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:
• 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?
• Belly breathing?
• Attention focusing?
• Mental games?
• Changing your negative thoughts?
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!