Although it’s natural to want to spend as much time as possible helping other people, particularly when they do a lot to help you, it’s vital to spend some time focusing on yourself each day. Even if you only have 20 minutes to spend by yourself, studies have shown that taking advantage of that time helps to improve mood and overall health. When you’re in pain resulting from arthritis, it can become difficult to remember that your spiritual and emotional self also need to be attended to. These are a few ways to satisfy those needs:
Meditate. There’s no need to sit in the lotus position or to chant while meditating (although you may, if you want to). Meditation can occur when you’re looking out a window, lying down, or taking a bath. Close your eyes and clear your mind of all the things you’re worried about. Focus on a single thought or image, such as a place you love or a feeling that you want to experience more often. Meditation helps you to become more patient with yourself and others.
Exercise. One of the reasons people find it so difficult to exercise regularly is because they’re so busy running around to do things for others. You must think of exercise as something you do for yourself each day, rather than being just another on your long list of obligations. Do something you enjoy, mix it up, and have fun. It’s also possible to meditate while you’re running, hiking, or cycling.
Get a Massage. Although technically the massage therapist is in the room, when you get a massage you’re focused on yourself and your own well-being. People often think that massage is self indulgent or “pampering” — but study after study has shown that touch has powerful effects on health, mood, and general well-being.