Common emotions 

Impact on relationships

Coping techniques

Supports available

Looking to the future

Coping with emotions during Covid-19 (Coronavirus)

When you have arthritis, it is not just the physical symptoms that affect you. You will also experience a range of different emotions, which may change over time. Having the same disease as someone else does not mean that you feel the same – either physically or emotionally. Just as everyone is different, so is their experience of arthritis; their symptoms are different and their feelings and emotions are different.

 Download Coping with Emotions booklet

 

Common emotions

The Coping with Emotions booklet outlines the type of emotions you might experience, how to deal with these emotions and details of what supports are available. It was developed following a survey on the impacts of arthritis on well-being and relationships which revealed the significant impact it can have on quality of life, reducing ability to participate in social activities, causing sadness and depression and ultimately leading to social isolation.

When you are first diagnosed with arthritis you will probably experience a whole host of different emotions. The most positive and proactive thing you can do is to get as much information as possible about your condition.

Most common emotions experienced on diagnosis:

  • Shock
  • Relief
  • Confusion
  • Fear
  • Disbelief
  • Denial
  • Anxiety
  • Frustration
  • Sense of loss
  • Depression

As time goes on and the arthritis evolves, so too do the emotions you may experience:

  • Acceptance
  • Guilt
  • Boredom
  • Anger
  • Stress
  • Lack of control
  • Loneliness

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Impact on relationships

One of the most difficult aspects of dealing with arthritis is often the effect that it can have on your relationships. One of the most successful ways of managing all of these relationships is to be open as possible about your condition and the impact it has on you and your quality of life.

Some of the important relationships in your life covered in the booklet include;

  • You and your doctor
  • Partner/spouse
  • Children
  • Friends
  • Parents
  • Colleagues 

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Coping techniques

There are plenty of actions you can take to at least minimise, if not eliminate, a lot of the negative aspects of arthritis. These can include;

  • Positive mental attitude
  • Laughter
  • Exercise
  • Massage
  • Sleep
  • Relaxation
  • Treating yourself
  • Asking for help

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Supports available

Living with arthritis means that you will need both emotional and practical support from time to time. Some of the supports listed and described within the booklet are;

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Looking to the future

Taking into consideration the pain and stress that arthritis can cause you and your family, the future may at times look bleak. However, this does not need to be the case. There are substantial steps that you can take in order to control your arthritis and craft a future that you desire. The steps below are detailed in the Coping with Emotions booklet.

  • Accept your situation
  • Setting goals
  • Be determined
  • Be informed and trust your doctor
  • Keep active/protect your joints
  • Watch your weight
  • Seek mutual support

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Coping with emotions during Covid-19 (Coronavirus)

The whole world has been forced to change and adapt to a vastly different way of life. Abruptly, everybody has had to get used to being at home all the time, to cope with isolating themselves, to deal with feeling anxious and down in the dumps because they can’t see their friends and family.

Life with a chronic disease can in many ways steel you for all these things, it can do but it doesn't always. 

There are a number of things we can all do to keep both our physical and mental health in these unusual, and hopefully unique, times. We understand that living with arthritis takes time and energy, that could be spent doing things. No one expects those with arthritis to emerge from cocooning speaking five languages and fit for a marathon. These are small, achievable goals that will make isolation a little easier.

  • Plan ahead - even for little bits of housework. Keeping a routine is easier if you can work from home, but there’s reason not to plan small goals for the day
  • Take a course – learn to knit, learn a language or learn how to manage your arthritis. Why not take the Living Well with Arthritis online course?
  • Walk/Be physically active every day, try our Take Control with Exercise Programme
  • Write a diary or create something – this will keep the brain active. Creative hobbies absorb your attention and make you feel happier and more confident. Some examples include; writing, singing, painting, cooking, playing an instrument, knitting, gardening
  • Read - that novel you’ve always put off or to relax
    • Control Stress by Paul McKenna
    • Overcoming Insomnia and sleep problems by Colin Espie
    • Full catastrophe living: using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness by Jon Kabat-Zinn
    • Living with the Enemy by Ray Owen
    • Living well with pain & illness – the mindful way to free yourself from suffering by Vidymala Burch
  • Maintain contact with your network - via whatever media necessary. FaceTime, What'sApp and Zoom are all good ways of spending time with family and friends as well as texting and phone calls.
  • Fight the urge to continually snack
    • good nutrition is vital for those living with chronic conditions, particularly auto-immune ones
    • don’t skip meals either
    • keep regular mealtimes
    • start the day right with breakfast
  • Find time to rest and relax 
    • switch off the phone
    • log-off social media
    • calm the mind
    • Try T’ai-Chi or yoga
  • Practice mindfulness or meditation
  • Catch up on TV 
  • Living with a chronic condition can be a full-time job in itself. It’s okay to feel anxious, stressed and over-whelmed at times. The important thing to do is reach out for the help that is there

We’re working with the HSE, the Irish Society for Rheumatology and all the relevant stakeholders to ensure that we’re regularly updating the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) information on our website to ensure you have the most up-to-date and relevant content available.

If you’re feeling isolated from family and friends during these uncertain times, we’re here for you.

If you would like to talk to someone, you can call our Helpline on 1890 252 846/01-661 8188 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 3pm)

Send a message via our Facebook messenger link on the website

Join our online community on Facebook – Arthritis Ireland Support Group

Stay in touch and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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