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This week has been one of the longest weeks in awhile. With a whirlwind of changes, I have been feeling like the rug has been pulled out from under me. But living with a chronic illness means increased stress levels can cause flare ups, migraines and even cause permanent joint damage. So it is important to keep the stress levels down.

A week ago, I was snorkeling in The Bahamas with my man, soaking up sunshine and sipping mojitos. And when we returned to the rock wall of reality, we both were hit by some surprises. With these surprises have come unknowns of the future, pressures to make some big decisions, but also opportunities for both of us. What also followed this whirlwind was a ton of stress, worry, and our minds full of questions.

“Whether it’s [an auto-immune disease like] rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, any chronic condition plus stress makes the condition worse,” explains Rheumatologist Richard Roseff, MD. I have talked about the role of stress in living with rheumatoid arthritis in a previous post, but basically, living with a chronic illness means more stress equals more pain. And that is not something that helps a stressful situation.

After a week of ups and downs and unknowns of the future, all we can really do is just close our eyes, clear our hearts and minds and let go. Somehow everything works itself out, especially once we let go of the control and worry. It is not worth it to stress over things we cannot control, only to find ourselves in a flare up or with a migraine like I had the past couple of days from too much thinking.

So I have tried to let go of these stressful decisions and unknowns this week and also jump on an opportunity that was presented to me. I decided to go back to grad school — to go back to pursuing the creative degree that I always dreamed of, since this is something I can control at the moment. Now let’s hope that I can keep the stress levels down when dealing with full-time work and part-time online classes! 🙂

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