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Monday, September 26, 2011

Distractions have real value in RA!

     We were back in my hometown of State College, PA not long ago, spending the weekend with family, friends and 110,000 of our closest friends at a Penn State football game.  Despite my digestive maladies and RA issues, it was so wonderful to get away and enjoy the spectacle that IS big time college football!  
     To be united in support of our Nittany Lions, cheering, singing our school Alma Mater and fight songs is so energizing and just plain fun it makes me smile for weeks afterward when I think back on what a terrific day it was. 
Of course sharing that with our family and seeing everyone again is a large part of the joy.
     Which brings me to the point of this post.....distractions get a bad rap in most instances.  We tend to view them as something that takes us away from our intended goal or task and towards something that is a waste of time and focus.
To be fair, there are many bad distractions - in the workplace, in our cars, and so on.  We all know the ones that pull us away from important tasks - like working and driving!  
     Good distractions, however, are those that take our minds off of heavy issues, intense thoughts, illness and chronic diseases like RA.  I am not suggesting that we succumb to distraction to the point of neglecting our health or the necessary items we need to attend to in order to successfully manage RA.
     What I am recommending is that we take a "timeout" now and then.  Let go of the burden of dealing with the day to day  "stuff" that makes up our lives with RA and just allow our minds and bodies to be "distracted".  For me that meant a weekend away - from work, from home, from the worry that really does weigh on all of us who are managing RA and the other "sidebars" that go with it.  It is so easy to get into a pattern of never ending worry about our health.  I find myself often waiting for the next "shoe to drop" as I am certain it will.
      Allowing ourselves the luxury of a good distraction now and then is just what we need to break that cycle of worry that often is one of the hallmarks of RA.
     I never thought of myself as much of a "worrier" pre-RA but since getting it I have noticed that I am much more inclined to worry and "stew" over things than in the past.  While some of that may just be age, mother of three boys, etc. I do believe that having a chronic disease is part of it.  
     Which leads me to the facts about worrying.
     When you really take it apart it seems so sensible to just let our worry go...if only it were that easy. That said, here is where the "good distractions" can really serve us well!  If we allow ourselves to step away and really let go of our day to day concerns it will, in the long run, replenish our minds, spirits and bodies to be better able to handle the "real" issues we face and need our strength to contend with.  
     Each of us knows in our hearts when it is time to take that time off and/or welcome that "good distraction".  Trust your instincts to guide you to that place of peace and contentment.  If it means being surrounded by 110,000 screaming fans then go for it!  I did!



Fred Richenderfer said...

Great advice that is also very doable. Developing interest in a hobby would fall into this catagory. Grab that camera that has been sitting in a drawer for the past 10 years and get outside for some nature shots. It could be the beginning of a whole new and wonderful "distraction."

Bernadine Grooms said...

I'm a firm believer in good distractions! Five weeks ago I suffered a really nasty headache that has still left me feeling out of sorts but I know now, after several tests, that I don't have what they initially suspected, which was a brain aneurysm. Knowing something bad had happened and the countless tests that would follow, I took a weekend that I had planned in advance to spend with my youth group from church. I promised my husband that I would not ride any rollercoasters and that I would pace myself, since we knew something was going on but were waiting for additional tests. All I knew was that I needed a distraction from reality, even if it was for two days. These teens knew that I was having a difficult time and so they made it their mission to take my mind off the tough stuff and enjoy my time away with them. They knew I had been forbidden from my favorite rides but yet they made a point to include me by riding rides that would be considered little kid rides, just so I could have some fun. Nothing like Seussville at Universal to take your mind off of things! I will always be greatful to my teens and for a particular group of girls that continually pray for me and text me just to talk about something totally out of the blue.

deb aka murphthesurf said...

You bet that good distractions can help :-) My fav is Fridates when I am able and I also love getting out with my camera when I am able. It is good to see you so enjoying yourself. Even though I am not personally a fan of sports, I can see you are and it make me happy to see you enjoying yourself so much! Go Nan!!

Thrive With RA said...

Hi Nan,

I just posted a comment on RA Guy about focusing on something intensely takes my mind off of RA, particularly when it's creative and/or service-oriented. I am a huge believer in diversions, because they are healthy coping mechanisms.

Your "Worry Chart" is PERFECT! I'd like to paste that on the inside of my eyelids! :)

Pekipeggy (Peki is Peggy in Hawaiian) said...

Nan... I have your great blog on my blog.... I have updated my blog url... can you add mine to yours please... xo

Pekipeggy (Peki is Peggy in Hawaiian) said...

I love your blog... I have your blog on my blog... can you please put me on your blog list.. new url