Sometimes when you’re having a big flare, it can be difficult to concentrate on school or office work that you’ve taken home. However, it is important to keep your spirits up as you can be at a greater risk of becoming depressed when you’re in a flare. Because of this, it is important to keep your mind engaged, even if it isn’t on something important.
Take this opportunity to catch up on your favorite TV shows or read that book everyone has been talking about. If you’re in a really bad flare, it may even take a lot out of you just to do that, but it will lift your spirits in the long run and give you something to look forward to each day.
However, if you’re feeling up to it, invite a friend or family member around just to watch movies with you or catch up on their lives. If you’re living with a partner or children, make sure you actively take an interest in what they have done that day.
It will help get your mind off of your lupus, even if it just for a few moments, and help them understand that even if you are sick, you still care deeply about them and their daily lives.
Create a Hospital Care Package
Although similar to stocking up on items in anticipating a flare, a hospital care package is for when you’re having in-patient treatment. You can create a package for yourself long before you’re ever ill by assembling some of your favorite foods, books and DVDs you’ve been meaning to watch into a bag or box to take with you or have someone bring to you.
You may even want to include a pillow or blanket from home, especially if you think the stay is going to be a long one. The hospital can be a very monotonous place, and the food is never anything to write home about, so extra treats and activities can keep you feeling a little bit better.
Eating healthy is tough for most people and it can present a greater challenge when you’re having a flare. If you live alone or are the sole caretaker of a family, it can be really tempting to reach for whatever item is easiest to consume in the moment, which is often not the healthiest option.
Try ordering ready-made meals from a Meals on Wheels type program or ordering groceries online to be delivered straight to your door. You can even look up recipes that are extremely easy and healthy — and may take just minutes to make.
If all else fails, there are healthy-ish frozen meal options that are a lot better than take-out or that fifth bowl of cereal. Proper nutrition will help you heal from the inside out.
The Bottom Line...
Lupus flares can affect any part of the body and can range from just experiencing fatigue to organ damage. Sometimes, no matter what we do, a flare will still happen, but if we try to focus on daily awareness, we can try to lessen the occurrence of severe lupus flares.
Checking in with yourself every day is a great first step in getting a handle on how to manage your flares. Here are a few things you can start reminding yourself daily:
- Remember that mental and the physical is connected. Ensure that you are giving yourself enough rest, both in mind and body.
- Ask yourself what is causing stress in your life. Are there people and/or things that are negatively affecting your health that you can cut out of your life?
- Are you feeling depressed and isolated? Find a way to talk about how you are feeling - seek out a counselor and/ or connect with other people with lupus online or at your local lupus support group.
- If you are photosensitive, limit your time in the sun or under fluorescent lights.
- Your kitchen cupboard can also be your medicine cabinet. Stock it with nourishing food that will give your body the strength it needs to keep your lupus activity low.
- Stretch and move as much as you can.
- Communicate with your rheumatologist as soon as you feel the signs of an oncoming flare. Take your medications as prescribed and ensure that if you are using natural/ alternative medicine, both practitioners are aware of what the other is prescribing.