Managing Stress

Last week Unshoreandscared asked me how I had managed stress over the 45 years that I have been dealing with lupus. The truth is that for the first 20 years or so, I didn't manage it very well. Then I fell down and what had been a kinda of nagging pain in my back went through the roof and never came back down again. At that point I decided to put some real effort into managing stress. These are some of things that I did. (1) I attended a 10 week clinic in the Mind-Body Medicine Center at Retreat Hospital that was designed to teach people stress management skills, (2) I became more regular in taking advantage of the warm water in the therapeutic pool, including (3) taking a water exercise class - they have them at all levels of ability and just moving in that warm water always makes me feel better, (4) I worked one on one with a clinical social worker trained in hypnotherapy to learn some autogenic techniques, and (5) I started getting regular THERAPEUTIC MASSAGES.

This morning, I woke up exhausted, in pain, and freaking out about the amount of work that I must get done in the next six days. I really wanted to take some pain meds and stay in bed all day. But I managed to talk myself down off of the ledge. I don't have to do it all today. Today I just needed to get up and as they say in 12 step programs "do the next right thing." The next right thing was to make an appointment to get a massage. I bought a Groupon last week: three 60 minute massages for $89. Now I am going to do one right thing after the other - not rapidly, but at a pace that is comfortable for me. I will let you know if I successfully completed my tasks and if I did so without stressing myself into a flare.


Hi Ann A., Thankyou for talking about this. I think everyone must get stressed from time to time. I know i do. Some days i just look around me and think i have so much to do, and it really gets to me. I also tell myself though that Rome wasnt built in a day, and that i have to pace myself. If i rush around whilst feeling really ill, its only going to make me ten times worse if not more. Life can be very trying at times to say the least with one hurdle after another, especially if someone has Lupus or some other chronic illness to cope with on top of everything else. I have been on a couple of stress management courses, and one for Arthritis and pain, which did help. I think though its always good to refresh yourself on these things as we do forget. And what a brilliant idea about the water exercise classes. I am sure if someone explains to the instructor before they go or when they first step in that they may not be able to do everything, then they would be fine with that, After all going to something like that is for enjoyment as well as our own physical benefit. I went swimming one day when i was really ill, as i love the water, i thought it might do me good. And as i was on my own, i just mentioned it to the life guards that i was not on top form and they said they would keep an eye on me which was really reassuring. I think going swimming or relaxing in water can be so beneficial. We have a special slimming club called Dolphins on a Friday evening, its for anyone to go along who has any type of physical disability or illness that impairs what they can do. They have volunteers there that can help with undressing if needed. Its an excellent idea, I am a member but dont get to go as often as i would like to, The other good thing about it, is that its open for your family to come along with you. So its worth looking out for things like that as well, if someone doesnt quite feel confident enough in the water yet. As there are things like this going on, its just finding them sometimes. Massage is also a good idea too. Although i did have a massage once and came out feeling a lot worse off, so i am a little sceptical about massage i am afraid. Maybe the masseur was a little over zealous. Anyway thankyou again Ann for some great ideas, and some great tips on keeping stress at bay. Another thing thats good is music, i find music helps with stress. And relaxation cds, candles, aromatherapy. It is getting into a pattern of being kind to yourself when you feel stressed. And making sure we pace ourselves. It took me years to get into the habit of pacing myself with things. Thank goodness i make sure i do pace myself now. Anyway take care, bye for now, love and hugs Astrid40xoxo

