How to Make Mindfulness Practical When You’re Chronically Ill

How to Make Mindfulness Practical When You’re Chronically Ill

Talk of mindfulness is everywhere. You have no doubt heard people recommending mindfulness as a method of coping with all sorts of health issues. While it’s no ‘quick fix’ or ‘miracle cure’, mindfulness truly can be extremely beneficial for those of us with chronic illness, and it has proven results!

The benefits of mindfulness for chronic illness

Mindfulness is all about being present in the moment, which promotes a sense of calm and relaxation. This alone can provide a feeling of comfort and relief when we’re going through a lot in our lives. This 2019 study defines the practice of mindfulness as: “intentionally observing the body and mind nonreactively while embracing the individual experience and accepting things as they are.”

When you live with chronic illness, you are often in a prolonged state of ‘fight or flight’, which means that your stress response is overworked. Your body and mind are not designed to handle this prolonged stress, which can understandably take its toll. Stress can contribute to chronic pain and other chronic symptoms. Thankfully mindfulness can markedly reduce stress levels, easing chronic symptoms and reducing the negative effects that come with being in a state of stress for so long.

It’s not only stress that mindfulness can help with: regular mindfulness practices can help us to gain greater control over our emotions and enable us to regulate them more effectively. This creates a more stable mood and an enhanced sense of wellbeing. This increased emotional regulation can even help with mental illness (such as anxiety and depression) which so often accompanies chronic illness.

The benefits of mindfulness for chronic illness

Often the experience of living with chronic illness can create a sense of fear of doing something that may worsen your symptoms (which is completely understandable). This fear can lead to fear-fuelled avoidance, meaning we avoid certain activities in the hope we can avoid a ‘flare’. Unfortunately, this fear-fuelled avoidance can actually worsen symptoms over time. Mindfulness can help us to overcome those fears and deal with them in a calmer, more constructive way. 

When you live with chronic illness, it can be incredibly hard to sleep. Often even when we do sleep, it’s non-restorative and restless, meaning we don’t feel much of the benefit. Mindfulness can help with more restful, regular sleep. Mindfulness can even help us to be more self-compassionate and build our confidence, as well as helping us to feel more motivated to self-manage our chronic illness.These are only a few of the benefits of mindfulness for chronic illness!

Making mindfulness practical:

Now that you know just how useful mindfulness can be, you might be wondering how to get started. It can be tough to know how to engage in mindfulness in a practical, realistic way. Let’s go through some tips to help you introduce mindfulness into your day to day life.

Figure out what type of mindfulness works for you. There are so many different types of mindfulness such as meditations, visualization and guided imagery, mindful movement, body scan meditations, progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) and more! This variety is great because it means that if you try a style of mindfulness and discover it’s not for you, it doesn’t mean mindfulness can’t work for you! Take your time to do some research and experiment until you find what feels best for you. 

Figure out what type of mindfulness works for you.

Start off with 5 minutes at a time. You don’t have to dedicate lots of time to mindfulness to feel the benefits, especially not when you’re just starting out. Starting out with 5 or 10 minutes at a time can be a sustainable way to introduce mindfulness. You don’t even have to do this every single day to gain the benefits (although if you can this would be fantastic)! 2 or 3 times a week would be a great way to start out. Being as consistent as possible is key. You don’t need any special equipment to get started. Find 5 minutes in a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed or distracted, and you’re ready to go. 

Don’t worry about sitting in a specific position. You don’t have to sit with your legs crossed in an upright position for mindfulness to work. Don’t worry if that simply doesn’t work for you. There’s no magic pose that you have do to gain the benefits of mindfulness. Sit or lie down in any position that is comfortable for you. 

If you feel pain or other symptoms, don’t overthink it. Let’s face it, it’s likely that while you’re sitting and trying to quiet your mind, you might experience pain or other symptoms of your chronic illness. That’s ok. Don’t worry! Mindfulness is about being present in the moment and engaging your senses. If you are experiencing a symptom, feel what you’re feeling as part of the present moment. Try not to overthink it or worry about it. That sounds easier said than done, but with practice it can get easier. Of course that might not always be possible. If you’re having a flare or a severe symptom, you might need to stop your mindfulness practice for the time being. That’s totally valid too! You can always try again later. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed or that you can’t practice mindfulness. 

