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One of my [ex] husbands used to get aggravated when I would get home from work just in time to field yet another call or email from the office. He felt that “our” time was being compromised. I used to assure him that nothing was more important than he was, but I did have a few things more urgent.

In stress management, you learn about managing priorities, and even the least important item becomes urgent if it’s ignored long enough.

I used to have a good friend who was a single mother of two school-aged kids. Her priority was nutrition and so evening meal time with a good dinner on the table was very important to her. However, being a working woman, that meant that other things would have to slide to take the time to shop, prepare, and clean up after a home-cooked meal. One of those things was housework. Her solution was that once a week (I think it was Thursdays) was designated as “clean-up day”. She’d pick up the kids and they’d get fast food to go for dinner (instead of a home-cooked meal), then they would spend a couple of hours cleaning house. It didn’t hurt the kids to eat fast food once a week and her housework got caught up on a regular basis.

In today’s busy world, it’s difficult to juggle the multiple roles we all have. And if you’re dealing with a chronic disease like RA, that’s a whole different level of management skills. Not to mention that RA can and does make it difficult just to deal with everyday life.

As I’ve followed other RA bloggers, especially those that are more affected by the disease than I am currently, I have often wondered how they manage when there are days when they need help and support just to get out of bed. And I’ve thought many times what a toll is must be for the spouse or partner who is also affected by the disease, but from a different perspective.

All of these thoughts congealed for me when Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy (www.rheumatoidarthritisguy.com) recently talked about his struggles and focusing on priorities. He had to put some things – important things – aside for awhile as he worked on health issues. Now that he is stronger, it is time for him to pay more attention to other aspects of his life. I don’t envy him his situation, but I applaud his courage and his thoughtfulness in making very difficult decisions.

I think sometimes it’s easy to forget that we aren’t the only ones that suffer from the disease, and that there are other things that are both important and urgent. It would be great if we could all take off one day a week from RA – like my friend and her housecleaning. Or better yet, six days of no-RA to take care of the really important stuff in life and one day to deal with the disease.

I hope your priorities are clear and your decisions bring the results you need. Thanks for checking in.