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One of the most difficult tasks for people with inflammatory arthritis is getting ready in the morning. Between the fatigue, stiff joints in the morning and whether or not you’re in a flare, simply doing your hair and makeup can be a mountain of a task. Over the years, I’ve figured out the best products to help me get ready in a flash, flare or not.
I genuinely don’t know how I’ve gone so long without discovering this little gem, the Revlon Hot Air Brush! When my arthritis gets bad, sometimes my husband would have to help me blow dry my hair. While he had gotten really good at it, the time and effort this hot air brush has saved me is beyond words.
It used to be a three or more tool job, using both hands — hair dryer, round brush, then a straightening iron or curling iron after. Now, I can use the hot air brush and not even need to straighten my hair! And it gets the job done in a quarter of the time. I’m usually finished with my hair in five minutes flat! It’s absolutely a life-saver for folks with arthritis in their hands.
Tip: Clip sections of your hair and dry one section at a time, starting from the bottom of your head and working your way up. Trying to dry huge sections of hair will take longer and is more difficult to manage.
This blow dry mist by Kristin Ess is a huge helper in getting my blow dry and style time down to five minutes. In fact, a few days ago I forgot to use this product in my hair and it felt like it took me forever to dry my hair! In reality, it was ten minutes, but wow — what a difference! Less is more when it comes to this mist. I have shorter, thin hair and I use only two brief sprays to cover my hair. More than that and it gives your hair a greasy look — not pretty!
This towel is a cult favorite for a good reason. As you can see, I’m ALL about getting my hair to dry quickly. For most people with arthritis, doing your hair can be one of the most difficult and time-consuming tasks when getting ready in the morning. I’ve had my Aquis Towel for more than two years and it still looks and feels as great as it did when it first came out of the package!
This towel claims to dry hair from wet to damp 50% faster than regular cotton towels… and I believe it. And a bonus to it drying your hair quickly: It helps prevent damage and frizz, too!
When I’m having a rough hand day when it comes to my arthritis, sometimes putting on makeup with brushes or fingertips can be difficult. That’s when I reach for the makeup sponges. I love the multipack Beaky offers, because they’re different shapes that are easy to grip. Plus, they’re a bit larger and sturdier than the average makeup sponge, making them even easier to hold. They’re hypoallergenic, too, a must for most people with chronic illnesses.
The key for using these sponges with liquid foundation is to “dot” the foundation on your skin first, then use the sponge to blend it in using a tapping motion. Each sponge lasts about one month, but be sure to clean it every few days by rinsing and applying facial cleanser, then rinse clean.
Use Pump Bottles Over Twist Tops
For those of us with arthritis, we know the battle of twist top packaging. When you can, make sure the beauty products you purchase have pumps or other easily accessible openings instead of twist tops. Shampoo, body wash and face washes are typically easy to find pumps for. Brands like Lorac and Mac have magnetic or pump packaging that make it incredibly easy to use, too!
Do you have any products or tips that make getting ready easier when you’re in a flare? Tell me in the comments below!
You guys, it’s World Arthritis Day! I’m currently part of the Cure Arthritis Crew, which helps bring awareness to and support research to help fight arthritis diseases. Check out the awesome resources from curearthritis.org to learn more about how you can make a big difference on World Arthritis Day.
Last year, I was finally diagnosed with seronegative rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis after several years of mysterious pain and frankly, it has changed my entire life. Since then, I’ve learned a few things:
1) Invisible illness is real, y’all.
You may think the healthy-looking young man or woman taking up a seat on the bus, train or even a bench in the park is being selfish or parking in the handicap spot is wrong, but you may not know the pain they’re in. Someone may be super bubbly and seem totally physically capable out and about, but when they get home, they’re out of commission for an entire week because of pain. We’re good fakers.
2) It’s okay to be a “flake.”
I’ve lost touch with people because I either don’t have the energy to hang out, because of an arthritis flare or the activity is something I can no longer physically do. Some days are great days and some days are no-way-not-happening – you never know until it’s go-time. It’s also really difficult to see people you care about struggle – silence is sometimes how people cope with seeing others change with chronic illness.
3) Girl, you gotta rest.
Before my joint pain started, I used to do yoga, bike, run 5Ks and want to go-go-go on trips. I was even training for a half-marathon! Now, I’ve learned that I need to space out my physical activity (yes, even running errands, traveling, getting dressed up or social activities!). This was the hardest thing to learn and probably the most life-changing. I recommend looking up the spoon theory, if you’re interested in how this works!
4) Needles aren’t so scary anymore.
Now, I inject my arthritis medication myself on a weekly basis and have bloodwork done every 3-6 weeks. Even after several months of being on injections, sometimes when it’s time for me to inject, it’s almost impossible to find the courage to do it, but… it gets done. You can, too.
5) People with chronic illnesses of any kind are SO INCREDIBLY STRONG.