Find guided mindfulness resources. You don’t have to sit and meditate alone. There are plenty of guided mindfulness sessions online you can access (and many for free!) which will guide you through a meditation step by step. Some people find guided audio or video mindfulness sessions really helpful because it gives them a voice to focus on and clear, relaxing guidance to follow. 

Find guided mindfulness resources to help you be mindful.

Consider mindfulness courses and mindfulness therapy. There are mindfulness courses you can engage in which can help guide you through learning mindfulness skills. You may be able to find some in your local area which you could attend in person, or you could find an online course or app. Mindfulness is often integrated into other types of therapy to treat chronic illness and mental health issues. You could ask your doctor, specialist or therapist if this is something you could involve in your sessions. Alternatively, you could seek a specific mindfulness therapist. If you do so, ensure they are properly qualified

Utilize mindfulness in bed to help you sleep. If you struggle to sleep, you could practice mindfulness a little while before you go to bed at night to get you in a relaxed mood. Another great way to utilize mindfulness to help you sleep is to listen to a guided mindfulness session in bed to help you drift off. Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is really great for this purpose because it takes you through relaxing each area of the muscles in your body. This can ease muscle pain as well as encourage relaxation. 

Consider trying mindful movement. For some people, sitting or lying still and trying to relax simply doesn’t work. This is where mindful movement can come into its own. Mindful movement typically involves slow flowing movements. While you’re doing these movements you pay attention to your breathing, to how your body feels and to what is happening in that moment. Yoga and tai chi are types of mindful movement. You can even make other exercises mindful, such as going for a mindful walk. When you’re walking, you might pay attention to how your feet feel as they are hitting the ground. You may notice what sounds you can hear and what you can see around you for example. You’re focusing on exactly what is happening in that moment on your walk, not on the past or the future. Mindful movement brings all of the same benefits of mindfulness, as well as incorporating the benefits of exercise and activity for those with chronic pain. It’s all about what works for you!

Make daily tasks mindful. We don’t always have the time or energy required to dedicate to setting aside specific time for mindfulness each day. However, as you learn the skills of mindfulness, you can make daily tasks mindful that you would be doing anyway. As we learn to pay attention to what is happening in the moment, (if our mind wanders we simply bring our attention back to the present) we are being mindful. Over time this can become a positive habit, and will feel less like a conscious effort. This study explains that, “repetitive attempts to increase state mindfulness leads to an incremental escalation of the general tendency to be mindful in a more automatic manner.”

An example of doing daily tasks mindfully could be eating a meal mindfully. Take your time to focus on how your food smells and looks before you eat it. As you taste it, take the time to really take notice of the flavours, the movement of your mouth and tongue, and the feeling of enjoyment you may experience. You could make taking a shower mindful. Pay attention to how the water feels on your skin. Take notice of the smells of your shower gel or soap. Think about what colours you can see (maybe the bottles in your shower or your sponges are a certain colour). 

Make daily tasks mindful.

Be kind to and encourage yourself. If things don’t go to plan, for example if you can’t quiet your mind or you miss a week of your mindfulness practice, don’t be too hard on yourself! It doesn’t have to be perfect. Remember you’re learning a skill and that takes time. Encourage yourself and be kind to yourself. If you try all sorts of different mindfulness techniques and are just finding that it’s not for you, that’s completely valid too. There are plenty of other chronic illness management options that you can explore. It doesn’t mean you can’t try mindfulness again later down the line if you want to, so don’t worry!

Mindfulness is about you!

Fundamentally, mindfulness is about what works for you. If you can find ways to integrate mindfulness into your life, it can be well worth the effort and have wonderful benefits. Remember that there’s no specific ‘right way’ to practice mindfulness. It’s all about what works for you and your life.

About the Author:

Ann-Marie D’Arcy-Sharpe is 33 years old and works as a freelance writer and blogger. She lives with bipolar disorder, fibromyalgia and arthritis. She writes for Pathways Pain Relief, a chronic pain relief app and blog. The app is created by pain patients and backed by the latest pain science. The app uses mind body therapies to help pain patients achieve natural, long lasting pain relief.

