From trying to cope with work and family life and juggling finances to staying on top of your ankylosing spondylitis, stress is a normal part of life. But it can take a huge strain on your physical and mental health.
Managing stress is vital for everyone, and it is even more crucial if you have a chronic condition such as AS. The reason for this is that according to the Spondylitis Association of America, stress can aggravate your symptoms. It can also trigger a flare, which is a period of worsening symptoms and increased inflammation.
While you cannot control certain aspects of your AS, you can try to control how you respond and react to stress. Here are some of the things you can do.
Determine what is causing your stress
It is crucial that you identify your stressors and find out which specific situations can generate fear and in turn, stress. Avoid these as much as possible. This will also help you better manage those stressors in case you cannot avoid them.
Prepare in advance
There will be certain situations that could crop up without warning. But some situations like work deadlines, holidays and family parties you can see coming and plan for. That being said, if you know there is an upcoming change or event that might stress you out, make sure to plan ahead. Although you cannot control everything, you can be proactive and make things work with careful planning.
Move around and stretch your body
Being physically active is among the most vital things you could do to better manage your AS. Stretching and moderate exercise, as approved by your chiropractor in Chandler, AZ, and other professionals in your care team, could alleviate your symptoms, reduce stiffness and boost mobility.
Regular exercise also helps relieve stress because it triggers your body to produce endorphins, also known as feel-good hormones. It can regulate your mood, enable you to concentrate on other, more important things, and promote more restful sleep.
Relax your mind
Taking deep, controlled breaths could help reduce stress and promote relaxation. It also helps to practice grounding, which is an excellent way to be more present and calm your mind. It is especially helpful whenever you find yourself in a negative headspace.
Make yourself a priority
Find simple ways to de-stress every day like doing yoga, meditating for a couple of minutes, sleeping well, going for walks, reading books and having a leisurely bath. Find something, even just one thing, every day that makes you feel light, happy and calm so that you will not have to bottle up all those stress and negative emotions.
It is also essential to make sure that you take your meds regularly and come to your scheduled doctor’s appointments. You should consult your doctor if you feel your symptoms persisting or worsening to be on the safe side. Yes, self-care and stress management techniques are crucial, but following your treatment plan will help you make your quality of life better.