“Arthritis Ashley goes to the beach…without her Arthritis!” could have been the caption for my recent picture-perfect trip to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Approximately one year after marrying on the shores of a different island (Sanibel,) my husband and I took a nice vacation to Hilton Head, where I felt better than I have in years — maybe ever.
Do you believe that I, “Arthritis Ashley” biked over 10 miles, two days in a row? Do you believe that I took an hourlong morning walk on the beach? Do you believe that I got up and did morning beach yoga one day?
It’s true. I’m on minimum medications, an almost all-natural regimen, and, here I am, doing beach yoga and bike-riding like never before.
I am hopefully not “jinxing” myself, and I am not writing this to “brag,” but rather to encourage hope and inspire: it IS possible. I credit the relaxing atmosphere of the beach, and my calm, positive mindset for creating healing energy while on my trip.
I tried to bring those things home with me: a sense of well-being and serenity. Sometimes, it works, sometimes, it doesn’t. My joints don’t always love me after a workout session with my personal trainer, and, they certainly hated me after that 12-hour car-ride HOME from the beach, but, I’ve been trying to show my body gratitude and love instead of just always feeling negative towards it.
So, getting proper sleep, eating more healthfully, and treating myself to massages now and then have become the norm. So has a feeling of gratitude, and NOT focusing on my health or lack thereof.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t bring the beach home with me, but that week at the shore showed me that I can be relatively “healthy” and “normal.” That encouragement and motivation was just what the doctor ordered. I hope that you prescribe this kind of hope to yourself this summer, too.
What’s YOUR weapon against arthritis?