How Watching ‘My Girl’ Taught Me Coping Skills for Life and Grief

How watching My Girl helped Me

 Two days before Christmas my great-grandma passed away, and I needed something to help me cope with her passing so I decided to go on Netflix and search through the newly added movies. And there it was, a 1991 movie, My Girl which follows the story of 11 -year -old tomboy named Vada Sultness who lives with her father who is a  funeral director and her grandma who has Alzheimer’s disease in the summer of 1972 in Madison Pennsylvania. Vada is also the outcast of her group of classmates and it didn’t help that her best friend was Thomas J.Sennett is a boy. 

From the second I saw Vada pop up on my screen ridding her bike with Thomas, and getting into trouble while trying to find this to occupy their minds for a long summer I had fallen in love with My Girl. I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen as Thomas and Vada do many things together like go to the lake and going to the ice cream shop to share an ice cream. 

How watching My Girl helped Me

It’s OK to Cry!

Although Vada seems to be having the summer of her life, she is struggling with the death of her mother, who died before she was born and asks her friends and family a ton of questions about her mother. Throughout My Girl, you see Vada and Thomas friendship blossom into a typical pre-teen romance. Thomas and Vada become inseparable but unfortunately, Thomas passed away after having a severe reaction to a bee sting while walking into the woods alone. Doctors couldn’t save him from his death, but while watching My Girl, I learned it’s okay to cry and grieve for as long as I need to. 

When it comes to grief there is no time period on when we can stop grieving and stop missing your loved ones and the memories you shared with your loved one that is no longer with you. 

But My Girl also teaches you although your loved one isn’t physically with you on earth anymore they are with you. They’re always with you in the memories you have with your loved one, therefore they’re never gone. As long as you carry on the lessons that you were taught by that loved one, their memory will never fade away. 

It’s OK to Put Yourself First

I learned from watching My Girl that it’s okay to take breaks and cry and then come back to everyday life when grieving. Your self-care and mindset come first before anything else, and you should take care of your self when grieving before doing the task you would normally do.  

It's okay to put yourself first when you're grieving

Your health is important while you’re grieving, and you shouldn’t put others before you when grieving, because you have to make sure that your mental state is okay before worrying about anything else. Watching My Girl taught me it’s okay to show emotion and not to be afraid to cry if you need to as well.

Tylia Flores is a 24-year-old born with cerebral palsy. Although her condition has affected her mobility, it has never affected her will and determination to make a difference in the world. Through her many life challenges and obstacles, she discovered her passion for writing. Tylia’s goal in life is to share her stories with the world.

My Medication Nightmare: What Should You do if You Run out of Your Medication

empty prescription bottles, out of meds, what to do if you run out of medication, tips, hashimoto's, thyroid, symptoms

We’ve all been there. Something goes wrong somewhere and it delays us being able to get the medicines we’ve come to rely on to make it through each day. Maybe it’s a problem with a doctor writing a prescription in time before you run out. Maybe you have the physical prescription, but the pharmacy it out of the medication and needs to order it. Maybe funds are tight, like they are for many of us, and you just can’t afford the medication. It could really be any reason, but most of us have had times when this has been an issue. So now what?

My medication nightmare began over a month ago. I live in the Canary Islands, near Spain, but I order the thyroid supplement I take for my Hashimoto’s through a company in the United States. Since it’s being shipped internationally and has to go through customs, I am always sure to allow plenty of extra time. I’ve never had a problem, until now that is. It’s been over a month and I still have not been able to receive my medication. No matter what I do, I seem to hit another roadblock. At this point, I’ve actually cancelled the order and attempted to reorder in hopes I won’t have the same issues, as I’ve never encountered this problem before, but only time will tell.

So what can you do if you run out of a medication? Hopefully, you’ll never be in this predicament, but if you are, here are some things to try.

