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There’s an old adage that’s been around forever, but I saw it the first time several years ago on a co-worker’s desk. It said, “Eat a live toad first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen the rest of the day.”

I heard it again a few years later in a time management seminar. The point being is that if you do the one thing you dislike most first and get it out of your way, the rest of your day will be both more positive and more productive.

At the time I was working in an administrative role and it required a lot of filing — which I hated then and I hate now even more. The filing was my “live toad.” So I tried it. The last thing I’d do at the end of the day was get my stack of filing organized. Then first thing the next morning, I’d get a cup of coffee and my stack of filing and by the time I was done with my coffee, I was done filing for the entire day. The theory was correct. I no longer sat at my desk all day looking at and dreading the growing stack of filing — I was free to work on things that I enjoyed.

For many of us with RA, waking up in the morning is the worst time of the day. It’s often when we’re the stiffest and most sore. Often movement (and the occasional pain reliever) will relieve the symptoms enough to get on with our day. I know I’m like that. I tend to dread those first waking moments when I lay there and try to figure out how stiff I am and how much various bits and parts of me hurt.

RA has become my new “live toad.”

But you know what? I’ve found, at least for me, that the rest of the adage is true.  If I can eat my live toad, i.e., get up and get moving and start my day, I do better the rest of the day. Even if I have stiffness or pain the rest of the day, it’s not as bad as what I experience in those first waking hours. So when I do get those twinges (or bolts) of pain, I remind myself that I’ve already been through the worst my day has to offer in RA terms, so it’s all better from there.

I hope all your toads are small ones and that the frogs you kiss all turn into princes (or princesses, if you prefer). Thanks for checking in.

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