Most people with chronic illnesses agree that flare-ups are one of the most frustrating and annoying parts of living with a chronic illness. One moment you feel really good. You’re able to walk around the block, make dinner and even wash your hair. Then, a few hours or day later, the pain sets in. Your entire body hurts as if it were on fire. You feel weak, tired and exasperated. Even walking or turning over in bed hurts. You simply wish the pain would STOP!
Many people experience these flare-ups on a daily or weekly basis. The interesting thing about these flare-ups is that they are extremely personalized in nature. For instance, two people diagnosed with the same chronic illness will not necessarily experience the exact same triggers or intensity of symptoms during a flare-up. One person with fibromyalgia may be able to walk a mile and play with their kids without experiencing even a minor flare-up. However, when they add one more mile to the mix, boom! They feel the pain set in and the flare-up starts. Contrarily, another person may only be able to walk around the block before the pain becomes excruciating. Either way, flare-ups can and will happen.
The good news is that you can lessen painful flare-ups and have more control over your destiny by developing a plan of action that is directly related to your illness and lifestyle. By living inside your energy envelope, you can conquer the painful moments to achieve more happiness and joy in your life. Here are some tips:
Know Your Personal Triggers
Millions of Americans living with chronic illness know that it’s easier to prevent a flare-up than deal with it after the fact. Therefore, your primary goal is avoiding a flare-up in the first place. One flare-up can take days, weeks, even months, to run its course. Therefore, the most import strategy is to intimately know your body. Understand exactly what triggers your flares. Keep a journal of your activities so that you can track and pinpoint triggers, and avoid them in the future. You may have to eliminate interactions with people who cause stress and you’ll certainly need to live within your energy envelope to avoid flare-ups. Removing yourself from activities or situations that will make you feel worse and engaging in more exercises that stave off flares are critical preventive tactics.
Watch Your Diet and Nutrition
A diet chock-full of solid nutrition and a healthy balance of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats is paramount to fighting flare-ups. I’m not talking about weight management here; rather, solid nutrition will nourish your body and help you thwart flare-ups. Your body reacts to what it receives – so eat the right things. Stick with lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and avoid caffeine, cookies, candy, chips, and the like. Stick to proper nutrition and incorporate supplements if recommended by your physician.
A Stable Emotional Well-being
It is always a good idea to work on your physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional well-being. With respect to your emotional health, understand that you lack certain hormones, and brain chemicals may affect your mood. This is why exercising within your energy envelope is recommended because aside from keeping you fit, it helps relieve stress and flush out toxins, and enables you to feel better while facilitating a deeper sleep so you awaken rejuvenated and relaxed. The key, however, is to avoid overdoing it. Instead, listen to your body and know how far to push it to prevent a flare-up. You may have to gradually work your way into more exercise or take a break from it if you find that most exercise worsens symptoms. In a nutshell, you’ll have to find what works and steer clear of what doesn’t.
Finally, start talking about your condition. If you can’t find a support group, go online and find a group that talks about it on Live Chat. There are plenty to supportive groups on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, and literally hundreds of forums dedicated to people with chronic illness. In addition, journal about your experiences. Discuss how you feel about your life, and release pent-up emotions. You can even watch funny movies to release endorphins or sing karaoke with friends. The key is to release stress and have fun.
Learn to enjoy life and live within your energy limits, and you’ll be able to achieve more than you’ve ever dreamed possible. Remember it starts with you, and it starts NOW.