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Articles > Feeling RA burnout? Let "Auntie Stress" help you tame it!

Feeling RA burnout? Let "Auntie Stress" help you tame it!

Diana Bierman

Provided by HealthMonitor

If you're just plain tired of dealing with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Marianna Paulson knows how you feel. After years of medical visits, several different treatments and keeping up with her full-time teaching job, Marianna was burned out. "For years I was burdened by the thought of yet another procedure and no release from the pain and stress," recalls the Vancouver, Canada, resident. "I'd fall into bed, often before 9 pm, only to toss and turn and wake up tired."

But in recent years, Marianna learned that when she reined in negative emotions and stopped dwelling, her stress level dropped, resulting in "better sleep, fewer flare-ups, greater joy and improved self-esteem.'

Now a "stress transformation" coach, Marianna teaches others to recognize their stress triggers and diffuse them. Her clients and friends even refer to her as "Auntie Stress!" Her RA now? "It's kind of like my dog. It follows me around, but generally it doesn't bother me," she says. Read on for her stress-busting secrets!

Stress trigger: Pain flare-up
Stress buster: Soothing self-talk.
'Tell yourself, I know this is only temporary," says Marianna. "A flare-up today doesn't mean you'll always be flaring. Sometimes we have to be patient, and wait until we get our symptoms under control."
Tip: Create an RA flare plan. Ask your doctor how to manage a flare, and remember that if your symptoms are getting worse, it may be time to rethink your treatment.

Stress trigger: Giving up activities
Stress buster: Improvise! "Having RA doesn't mean an end to everything," says Marianna, who gives stress-busting tips on her site auntiestress.com. "With good treatment and self-management skills, you can do some of the things you love'
modified." For example, when biking caused Marianna wrist pain, she raised the handlebars and put the seat higher to feel more comfortable.

Stress trigger: Scary web info!
Stress buster: Do a reality check.
'Too often, I hear people get stressed because they've read blogs and articles about how rotten life is," Marianna notes. "For a newly diagnosed patient, it can be discouraging." Always vet online info with your doctor. Also, consider the source. If someone posts photos of her deformed hands, it could be that she failed to seek treatment before severe damage occurred.

Stress trigger: Feeling hopeless
Stress buster: "Celebrate" your wins. "Just before I begin to exercise, I celebrate it'my joints, my
muscles, me'for being able-bodied enough to still do those things I can do," Marianna says.

Stress trigger: Wondering "Why me?'
Stress buster: Cultivate acceptance'and don't identify yourself strictly as an RA patient. "You can get bogged down about your condition, but that only triggers more stress," she says. "I never made RA a cause'I have it, I live with it, I do the best I can. Because of that, my life has been so much richer."
Osteoarthritis Rheumatoid Arthritis Insomnia Pain Stress Wrist Pain Arthritis Fatigue Exercise More

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