Stress can manifest itself in negative ways. It can make dealing with autoimmune disease so much harder. The problem is, while stress can exasperate autoimmune disease, the reverse is also true: autoimmune disease can exasperate stress. These tips are the foundational ones to remember – they are not rocket science and they are the no-brainers everyone tells you to do. But they are so much easier-said-than-done that it bears repeating them here… even if it helps one person get clarify on how to reduce stress and live one day better.
You may be used to caring for others, but when you have an autoimmune disease, it’s especially important that you make time for self-care. Allow yourself to take some quiet moments and time for hobbies. Give yourself some peace of mind with a walk, by reading a book, listening to music, or just closing your eyes for a little while. Spend time enjoying some healthy, fun hobbies that put a smile on your face.
Pay attention to your body. You may notice that you start to tense up, feel sweaty or clammy, or get headaches when you’re stressed. These are warning signs. When stress comes on, remind yourself that it’s time to take a break and do some stress relieving exercises or switch up the agenda a bit.
Sometimes you need to set up boundaries at work and at home. You need to be honest with your boss, coworkers, and loved ones about what you can and can’t accomplish. If you over-commit yourself, it can place a heavy burden on you and trigger flares.
You need people you can go to that understand you have an autoimmune disease, people who won’t judge you when you’re honest with them about how you feel. You want people you can count on, so call on your friends and family, or find a support group for people dealing with a similar condition.
Don’t judge yourself if you can’t get everything on your agenda accomplished. Be okay with not being perfect… no one is. Put fewer expectations on yourself, and instead spend time making reasonable goals that you can accomplish without pushing yourself beyond your limits.
There are a lot of ways you can relieve stress: deep breathing, meditation, listening to the right music. Find stress relieving exercises that work well for you and make time to ease your mind.
Easily the hardest one. Many people seem like they’re coping, but they actually haven’y fully accepted that they have an autoimmune disease. Once you get to the point of acceptance, you can live your life the way you need to. You won’t put too many expectations on yourself and you’ll learn that this is just the way life is now. Once you accept your condition, you can live your fullest life, finding ways to feel better and maximize your days.
Take steps today to ease the heavy burden you’ve been carrying with you. While stress won’t cease to exist, you can keep it from running your life or making your autoimmune disease worse. Let yourself off the hook, make time for rest, learn stress relaxation exercises, and accept where you are and what you can do. Be honest with who you are and set healthy boundaries as needed.
About the Author
Katie Cleary is founder of AutoimmuneMom.com. She lives with her autoimmune conditions and her family in Austin, Texas.
This blog post was originally published by AutoimmuneMom.com, written by Katie Cleary, and first published on Nov 4, 2018.