First, try to avoid the problem. It happens. Many of us take multiple medications throughout the day. It’s easy to lose track of how many pills you need to make it through the week. You look at the bottle and think you’ll be okay, until, before you know it, you’re down to your last pills. If you can, try to order the medication before you’ll actually be out of it. This will also allow time for the pharmacy to order it if necessary. Some pharmacies have automatic refills to help with this, but a good way to ensure you won’t run out is to make a habit of reordering the prescription a week before the date it was last filled. For example, if you last filled your prescription on the 20th of the month, reorder it on the 13th of the next month. Set a reminder if you need to.

Second, pay attention to how many refills you have left. Often with chronic illnesses, you may take a specific medication for months or years on end. With the exception of pain medications, doctors will often allow multiple refills on a single prescription. Try to pay attention to this so you’re not trying to refill a prescription when no refills are available. Even when you or your pharmacist notices a new prescription is needed, the doctor’s office may not be able to fulfill the request immediately for any number of reasons. Therefore, it’s important to allow time for this. The one week rule from the previous paragraph works well here too. Ideally, you may have realized the need at your last appointment and requested the prescription then, but allowing the week buffer leaves enough time for your pharmacist to contact the doctor and the doctor to respond.

empty prescription bottle, time to refill, out of medication, tips, pharmacist, what to do if you run out of meds, hashimoto,'s, thyroid

But what if you miscalculate or are even away from home and run out of your medication? Or maybe it’s a weekend and your doctor’s office it closed? There are a few things you can do. If you’re using your home pharmacy and have a history of taking a particular medication, your pharmacist may be able to give you an emergency supply of the medication, or just enough to make it through a couple of days until a prescription can be attained. You can also take the original bottle from the prescription into another pharmacy and, providing you have refills, the can fill the prescription or contact the prescribing doctor or even an on-call doctor when necessary. In a pinch, you may also be able to find a walk-in clinic and have the doctor there address your prescription needs.

Even with all of this in mind, sometimes life happens and you’re stuck without your meds. As a chronic illness sufferer, I know that with some of my medications, even just missing a single dose can make a huge difference. Then, of course, dealing with the resulting flare can be horrific and impact every aspect of life, from sleep habits, to brain fog, to eating, and participating in daily activities. This is the position I currently find myself in.

pharmacy. pharmacist, medication, prescriptions, out of medication, tips, emergency, what to do, hashimoto's, thyroid

As I said earlier, I’ve been waiting for my thyroid supplement for over a month, but it’s caught up in customs. Initially, I tried rationing my medication to try to make it last longer in hopes that my order would arrive from the US. I would either take less doses each day or take smaller doses to stretch out what I had left. I figured something was better than nothing and really expected this to be a temporary situation. My body can definitely tell the difference. Even with the smaller doses, I was much more tired than usual, experienced more migraines, and just generally had more pain.

Now I’ve been without my medication for a while, and my body is not happy. I’ve become virtually dysfunctional. My fatigue is unending and the pain is unbearable. It’s hard for me to complete work, do household tasks, and even spend time with my daughter. All I want to do is stay in bed all day.

thyroid, hashimoto's, hypothyroid, hyperthyroid, medication, effects of not taking meds, symptoms

As much as I’d love to build a blanket fort and not come out until this nightmare is over, life must go on. For me right now, that means trying to organize my house and make it more livable as I’ve recently moved. I don’t feel well. Like I said, I’m exhausted, weak, and in pain, which is making it difficult to focus on even basic tasks. In the life of a Chargie, these factors can lead to disaster.

Not being able to take my medications has effected me in ways I would have never imagined. Recently, I was trying to make my house a little less chaotic and more settled after my move. I decided I would at least try to get rid of some of the empty boxes scattered throughout my house, as I thought this task required very little energy or concentration. Well, Things didn’t quite go as I had planned.

out of meds, symptoms, migraine, fatigue, weakness, pain, exhaustion, hashimoto's

I was attempting to fold a larger box to get it out of the way. Like I said, I’ve been feeling weak and my dexterity is waning from being off of my meds for so long, so the box slipped out of my hands. I bent down to try to catch it, when SMACK!!! I hit my head on the corner of a cabinet. OUCH!!! As if I didn’t already have enough problems, I managed to give myself a concussion. Even the most menial tasks can require Herculean effort on a bad day. For more on this story, check out my YouTube video above.

