Patient Blogs | Ankylosing Spondylitis
Managing Your Mental Health With AS
photo of man chopping vegetables

Our mental health is something we should all be aware of. It has the ability to affect every part of our life – physically and emotionally. Our mental health can affect the people around us as well. So if something that has the ability to affect everything in our lives, shouldn’t we treat it as something that is as important as eating and drinking?

Some mornings, I wake up and just know that it is going to be “that kind of day.” Whether it’s because I’m still emotionally tired from the day before or my body just won’t cooperate with me. When these mornings happen, I try to step back and take a deep breath. For me, it’s like hitting the reset button on my expectations for the day. For the rest of the day, I will just focus on the things I can do and not dwell on the things I can’t. I know this sounds simple, but it’s a hard thing for me to do. On these days, I will tell my wife so she can adjust her expectations as well.

It is also important to remember that our mental health doesn’t just affect us. If you are stressed, depressed, or angry, the people around you will react to that. Those feelings may spread to those around us as well. When I start to get these feelings, I like to take a “timeout.” Sometimes it’s as simple as walking into another room to get a drink of water. Anything that will give me a minute to take a deep breath. Also don’t be afraid to be honest with the people you are around. You will be surprised how understanding people can be.

My mental health has an effect on my physical body as well. When I am stressed, my body will tense up and I will have muscle spasms later in the day. Same thing happens when I’m angry. When I’m in a good mood, my whole body seems to be relaxed and I just physically feel better. I always try to schedule some “me time” during my day. It doesn’t have to be a long time. It can be 5 or 10 minutes just to do something I like to do. For me, that is usually playing a game on my phone or scrolling through social media.

Another thing that has improved my mental health is finding a hobby. Mine is cooking. I love to cook and have been cooking all the meals in our house for a while now. I love researching recipes and different ways to prepare ingredients. It doesn’t matter what your hobby is as long as it brings you happiness. If you love to sit outside and watch birds, then sit outside and watch the birds! This is your time to have fun.

If you are having any mental health issues, it is always a good idea to reach out to a mental health professional or talk to your doctor.




Photo Credit: PeopleImages / E+ via Getty Images

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Daniel Garcia

Daniel Garcia

Diagnosed since 2003

Daniel Garcia was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis in 2003. He enjoys gardening and traveling in his pop-up camper with his wife, Melissa, and dogs Chloe and Tilly on his good days. Garcia writes about travel on and gardening, technology, and DIY on You can connect with Daniel via his Instagram account.

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