Learning to Adjust and Adapt
The way you used to do a task may no longer be physically possible. Your physical limitations will continually present new challenges. Quite literally, you have two choices, and one of them isn't much of a choice: You can assess what is interfering or intruding on the way you used to do something and find a solution. The other option is to give up before trying to problem-solve.
You will need to continually reinvent yourself and how you think. Accept that the person you were before arthritis is gone. Try not to give that person a second thought. Put your effort into learning to be the best person you can be under the circumstance of living with a chronic illness. Face your new reality and consciously adjust and adapt to that new reality.
Making Necessary Adjustments
What might need adjusting? Adjust and adapt everything that is no longer working for you. Consider how arthritis has affected your living space. Consider how arthritis has impacted your time. Consider how the disease has affected your close relationships. Don't forget to consider yourself — how has your “normal” existence been affected?
Adjust and adapt your environment — Create handicapped-accessible space. Consider every room that is hard to get into. Consider every piece of furniture that's no longer functional for you. Make sure you create an atmosphere that is calming and comfortable for you.
Adjust your schedules — If you can't keep up with schedules, meetings, or other commitments, you may have to reconsider your obligations. If you have to give up something you used to enjoy doing, fill that time slot with something you can still do. Don't allow a void to be created.
Adjust time spent with family and friends — Find a new routine that allows you to have quality time with family and friends. You may have to change the day you do things together or what you do together, but be sure that whatever you take away is replaced by something doable and enjoyable.
All adjustments should be made so you're not left feeling something or someone is neglected because of you. Concentrate not on taking things away, but on doing things differently.
It's also very important to make mental adjustments, not just physical adjustments: You should adjust your expectations.