Sharing the Journey: New Year's Resolution
This series – Sharing the Journey – is by you and for you. In your own words, we highlight the perspectives and personal experiences of people who struggle with lupus each day.
Do you have a New Year’s Resolution for managing your lupus symptoms in 2017?
I don't have a New Year’s resolution for managing my lupus symptoms. Every year, resolutions are often made and seldom kept. Dealing with lupus is not a temporary thing as most resolutions, it’s about making permanent life style changes. At this time, as long as you aren't newly diagnosed with the disease, we already know what our body needs to manage symptoms and prevent flares. I intend to continue focusing on nutrition. With every passing day I realize more and more the role that proper nutrition plays on my overall wellbeing and success in maintaining control over this disease. I carefully select and think about every piece of food or beverage that I put into my mouth and how it's going to make me feel. –Victoria Gibbs, age 31
My New Year's resolution for managing my lupus symptoms is to make sure I always get a good night's sleep –LaTrease Brown, 31
My New Year's Resolution this year is to focus on taking care of my body and listening to what it tells me. In college, it is so easy to cut down on your sleep in order to study and spend time with friends. Between classes and extracurricular activities, it is difficult to remember to drink enough water and find time to prepare healthy meals. This year, I want to prioritize my body. When I'm sleepy, I want to stop what I'm doing and go to bed. I'm aiming to drink 64 ounces of water a day. I also plan to find healthy meals I can cook for myself. –Becca Mighell, age 20
This year I'm going to try not to stress so much and put myself first and make sure I stick to my sodium diet and really want to talk to other lupus patients and see what they do for flare –Ellena Gutierrez, age 20
Five Ways to Kickstart 2017
Start an Exercise Routine. If you don’t have an exercise plan now, it’s a great time to start. Gentle strength exercises can be a great way to fight fatigue and lessen joint pain. Walking, swimming, biking, tai chi, and yoga are all great, low-impact options to consider. Talk to your doctor to find out what kinds of exercise are safest and most beneficial for you.
Try Strategies for Restful Sleep. One of the best things you can do for your health this year is to make sure you are getting plenty of sleep each night. If you are having trouble sleeping, don’t give up—there things you can try which may help! You may want to try only using your bedroom for sleep, maintaining a regular sleep pattern, and seeing your doctor if you suspect you may have a sleeping disorder.
Re-examine Your Diet. While there is no specific diet for people with lupus, it is important to eat healthy. That means eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and grains, as well as moderate amounts of meat, poultry, and fish. If you have lupus nephritis, it is important to avoid sodium.
Balance Your Busy Life. When you find yourself pulled in different directions, don’t be afraid to say “no” to activities. Remember, your health always comes first!
Be Your Own Advocate. If you are newly diagnosed with lupus and feeling overwhelmed, take steps this year to learn the ins and outs of the disease, how best to communicate with your doctor, your rights at school and in the workplace, and your healthcare options. When you have the knowledge you need, you can be empowered to speak up for yourself and make the best decisions for your health.