Healthy Living Tips

Living well with lupus nephritis often requires making some changes to your lifestyle. In addition to developing a plan with your doctor for healthy eating and exercise, it’s important to manage stress and take steps toward improving your overall health and wellness. These tips may help.

Practice Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment with an attitude of acceptance. That means accepting your life as it is now—with whatever challenges, symptoms, or obstacles you’re currently facing—without judgment. For people living with chronic pain, mindfulness meditation has been shown to decrease pain.

To practice mindfulness meditation, start by sitting up straight with legs crossed and your shoulders and neck relaxed. Then, focus on the movement of your breath. It’s OK if your mind wanders. When you find it wandering, gently steer it back to the present moment. Start small, maybe beginning with just 5 minutes per day and working your way up to longer stretches of time. You can also develop visualization exercises, imagining negative or distracting thoughts as clouds or balloons that you watch float away.

In addition to mindfulness meditation, other natural therapies—such as yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, acupuncture, biofeedback, and play therapy—may also help you to better manage pain and stress.

Before you make any changes to your lifestyle, always talk with your doctor.

Improve Your Sleep

It’s not unusual for people living with a chronic condition to have difficulty sleeping. Not getting enough sleep can contribute to stress, anxiety, and symptoms of clinical depression. To help make sure that you get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep every night, practice these tips:

  • Do some type of exercise as recommended by your doctor such as walking every day—whatever you are able to do
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol for several hours before bedtime
  • Make your bedroom sleep-friendly with a comfortable mattress and linens, the right amount of darkness, and a temperature that’s a little bit on the cooler side
  • Let your doctor know if any of the medications you take interfere with your sleep
  • Try to avoid the use of electronic devices a couple of hours before bedtime

As always, be sure to speak with your physician before making any changes to your lifestyle.

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