Photo by Pablo Heimplatz on Unsplash
Creating health in the midst of living with a chronic health condition has become a recent exploration for me within the last year.
After completing my graduate education and clinical training in January of 2017, I became very ill and was diagnosed with Adrenal Insufficiency (AI) after being sick for two and a half months.
I’m thankful to say that I’m feeling the healthiest I’ve felt in the last year!
My intention in writing this blog post is not to focus on my own health diagnosis but rather to focus on providing you with practical tools that you can utilize on your journey to gaining greater health and well-being, regardless of what diagnosis you may (or may not) have.
#1. Redefine what health means to you--this will change over time.
Initially, when I was diagnosed with AI, I totally had to redefine what health was for me. In college, I ran 30+ miles per week and still had that expectation post diagnosis. I had to get rid of that expectation. In yoga classes, you’ll often hear, “Start where you are.” Many times, we get so caught up in our expectations of where we should be that we forget where we are in the present moment. Honoring where you are from moment-to-moment, day-to-day is not a set-back, it is an acknowledgement of truth. Only from the place of truth can we create health. That said, be patient with yourself, always listen to your body and never doubt the signals it is giving you; you can always re-assess and re-define what health is for you as you progress. Remember, just because you define health one way today; doesn’t mean that’s how you’ll define it tomorrow.
#2. Find an excellent doctor that will be your partner in health.
When diagnosed with a chronic health condition, it is imperative that you find an MD/DO that partners with you in creating health. An excellent doctor will not only practice disease management but will ask you about lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, stress, relationships, etcetera. The biomedical term for this is referred to as ‘bio-psycho-social’ model. All of these factors, the biological, the psychological, and the social have a great impact on health; finding a physician that practices in this way is tremendously important.
#3. Establishing a daily self-care practice is a must!
You read that correctly, a daily self-care practice. The truth is, self-care is health-care; though, often our health is the last thing on our to-do list. The great thing about a self-care practice is, it can evolve over time. As I mentioned in tip number one, don’t allow your expectations to get the best of you here. Set a daily goal that is achievable, this is key. Another suggestion is to make a habit out of doing that self-care practice at the same time each day, this helps create consistency. When it comes to creating a sustainable self-care practice, make sure to take a whole-person approach; integrating movement, stress reduction, social time, and spirituality as all these elements together create health. Remember, a little self-care goes a long way!
Say it with me….
SELF. CARE. IS. HEALTH. CARE. :-)
P.S. The month of April is Adrenal Disease Awareness Month. Given this, my next blog post will address the dangerous misinformation found on the internet and from alternative health providers in regards to adrenal health. Stay tuned!