talk to them. If I feel worse, I need to scale back my level of openness about my suffering. If I feel better, I know the person is safe to open up to.”


Arthritis Wisdom – My Number One Household Hack

It seems as though it is always something.  For someone who works very hard to make my RA footprint as small as possible in my day-to-day life, it sure is on my mind often, more like always!  If it isn’t planning what’s for dinner keeping anti-inflammatory foods in mind it is assessing my schedule keeping over commitment and stress in mind.  The disease seems like a fulltime job at times!  My household hacks ease this footprint burden.

‘It is not the daily increase but daily decrease.  Hack away at the unessential.’        Bruce Lee.”


The Life and Adventures of Cateepoo – Tips and Tricks

I think it is my stubborn streak (or possibly stupidity) that prevents me from buying any gadgets that are intended to make life with RA easier. It is silly I know, but by refusing to accept them into my life, I somehow feel like I have taken a stand against RA. But, if I am honest, I have learned many tricks to work around my limitations.”


Phat50 Chick with RA – The best tips from those living with RA

Attitude.  I say attitude is everything.  I say Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you deal with it.  That’s the greatest lesson I learned from a decade of therapy.  It’s all on me.  I can face each day in misery or I can squeeze joy out of small things – like a beautiful sunset, or a phone call from the right person.  I have really learned to not sweat the small stuff.  I urge others with RA to understand that there is very little we can control, beyond our own reactions to what happens to us.  You can’t control everyone and everything around you, you can only control your response.”


The Old Lady in My Bones – Along for the Ride

I always thought RA was my journey but it became both of ours, and that was okay by him. Sometimes it’s a ride through a dark stormy night with no visibility – other times we hang our heads out the window and swallow the wind. Wherever the road takes us, it’s always an adventure, and I can’t wait to see where we travel next.”


The Dog and Duck – Partners

I argue that I am capable of doing something and he reminds me, sometimes gently, that I am not.  He does not want to see me sick or in pain and does his best to keep it that way. We all know that does not work all the time.”


The Seated View – My Best Friend

That’s when I started listening to my body, to what it had to say. I have memories of moments where I remember opening up and hearing it crying the way I wanted to cry, hearing  it tell me that it was trying, was doing its best and I realized that hating my body, blaming it and accusing it of betrayal meant hating myself. That is when I realized that my body and I are partners in this life, that we support each other, that there is no separation between me and it. We are a whole, a unit and together, we get up every morning and we get through the day. Some days are good and some days are less good, but when I go to bed, I try to remember gratitude towards this, my best friend.”


My Medical Musings – The End or the Start of a New Beginning

It may be the end of life as you know it now but it can be the start of a whole new fulfilling life. That process takes time, even years but don’t lose hope. Keep dreaming & thinking about what you can physically & mentally cope with and eventually you too will reinvent yourself.

The end will be the start of a new beginning!”


Pollyanna Penguin’s RA Blog

I’d say all my hints and tips from hints and tips day earlier in the week also apply to ‘managing’ ones hobbies, and I have to say when it comes to pacing yourself I kinda fail … well, with this many hobbies how the heck am I supposed to pace myself? I mean really … BUT I do try (with some gentle nagging from hubby) to stop doing whatever crafty thing (or painting thing or Spanish thing or natural history thing) is occupying my brain by about 9 pm each evening so that I have an hour to wind down before I go to sleep; and I do try really hard to pace myself at least by saying if I’m, for instance, going on a felting workshop one weekend, I won’t do a painting workshop the weekend before or after. (Epic fail on that this last month, but never mind – I had a ball on both weekend workshops!)”


Capture, Craft, and Cook – Hobbies #Redefining RA

I enjoy finding beauty in our everyday objects. Anything can become a beautiful image with the right lighting and angle. That’s how I like to view my life as well, there may be some ugly bumps and bruises, but look at it from a different angle or perspective, and suddenly it becomes beautiful again.”


Speaking of words, the last word goes to Rick Phillips of the RADiabetes blog. Join me in giving him a standing ovation for not only his hard work, but also for his caring, sharing and great sense of humour. Thank you, Rick!

September 27, 2017

#538 – #RABlogWeek: Day 3 – Partners

I looked up the idioms for the word “partner”, then I played around with them to link them to my life with RA.

Silent Partner

When I first started exhibiting symptoms 40 years ago, RA was like a silent partner. It crept up on me, only showing itself in my hands and feet. From there, it became…

Partners in Crime

It seemed a crime had been committed! I was an unwilling accomplice. My immune system was the perpetrator, one that still sneaks around from time to time. We became…

Sparring Partners

Dancing around the ring like mismatched boxers ready to take a swing. Points were scored for energy drain or energy gain; pain/no pain; mobility/disability; frustration/contentment; sadness/joy. The scoreboard changes, hourly, weekly, monthly, yearly. A knockout? Nope! A knockdown? Yes, and get back up to…

Partner Up

Friends, family, health care team. Find support. Have fun. Engage in activities. Participate in life as best as I can.

Life Partner

Understanding. Support. Dreams. Peace. Together and Apart. Frustration. Tears. Forgiveness. Acceptance. Love.

Sleeping Partner

Sometimes the sleeping partner is true in the figurative sense. They’re not present as the rumblings of RA can make for a restless sleep. A sleep divorce can ensure that both parties sleep better. This brings us back to…

Life Partner

Understanding. Support. Dreams. Peace. Together and Apart. Forgiveness. Acceptance. Love.


January 11, 2017

#514 – Goodwill Snow Challenge for Gym Owners

One very snowy and cold Northwestern Ontario winter, long ago.

We’ve had an unusual winter here in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Since the beginning of December we’ve had what most of the rest of Canada usually has – snow and colder temperatures. In fact, this is the most snow I’ve seen since I’ve lived here. There are a number of problems with this – the municipalities aren’t set up to deal with the snow with enough equipment (like sidewalk plows and odd/even parking), nor in their budgets. Driving around, it is clear that a number of people don’t realize that there are bylaws on the books that require owners to remove the snow from the sidewalks in front of their homes and businesses (another post for another day).

When you live in a snowy climate and are mobility-challenged with a condition such as rheumatoid arthritis, it can be a challenge to be a good citizen by shovelling your walkway and driveway.

While browsing through the Delta Parks, Recreation and Culture Leisure Guide I came across a page that melted my heart, even if it didn’t melt the snow. There is a call for Snow Angels who are volunteers who shovel the sidewalks and driveways of the residents who are unable to do so, thus ensuring safe passage.

I’m proposing a goodwill challenge for gym owners whose patrons religiously come to lift, push, step, climb, cycle, row or run their way into better health. Why not create some healthy competition between gyms, such as Trevor Linden’s Club 16, or Steve Nash’s Fitness World, to see how many mobility-challenged homes can be shovelled after a snowstorm? Prizes could be rewarded, even though the opportunity to do some functional fitness (aka real-life workout), enjoy fresh air, and to do something kind and valuable for someone else, should be reward enough.

Imagine if a flurry of Snow Angels descended upon your home or that of a loved one, spreading kindness and goodwill, while helping to encourage mobility and independence in those who might otherwise be housebound. This would be an act of community service that not only warms the heart, but also clears the path to enable the mobility-challenged to get out of the house and take part in the exercise they need to maintain the mobility they do have.

I could see The Arthritis Society, The Arthritis Foundation, The Canadian Cancer Society and other groups who support people with mobility challenges working together to promote this within the community. Exercise and volunteerism are great antidotes to stress and depression. Mental Health advocates can also encourage their clients to get shovelling!

Let it snow! Let it snow? Let it snow. Or, maybe not!



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