Gym memberships, diets, and self-help platforms all peak in January as people make (and some soon break) New Year resolutions.
It’s important for people with myositis, and their caregivers, to take care of their mental health. As we begin a new year, rather than thinking about temporary New Year Resolutions, we thought we would suggest a few ideas that you can practice year-round. Implementing these as life-choices rather than resolutions can be very helpful in your #MyositisLIFE.
- Have open, honest, and reciprocal relationships with others.
Be honest with yourself and your family and friends about your feelings about your illness. Holding things in isn’t healthy and it only serves to make you feel more alone. When we share our truths with others we realize we aren’t alone and we get the emotional, psychological, and physical support we really need. On the other hand, be a good listener to your friends and family members! The best relationships are two-way streets.
- Take time to care for and pamper yourself.
Mental health breaks are vitally important for dealing with myositis. Whether you write in a journal, take walks to gather your thoughts, draw or do other art, take relaxing baths, exercise, do yoga (or other calming movement), read inspirational quotes that speak to you, or any of 100s other ways you may like to get in touch with your inner self; take time for you! Even 10 minutes a day dedicated to mental wellness can make a difference!
- Rely on your belief systems.
If you have spiritual or religious beliefs they can be very comforting and beneficial for mental health! It’s always a great idea to consult with your clergy or spiritual mentors when dealing with chronic illness.
- Have fun!
Read a book, watch a show or movie, listen to your favorite band. Fill your life with things that make you happy, these things won’t change the reality of having myositis but will add enjoyment to your life!
- Help others.
Giving to another brings joy and helps you to feel more grateful for the things you have, so if you can volunteer for an organization (MSU is always looking for volunteers!), give your time to someone you know that needs help, or even donate to an organization of your choice!
- Express gratitude.
Make a list of the things for which you are grateful. Just a simple shift of attention to what you are grateful for can help elevate your mood!
- Seek professional help.
We encourage you to ask for help and ignore the perceived societal stigma of mental health. There is no shame in asking for help. Some people with myositis experience trauma and grief from the changes to their life, while others are coping with depression, isolation, and anxiety. It is always a good idea to see mental health professionals to get coping skills so you can adjust to life with the ongoing changes of chronic illness. There are medications that may help as well.
If you are feeling so down that you have thoughts of hurting yourself or others, please call 911 (USA) immediately. You can also contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).
No matter what you do, we wish you a healthy, happy, and peaceful new year!
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Myositis patients and caregivers
Share your topic-based experiences with myositis by joining us as a contributing author for #MyositisLIFE at MyositisLIFE.org. No writing experience necessary. Our experiences help others feel less alone and promote better overall understanding.