Stress has been linked as one potential factor in contributing to the development of disease, including Sjögren’s and, once someone has Sjögren’s stress can exacerbate symptoms.
Especially during the busy holiday season, it’s important to make sure you listen to your body and do not neglect your health. Here's a collection of SSF tips to becoming more mindful and reducing and coping with stress follows.
- Identify and learn to recognize stressors in your life.
- Know your limits and pace yourself. Set realistic expectations and plan ahead.
- Listen to your body and take time out as needed to get through your day.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Build a support system. To the greatest extent possible, avoid those who are not supportive.
- Educate your friends and family about your disease and what you are going through by becoming an SSF member.
- Join an SSF Support Group and attend an SSF National Patient Conference to meet others with Sjögren’s and learn from Sjögren’s experts.
- Engage with others online by joining Smart Patients, the online SSF support group, and join the SSF Facebook group.
- Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation and consider mindful exercises such as yoga and tai chi.
- Get sufficient rest and sleep every night.
- Eat well! Avoid junk food and too much caffeine and alcohol
- Get moving every day! If you have not been exercising, start slowly and build up. If you have any major health problems such as cardiovascular or lung issues, consult with your doctor before starting an exercise routine.
- If you are employed, request accommodations as needed because of your medical condition. If you can work from home, you can gain more flexibility with your time and work routine.
- Develop a close working relationship with your doctor(s). Report major changes in your psychological well-being such as depression and anxiety.
- Seek help in lowering your stress level. Consider consulting with a mental health professional to talk about your stress, the effect on your quality of life and your disease, and methods for coping.
- Avoid triggers for your stress as often as you can. When you can’t avoid stress, practice techniques that reduce stress and lean on your support system.
- Add laughter to your life! Make time for friends or to make new friends, and engage in stimulating social and mental activities.
We encourage you to comment below with your own tips to help reduce holiday stress with Sjögren's.
The information from this post was first published in The Moisture Seekers, SSF's member newsletter.