Coping with symptoms, stress, flare-ups and setbacks

There are a number of ways you can learn to cope with stress related to JIA. Several of these have been covered in previous sections. Some examples are:

Relaxation exercises

Attention focusing and mental games

Regular exercise and healthy eating

Understanding stress, unhelpful thoughts, unrealistic beliefs and goals.

You may have some setbacks on the journey to coping well. Things may happen that challenge you and may lead to more stress. Some common types of challenges include moving to a new school or a new neighbourhood, dealing with school placement tests and exams, changes in family, friendships and your peer group and changes in your responsibilities. Looking ahead to the next year, can you think of specific things that you think will cause challenges for you?

On a sheet of paper, list those challenges and ways to deal with them.

Over the course of this program, you have learned a range of strategies and skills to help you deal with stress. Being able to recognize obstacles and stresses ahead of time can give you a chance to prepare for them. You can use your new skills to reduce stress and help to think through a challenging situation in a more prepared way.

There will be days when you feel stress and pain. This is normal. These are the times to try your hardest to use the skills you have learned. If you keep using these skills, you will improve them slowly but surely.

Going forward, you may have times when you feel like quitting or giving up. When this happens, you can talk to a family member or a friend. They may be able to help you through the tough times. You can also talk to your doctor or other members of your health care team.

Remember, set short-term goals and reward your hard work!

Your tool box of skills

Throughout each of the sessions, you learned many different ways to manage JIA symptoms.

​Which ones did you find worked best for you?

• Relaxation?

• Imagery?

• Belly breathing?

• Attention focusing?

• Mental games?

• Changing your negative thoughts?

• Exercise?

• Others?

On a sheet of paper, list the strategies that worked best for you.

Now that you have many different skills to choose from in your toolbox, you can choose which ones will work best for you, depending on the situation. Using the same skill for every stressful event may not work. It’s okay to try a different strategy or even try the same strategy but in a new way!


Welcome to the Taking Charge: Managing JIA Online Program! In this section you will learn what to expect in the program, how to get started and how to set goals to better manage JIA.

JIA stands for juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Find out what causes JIA, the different types of JIA and how it will affect you now and in the future.

Diagnosing JIA may be difficult as joint pain and swelling may be a part of many different illnesses. Diagnosis of JIA typically includes a physical exam, blood tests and imaging studies.

Pain, stiffness, and tiredness or fatigue, are common symptoms of JIA. These symptoms can lead to difficulties with participating in school and sports activities, and enjoying time with your friends. Learn about pain, fatigue, and stiffness, how to manage symptoms and how these symptoms can cause stress.

There are several strategies you can use to help you cope with pain, stress, and sleep problems. These include relaxation, distraction, and managing your thoughts. In this section, learn more about how each of these strategies work.

When you know about your medications, you can talk to your doctor about them and make good choices for yourself. Find out about the different types of JIA medications, how they work, common side effects, and the importance of talking to your doctor about your medication plan.

Did you know that there are many other therapies that you can use to manage JIA symptoms? They can help to prevent complications so that you can do all the things you want to do. In this section, learn more about physical, occupational, and psychological therapies; maintaining healthy nutrition; surgical options for JIA, and more.

Your role in making decisions about your treatment plan is very important. Your health-care team and other members of your support system are available to help you make these decisions. In turn, they can help you to manage your JIA.

Whether you have JIA or not, you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Find out how to stay healthy and active, learn about puberty and relationships, healthy body image, and making healthy lifestyle choices.

Sometime between the ages of 18 to 22, you most likely will transition from your pediatric rheumatologist to the adult health care setting. At that time, there are a number of things you, your family, and your health-care team can do to help make this change go smoothly.