When a flare-up strikes it’s easy to feel like burying into the duvet and hibernating. If that’s the thing that really makes you feel better, then reach for those pillows, grab a hot water bottle, line up Netflix and turn off the world. But, there might just be another way to help ease your flares, and our PsA bloggers are here to tell you what they do to make their grey days a little brighter.
Here’s the thing: I’m usually super lazy. There is often nothing I like more than holing up in a dark room with a TV or a book and not moving for 8 hours. Except, paradoxically, when I’m having a tough PsA day. Maybe it’s because it feels like giving into weakness (I know, I know, it shouldn’t, but it does), or it feels like my body is trapping me, or maybe it’s just that, as my favorite band (ahem, Belle & Sebastian) once sang, “Anything’s better than posh isolation.”
That’s why I try to just get outside. Whether or not I can walk around, I try to just get out of the apartment. Even if it just means I sit on my deck 10 feet from my couch, I want fresh air. Rain, shine, snow (oh, how I miss snow), I’ve got to be outdoors for a bit — even if it’s tough, and even if I’m sore. What can I say other than... it makes me feel alive.
One of the things that gets me through a bad flare day is meditation. Up until last year, I had practiced yoga, but had dismissed meditation. I even laughed when my holistic health coach first suggested it to me.
You see, I always considered myself pretty zen on my own. But my coach suggested downloading some free apps for my smartphone and I agreed to try. I have to admit that straightaway I loved those few minutes every morning, relaxed, eyes closed, breathing deeply and listening to the soothing voice in my ears guide me along! I find that meditation works best in a crisis if I have been practicing it regularly all along, not just reaching for it when I feel I really need it. Just ten minutes of meditation in the morning really helps me wake up, helps me focus, shoos my worries away and helps set the tone for my day.
When I’m having a flare day, I can find everything overwhelming. All my senses are heightened by pain - every knock, bump or bang leaves me on edge. Crowds stress me out, strong noises or smells exacerbate my discomfort and simple tasks feel like huge, dark mountains to climb.
My escape from all this? A simple walk.
I learnt early on with psoriatic arthritis that a walk does me good. Sitting still turns me into the tin man, but stretching my legs oils the hinges. On a flare day I might only manage a shuffle but getting out into open space lifts my spirits and eases my frustration. A few minutes of ambling about the local park, dodging muddy puddles, pushing aside branches and skirting mole hills makes everything better. I return home, still sore, but uplifted and those great big task mountains now feel like just a stroll in the park.