Let’s be real, young adults tend to have busy lives, whether it’s school or work, social events or family obligations, many of us have a full schedule. It can be difficult to manage this when adding doctor’s appointments, medical procedures, flare ups and everything else that comes along with SpA to the mix. Below you will find some tips to help you manage your time.
1. Get a planner. Some like the good old-fashioned paper planner while others prefer using the calendars associated with their phone or email account, but either way this is essential. If you’re using a paper planner, it may be beneficial to get one that has a monthly overview as well as a weekly one.
2. Colour code. Mark everything that has to do with work in one colour, doctor’s appointments in another and so on. It’s also possible to do this with online calendars.
3. Block out time for what is most important to you. If you need to stretch for 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes before bed, block that time out of your schedule and make it a non-negotiable. Your well-being is imperative and should be a priority.
4. Reduce stress levels through practicing regular stress-reducing activities (e.g. exercise, meditation, talking to friends, listening to music, etc.). You can maximize your time efficiency when you have a clearer mind.
5. Maintain a regular and adequate sleep schedule. Since SpA usually comes with chronic fatigue, healthy sleep patterns are important for optimizing productivity and efficiency throughout the day.
6. Try clumping your appointments together during a period of time when you’re less busy. By doing this you can avoid having to run to the doctor’s during finals season or when you’re facing a lot of deadlines at work.
7. Try virtual appointments. If appointments take up a lot of your time, especially the commute, ask your physician if you can do virtual meetings when possible. That way you save the commute time and can have this appointment from anywhere.
8. Ask your HCPs if they work on the weekend or in the evening. If you have busy weeks with school or work, then weekend or evening appointments may be convenient for you.
9. Ask your HCPs if you can contact them directly via email or text. Sometimes you may just have a quick question for them and you don’t have time to call the receptionist and wait on hold for what feels like hours. Many physicians work with platforms that allow you to directly message them so it’s worth a shot to ask them if it’s possible.
10. Be realistic. If you have an infusion planned Monday morning and you know it knocks you out for the rest of the day, don’t commit to girl’s night out. If you have an assignment due the day after your MRI and you know you’ll never finish on time, ask your professor for an extension. By being realistic about your time commitments, you set yourself up for success. If you plan too many things in one day it’ll be impossible to check everything off the list which may cause you disappointment.
11. If you find that you are struggling with your commitments & responsibilities, take time to take a step back and reflect upon what strategies work for you and which ones do not. Adjust your lifestyle accordingly until you find routines and habits that work.
12. Join the CSA young adult virtual support group and closed Facebook to surround yourself with others who can relate to what you are going through. We also have a Facebook group for all the moms out there who are trying to manage SpA while raising a family.