And when people reach out to others about how they’re physically feeling, it’s most likely because they can’t do it alone anymore. Finding the strength to reach out and ask for help is difficult, but makes you a total badass. For those of you with loved ones reaching out for help, lift those people up, support them. Everyone is fighting their own battle and we especially can’t compare our battles – physically or emotionally – with someone else’s. We all must speak up and support one another!
So, raise a glass to all of those folks battling arthritis diseases today – young and old! They’re some of the strongest people I know.
Note: As I work on becoming more transparent with my life with chronic illness, I’m featuring a blog post I wrote over three years ago, not too long after being diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis. I’d love to hear your story, too! Email me at hello AT brendadalton.com.
New to the world of Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) or chronic illness? Hey! Me, too. About six months ago, while on a beach vacation with family, I woke up with major wrist pain. It escalated. Big time. Four doctors, five months, and several “it’s all in your head/nothing we can do’s” later, I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis by a rheumatologist. Here’s a bit of a crash course for staying sane when you’re diagnosed.
know your triggers
Triggers are different for everyone. Sure, there are some triggers that are across the board, but even then, it is to varying levels. A common one for PsA pals is gluten. Luckily, I didn’t have to go through the process of learning about PsA and deal with learning how to live without crusty garlic bread, chicken nuggets and the ease of eating out anywhere, anytime.
Why? Because I was already gluten sensitive! Ha.
Okay, I’m not laughing at you, if you’re trying to figure out your triggers and find out gluten is one of them. I’m laughing with you. Really. It may feel like the end of the world, but think about this: You’re not alone and it’s 2016.
Gluten-free foods are a lot more common than ever before. Sure, you’ll still get people who have no idea what gluten is and you’ll get eye-rolls when you ask for GF food because they think you’re on a “fad diet” and sometimes, if you’re not careful, you’ll get glutened (even in your own home because you forgot a brand was full of gluten).
Personally, my triggers are gluten, excess sugar, alcohol, stress/anxiety and cold fronts. Not counting the obvious triggers of too much physical activity. Others find nightshades (tomatoes, eggplants, etc.), rain or high humidity put them out of commission.
know your limits
This one is important. I’ve always been the type of person who can be up and going all day. In fact, before I segued into running my own business, I had a job that often kept me on my feet anywhere from four to 14+ hours straight.
As time wore on, fatigue set in. And it hit quickly. Frustration set in when going on a day trip or shopping for a day would leave me first, in absolute pain and second, fatigued and with burning joints for a day or three after.
I’ve learned that during holidays, visiting family, planning outings, I have to plan more than the event itself. It’s important for me to plan my week or at the very least, the day before and after the event.
It’s kind of a bummer that there are no spontaneous zip lining adventures or exploring, kayaking and going out for dinner in one day for me anymore, but man, do I thank myself when I allow a little self-care.
It has taken me months to be okay with taking a quick nap or even laying down for a little while in between client work.
It’s okay to have a rest. Don’t push yourself. It’s a battle – I consistently try to do too much and regret it the next day.
know your support system
Do you know why there are many players on a baseball team? Because they would look ridiculous trying to play pitcher and outfielder, that’s why. And they’d probably die of a heart attack from all of the running and stress.
Find your team. Your support system. A spouse, a parent, a sibling, a friend. There are even in-person and online support groups (hello, Facebook groups!) specifically for Psoriatic Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and more.
Have them hold you accountable. We all want to be strong and take care of ourselves, but with autoimmune diseases and chronic illnesses… that not always going to be easy.
It’s a hard pill to swallow. You’re going to get frustrated with your support system when they tell you to take it easy. You may feel pitied. You may even feel like you’re not heard. That’s normal.
Be open, honest and respectful with your support system. It’s okay to jump in the car with your mom and say, “I’m having a bad day.” Just please, please, please take advantage of your good and great days (or hours) and shout it from the rooftop.
Smile even when your arthritis hits your jaw and you can barely chew. Okay, that suggestion is way too chummy and inspirational for me, especially because wow, it really does suck when you try to smile with your arthritis jaw.
know your humor
Maybe that last sentence could have fallen into this category. I was in a pit of despair when PsA started to take a toll on me and especially before I found the right doctor and started treatment. In fact, it was a little like the stages of grief.
I come from a family that laughs, teases, loves sarcasm and makes jokes a ton. It’s a fact of life. There is no way I was going to let something like a chronic illness take the wind out of my sails on a daily basis.
Sausage fingers? Grab a bun and mustard. Arthritis just before you turn 30? Bring on the low-sugar, gluten-free cake and enough candles to blow the house down!
It’s okay to make fun of yourself. It’s okay to laugh at how our bodies are frankly, confused, and choose to fight against us. It’s okay to cry, too. Not everyday is going to be smiles, but trust me, you can laugh. You can power through. You got this.
Brenda is a voice of hope and humor for moms dealing with the trials and tribulations of living with chronic illness. As an advocate for those with invisible illnesses, she’s changing the way the world views chronic illness and disability, especially in young women and mothers.
Her goal is to show women they can live a fabulous life they love, even with limitations on health and diet. Her blog focuses on gluten-free entertaining, parenting tips, pregnancy and postpartum guides, shopping, and family travel.