7 Goals To Start The Year Right With Arthritis – Flexiseq

7 Goals To Start The Year Right With Arthritis

Another year, another new year's resolution. We know it can be hard to stay motivated - especially in a month as cold and bleak as January - but setting and meeting manageable, attainable goals can do wonders for your self esteem as well as your overall quality of life.

If you are living with joint pain and osteoarthritis, you might think that your options are limited, but that is not true. There are many small changes that you can make to manage your joint pain and improve your quality of life. This new year, why not set some goals to help manage your arthritis symptoms better? Not sure where to start? Maybe our guide can help.

SMART goals

When thinking about setting goals, it can help to keep the ‘SMART’ formula in mind. SMART stands for:

  • Specific (set a specific goal)

  • Measurable (where you can measure your goal in, for example, an amount of time, distance or calories burnt)

  • Attainable (it’s important to set goals that you can realistically achieve and keep increasing your goalposts a little at a time, rather than setting a huge goal straight away that will take a long time to achieve)

  • Relevant (a goal that you want to achieve and is relevant to your life or interests)

  • Timebound (it has a start and end date, with smaller milestones along the way)

If you’re not sure where to get started, or if you have any concerns about how your goals might affect your health, you should speak to a healthcare professional for advice.

1. Introduce two meals per week specifically to target joint health

What you eat can have a big impact on your joint health. Some foods may help reduce inflammation, pain, and stiffness, while others can worsen them. Try to include more foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamin C, and calcium, such as salmon, berries, citrus fruits, and leafy greens. We don’t recommend excluding certain foods altogether as it can make them seem more attractive and can help perpetuate an unbalanced relationship with food. As a general rule, try to limit foods that are high in saturated fat, sugar, and salt, as well as processed foods, ready meals and fast food. Want some inspiration? Take a look at our healthy eating recipes, which includes Sesame Seed Salmon Stir Fry, Spinach & Aubergine Curry and our delicious Super Berry Smoothie!

2. Set yourself an exercise goal

Exercise is one of the best ways to keep your joints healthy and flexible. It’s a common but misguided belief that exercise makes your joint pain worse: while you should be mindful of your joints - by going at your own pace and speaking to a healthcare professional if you have any concerns - exercise is really important for managing the pain of arthritis. This is because not doing enough exercise can weaken your muscles, which makes it harder for them to support your joints and can lead to worse pain down the line. Exercise also helps you lose weight, improves your mood, and boosts your energy - all of which can be very helpful when you have arthritis.

Everyone is different and when setting an exercise goal you should focus them around a type of exercise that you enjoy and want to stick to because you want to actually do it, not just because you think that you should do it. Anything which gets you moving counts, like yoga, pilates, tai chi, dance, swimming, jogging, cycling, walking, weight training and gardening. Setting manageable goals which you can increase weekly can help keep you motivated and also show you how far you’ve come. Apps like Strava can help you track your distance, speed, route, how different workouts went, and it helps you set and keep track of your goals.

3. Find ways to help manage the stress of osteoarthritis

Living with chronic pain and disability can take a toll on your mental health. That is why it is important to find ways to cope with the stress of osteoarthritis and to take care of your emotional well-being. Long term stress is linked to many health conditions, including stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure and inflammation.

One of the most effective ways to manage stress is to practise mindfulness. Mindfulness is a technique that helps you focus on the present moment and teaches you to observe and accept your thoughts and feelings without judgement, which can help you realise that sensations in your body are temporary. Meditation can be a wonderful way to practise mindfulness. There are many Buddhist and secular mindfulness in-person groups that you could go along to, or if you prefer there are also apps like Headspace and Calm which can help you practise mindfulness and various meditations wherever you are.  

If you want additional help managing stress or other aspects of your mental health, you may want to consider speaking to a therapist or a voluntary mental health organisation like Mind. Talking therapy is available free of charge from the NHS, or there are many private options if that is within your budget.

4. Join a support group

Another way to improve your mental health and cope with the challenges of arthritis is to join a support group. Arthritis is an invisible pain condition and it can be frustrating when speaking to people who, while they may mean well, don’t understand how it feels. A support group is a community of people who share similar experiences and offer each other emotional and practical support. It can be an important source of community and new friendships, as well as offering practical advice, tips, and encouragement from people who know what you’re going through. There are various support groups in person or online, including those run by Versus Arthritis and ones linked on the NHS website.

5. Sign-up to an osteoarthritis newsletter

If you want to stay updated on the latest news, research, and developments on osteoarthritis, you can sign-up to an osteoarthritis newsletter. These newsletters will send you a weekly or monthly email that contains useful information, resources, and tips on how to manage your condition and live well with arthritis. Some newsletters you may want to consider include the ones run by Flexiseq, Versus Arthritis, Arthritis Action, and Arthritis Today.

6. Try something new to manage the pain

Everyone is different. You might swear by acupuncture, while someone else may find it confusing and annoying. There are many options that you could try to help manage your arthritis pain, so you should keep a list of what does and doesn’t work for you. Some options you might not have considered before include massage, tai chi, cold therapy, vitamin supplements, trying a low inflammation diet or increasing the amount of superfoods in your diet or hydrotherapy. You might also want to try Flexiseq - a drug-free gel that reduces friction, pain, and stiffness by utilising plant-based, oily droplets called Sequessomes™ which pass through the skin and target the joints to create a lubricating layer.

7. Celebrate your success - and give yourself a break

Last but not least, remember to celebrate your achievements. Living with arthritis is not easy, and it’s important to give yourself credit for making the necessary changes you need to live a fuller and more rewarding life, as well as acknowledging that there will be easier and harder days.

Don’t beat yourself up if there are days when you don’t achieve your goals; rest is very important, and allowing yourself down time makes it so much more likely that you’ll be able to achieve what you set out to do in the long run. So give yourself credit and treat yourself like someone you love. No matter how big or small your goals are, you should acknowledge your progress and appreciate your accomplishments. Why not treat yourself to something you enjoy?

What are your goals for starting your year off on the right foot? Let us know on Facebook!

Previous Post
Next Post

News from flexiseq

The personal information you are providing will help us to deliver, develop and promote Flexiseq products. Submitting your details indicates that you have read and agreed to our privacy and cookie policy. You can read our policies here.