You've learned that you have lupus. Just getting to this point might have been difficult. Getting diagnosed may have taken a long time, and you could have felt frustrated or discouraged. Now you're dealing with changes in your life and new challenges. Your friends and family may be dealing with these changes too.

After being diagnosed with lupus, you may feel many different emotions. You might be angry, depressed or fearful about losing the good health you had before, and uncertain about how lupus will affect your life. You might be unsure about what to tell your family, friends, and people you work with. Maybe you felt some relief about getting a diagnosis, but you might be concerned about your health. Possible changes in your physical appearance might be hard to deal with emotionally. It's not unusual to have these feelings.

Making Changes - For the Better

There are some common changes people living with lupus might have to cope with. You might find that you have changes in your energy level and what you can do physically. Judging how you feel each day and pacing yourself can help you accomplish the things you'd like to do, while also taking care of your health.

Changes to your lifestyle are usually necessary, including changes in the roles and responsibilities of you and your family members. Focus on your abilities and accomplishments, and don't feel that you have to "do it all" yourself.

In addition to some lifestyle adjustments, many people find strength to cope with lupus through religious faith, family, a support group, place of worship, community and hobbies.

Tips for You and Your Family

  • Talk honestly with your family - and ask them to be open with you.
  • Help your family learn about lupus, so they can understand how it can affect you and how it might affect them too.
  • Share materials about lupus with your family.
  • Encourage family members to contact the resources at the bottom of the reverse page, such as groups for families and caregivers.

There are many things you can do to take care of yourself:

  • Maintain a positive attitude and appreciate yourself. Focus on your talents, abilities and strengths.
  • Recognize your resources, such as your family, friends, coworkers, and community.
  • Don't be afraid to set goals - but be realistic and stay flexible.
  • Recognize your accomplishments, no matter how small.
  • Focus on a hobby, or start a new one.
  • Enjoy things that make you feel good. They can be as simple as pretty flowers, a good book, or doing thoughtful things for others
  • "I made myself a promise: to do one good thing for myself every day, and one good thing for someone else - even if it's just a smile."

Dealing with Stress

One of the best ways of dealing with stress is to prevent it. Here are some actions you can take:

  • Learn to politely say "no" to others when you need to take care of yourself.
  • Do some rearranging of your life - let go of things that are''t necessary

If you need to reduce your stress right away, here are some suggestions:

  • Take a few slow, deep breaths and let your shoulders relax.
  • Take a "time out," like a short walk.
  • Close your eyes and imagine a peaceful, beautiful place or experience.
  • Listen to soothing music.
  • Do some gentle stretches.
  • Sit quietly and focus your thoughts on a word, a sound, or the rhythm of your breath.
  • Do something you enjoy and find relaxing, like gardening or writing a letter.

This information is provided by the Bureau of Environmental Health within the Department of Public Health.