Saturday, May 27, 2017

Self-Care with a Chronic Illness: Visualize Yourself Well

It's Arthritis Awareness Month! This month I am challenging you to take a little time each day and practice better self-care. Each day in May, I plan to share one simple way you can show yourself some love and appreciation.

Visualize yourself well.  When I look back over our family photos, I instantly can tell which pictures were taken when rheumatoid arthritis was playing a huge part in my life and that feeling crawls right back into my memory. It isn't a place I like to visit. Some pictures bring tears of compassion knowing how much pain I was experiencing at the time.

On the other hand, during some of my worst days, I found that when I visualized myself healthy and pain-free, a smile instantly took over to comfort me. 
  • See yourself jumping out of bed without stiff joints
  • Imagine yourself receiving a big hug that nourishes and doesn't hurt you. Soak that hug in.
  • Look at photos of yourself doing the things you love doing not as a pity party but a reminder of days to come.
  • Draw pictures of yourself as the beautiful person you are because truly, you are beautiful and perfect.  
  • Photograph or cut out things you still want to do in life.

Sometimes the pain has been so extreme for so long that we forget who we were and what we did before our illness took over. When that happens, ask for help from your family. Let them guide your memories.

Visualization isn't ignoring the fact that your body has changed but instead is a way of keeping hope that the right treatment hasn't yet been matched with your individual body and that hope still remains.