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Stress and Arthritis

Most of my clients are telling me that the hardest part of this crisis is that they can’t plan or forecast what will come next.

Most clients who haven’t dealt with chronic illness, that is.

Because my clients who have lived with chronic illnesses up close know very well how hard it is to live with the unpredictable, and they have strengthened their ability to deal with the unknown.

Let me remind you of the skills you have in place to handle this present crisis.

You know how to pivot when things aren’t going to work out

My client Mary describes how she has “trained” friends and family that even when they make plans, she may have to cancel or postpone. She knows how to shift what she is able to do — and make different plans when necessary. This skill is essential during the virus containment time when so many scheduled events have gone awry. You already have the experience of adapting to the circumstance.

You know how to ride the roller coaster of changing expectations. You are a pro at taking the dips and climbs. You know how to be flexible with you time, with your work and with your socializing.

You can be alone — even when you don’t want to be

The unpredictability of isolation is very hard. You know that, but you have had practice. Your illness has sidelined you from gatherings, and you have participated virtually when you would rather have been present.

You know you can do this. You have strategies to manage enforced time by yourself.

You have experience with a life situation with ‘no end in sight’

That uncertainty is deeply wearing — as you well know. But you know how to take things in chunks and not think too far ahead. You know how to manage the anxiety of the unknown by staying in the present. You already practice gratitude for the small things. You have been a warrior who deals with change and loss on a daily basis, and you have survived.

There are probably lots of other skills you have practiced. I’d like to hear how your journey with chronic illness has helped you grow your resilience.

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