Arthritis Management: Dealing with Stress and Depression

Learning how to deal with stress and ward off depression can be a challenge for anyone, but those living with arthritis can find it even more difficult to reduce stress in their day-to-day lives. Depression can strike when a sufferer feels anxious, overwhelmed or simply doesn’t have energy to get through their day.

If you have arthritis and are juggling a career, a family life and personal relationships, make sure you take some time to take care of yourself as well. Finding healthy ways to deal with the pain of arthritis and keeping your mental and physical health in good shape can reduce stress naturally and may also lower your risk of depression.

Here are some effective ways to deal with stress and depression when you have arthritis:

1. Watch our diet. Make sure you’re eating a well-balanced diet and eating plenty of anti-inflammatory foods. An anti-inflammatory diet may help to reduce pain in your joints and keep your bones and muscles in good health. Eliminate excess sugar and alcohol in your diet, and don’t overeat when you’re stressed. Find healthier ways to cope with stress and keep your diet as “clean” as possible.

2. Live in the moment. Appreciating the little details in life and taking a step back to appreciate the moment can help you feel less stressed and more positive. Take some time to focus on the world around you and really live each day. Don’t wait for good things to happen, just relax and allow yourself to enjoy life more. Making a conscious choice to be happy and stay positive can really give you a boost in mood.

3. Manage your time wisely. Find ways to maximize your time and energy and focus on what you really want. Don’t waste time and energy on things that don’t make you feel more positive about yourself or your life. Eliminating negativity from your life can be difficult, but managing your time by focusing on what you want can make a big difference to your daily life.

4. Talk to a friend or confidant. When arthritic pain is getting to you or you’re feeling especially sad and depressed, get in touch with a friend or a relative and just talk. Simply talking to someone you trust can alleviate some of the burden of negative thoughts and feelings, and can also help you process any underlying emotions more easily. Make the effort to reach out to someone when you want to talk, and you will find it much easier to deal with stress and depression.

5. Make time to de-stress throughout the day. Make time for relaxation and practice mindfulness. Whether you practice meditation, take up yoga or just relax on a bed in a quiet room for 15 to 20 minutes, make a conscious effort to relax and break away from the usual “noise” of the day. Doing this regularly can help you feel more calm naturally, and also reduces stress.

Learn more about coping with stress and depression by talking to your doctor. Your doctor can make some recommendations on effective stress management techniques and help you find ways to take better care of yourself.