Hi Ann A., Thank You so much for all the information. The massage i had was at my local hospice. So i think he must of been properly trained as they wouldnt take anyone on there that wasnt. I was really poorly at the time. And i had to stay in. I was treated like a princess. I was so lucky to have been given this treatment. The hospice near where we live, just about ten minutes away is very lovely inside, and the staff are very kind. The rooms are very relaxing, They have a communal sitting room with recliner chairs for every single patient that goes in as an in-patient or day patient. They have volunteers who go in and do nails and hand massages but they actually hire the proffessional massuer so i think he must of been fully qualified, he seemed to know what he was doing. He did make me laugh though as he knew about me having been a dancer and when he was stretching my legs, he did one leg more than i wanted him too, i said about the fact i had a stroke and that the left side was weaker and it wouldnt move like it used to, but he still pushed it, and honestly it killed me with pain for ages. Maybe he was right, but it really hurt. So it put me off having another one again. I did enjoy the jacuzzi baths they have there though, I dont go there anymore now though as i am alot better than i was thankfully. If the need came up, i know that i would be able to go back having already been an in-patient, hopefully i wont need to though, as its so expensive just to keep one patient for a week there. I know it costs quite alot just for one week. I felt very privaledged. I have always tried to still keep myself supple because of having been a dancer, but there does come a time when you have to stop as you just cant do very much because of the pain levels. I would love it if i could become well enough to be able to go back to my dancing again. I wouldnt expect miracles and expect to go back to Ballet, but some Latin American/Ballroom would be nice, some of the slower stuff. I cant ever see that happening yet, but we can dream cant we. I hardly ever drink hot drinks, I am a real water drinker myself. I used to have a habit of drinking coke cola for a while, a friend started me off on it years ago, and then ended up on the awful stuff, thankfully i havent touched it now for over six months i am pleased to say, it does make a difference. The pool i go to is at the right tempreture for strokes etc, it is graduated too, so that people can slowly walk in, there are no steps. And there are hoists for going in the jacuzzi's, which is really handy. They have a wave machine which is used for when they have the night when its for families etc. And they have one of these river ways, and flumes etc. And smaller pools for the little ones, its a very good centre. I think i may of said to you about the little girl who is like my own who i have helped bring up as she has no mum, i have helped bring her up since a baby. Well when she comes over, we take her with us to the swimming as she loves it. She isnt afraid at all of the water, which is good, but of course we have to watch her. I think just sitting in the warm water can be so therapeutic even if you move slightly the first time and build it up as you go more and more. I am so pleased you go to something as well, it is so good for us. I must get back to it, we do talk of going back. My husband is an on call engineer and they are short staffed at the moment, but as things get more on an even keel we will get back to going, and also i should be getting some more help soon as far as someone to go with me goes. I have gone on my own but because of the epilepsy and other complex health issues my husband is worried about me being out on my own which i can understand. I have had a few really bad falls before and really hurt myself badly. Only last year i broke both wrists, cut my nose open, two black eyes and had lots of nasty bruises i could hardly move, then i broke my ribs. I do try and be careful, its this stupid body of mine, hehe, it plays me up sometimes, hehe. Anyway thankyou Ann for telling me all about what you do, its good to know all these things. And its good for everyone to learn these things. And we do forget things. Anyway my friend, you take care, bye for now, look after yourself, love and hugs Astrid40xoxo

Love you too Ann, Thanks for helping moondance too, forgot about the Vit D, you have a good memory, mine is terrible at times. I am so pleased that you enjoy the massages. Like you say we are all different, I still have things that i do enjoy though. I love reading, i love the swimming, and the photography when i am feeling up to it. I do feel very privaledged to have been able to have had all that special treatment in the hospice. And thanks to god i am in a better place that i was last year. I nearly died last year twice, and it was a scary time for me and for my husband as well. I think reading helps reduce my stress and listening to music and cuddling my little dog too. I love my little dog and the way he smells sometimes, which must sound so funny, hehe, but he does give me such comfort. He knows when i am about to have a siezure and will bark at me for me to lay down. So much so that the Society for epilepsy dogs or whatever they call them want to make him an assistance dog, so he could go everywhere with me, its something to think about isnt it? I dont know if i could face all the extra training though, as he is twelve now. And he does okay as he is. And i do go out with a carer most times anyway. I enjoy photography when i am having a good day. I like to sit on a chair in my garden just watching the birds in my garden. I have a bird table, and a feeding station where all sorts of birds come down to feed. Last year we had three different types of birds in nesting boxes, and this year the blue tits are getting ready again for nesting and flying back and forth with their materials for the nest which is relaxing to watch. People might think i am sad for watching that sort of thing, but so what its peaceful. One day i will have a summer house, hehe, thats my dream, hehe, bye for now, take care, love and hugs Astrid40xoxox

My STRESS maagement is , WALKING away from whatever is the stress matter , takeing a deep breath , and refocus mysef with - " I can do this " and hay take a POWER NAP of rest for about 30mins. - where i just stare at the ceiling !!!! LLOL But it helps me !!! believe it or not !! My kids know exactly when the moment comes over me , they just put everything on pause and wait on me 2 deal with whatever !!! BUt hay ! try it ??? And yes there are times where i can't do that but for me , that's what happens . HA! HA! HA! ... Beverly L.

Silly right ?? but am happy with it and everyone don't stress me !!!!