Through all this pain and aggravation, I did learn a few things. First, plan ahead. Normally, I do this, but this time it wasn’t enough as my meds are still being held hostage. Maybe now I know that what I thought was more than sufficient time may not be. Second, have a Plan B. In my case, there’s really not much more I could have done for this particular medicine, but it’s good to know alternatives if you do find yourself out of a medication. Panic and stress will only make everything worse. Most importantly, if you do find yourself in this situation, be gentle with yourself. If you are already in a vulnerable and weakened position from being without your meds, pushing yourself will generally make you feel worse. While yes, life has to go on to some extent, pick and choose your battles so you don’t make your flare worse than it needs to be. Everything else will still be there when you’re feeling better.

missed medication, hashimoto's, thyroid, tips, self care, symptoms

6 Tips For Working With Chronic Back Pain

Tips for working with chronic back pain

Almost everyone experiences back pain from time to time… but what about those of us that live with degenerative disc disease, sciatica, nerve pain issues etc?! It can be extremely difficult to focus through any type of chronic pain, and working with chronic back pain can be near impossible at times. I’ve been living and working with chronic back pain since a car accident in 2013, so I’m sharing a few of my best tips.

Listen to Your Body

No pain, no gain? Nope, that doesn’t apply to me anymore! I’ve learned the hard way that pushing through the pain isn’t a smart choice for me most of the time. While I try not to focus on my pain, I cannot ignore what my body is trying to tell me. Keeping a journal or notebook can help you to understand what triggers cause your pain to flare up. What were you doing the day BEFORE a sciatica flare? Have you been sitting in a new position? Sleeping differently? Writing down your day to day activities can help you to spot triggers (especially if the pain is a newer issue), and to avoid them in the future. 

Move frequently. I’m not suggesting you walk 10 miles on your break, but rather take more frequent breaks to gently move your body. If you’re lucky enough to work from home, this will likely be easier than if you work in an office. Hopefully, your employer will understand that frequent breaks will help to keep your back from seizing up! I’ve found that I shouldn’t sit for more than an hour, which is why I make it a point to get up, stretch, and walk around my house a bit. Take a call while standing up, walking slowly, or doing some exercises that you learned at physical therapy.

Take frequent breaks to manage your pain levels while working. Take a call while standing up, walking slowly, or doing some exercises that you learned at physical therapy.

Make Your Environment as Comfortable as Possible

Create a work environment that works for you! If you’re lucky enough to be self employed or work from home, this is certainly easier. You’ll often find me working on my laptop on my recliner, with my favorite supportive pillows and a heating pad. Investing in a supportive chair and furniture can also be a huge help. A large therapy ball is also a great affordable tool to switch out with your desk chair occasionally. Having good lighting so you don’t need to lean forward or squint at your screen (effecting your posture) is also extremely helpful! 

Working with chronic back pain tips: make your environment as comfortable as possible and keep items for stretching nearby.

Life is hard enough as it is, try to make things easier on yourself! I always have heating pads, ice packs, a foam roller, a lacrosse ball, a yoga mat, and my various favorite comfort items nearby. If I put them in a closet or a hard to reach area then I am not as likely to use them. Yes, my husband used to find it annoying, but he’s gotten used to me working from home and all of the things that I need to make it possible! Also, I strive to keep my desk and office area free of unnecessary clutter and paperwork. As much as I love cute knick knacks, they only make for more work for cleaning your space.

Mindset Matters

Adjust your expectations. Note: I said adjust, not lower (my therapist tells me that our words have an impact on our mental health, and lowering our expectations sure sounds depressing). If you’re able to set your own schedule and goals, make them manageable for what YOU want to accomplish. It’s easier said then done, but try to stay in our own lane! If you have quotas, clients, or deadlines to meet that are set by others, be open and honest with them about your capabilities. Let your employer know that sometimes your pain flares and it is beyond your control. I’ve had to share my health issues with my clients and most are far more understanding than I had feared they would be. Plus, I work hard to set realistic expectations for not only my clients, but for myself. 

Prioritize ruthlessly. Can I write three blog posts in one day? Nope, probably not. Can I prioritize work that has to be completed today first, leaving emails and following up to messages for later? Yes. Not only do I prioritize my to-do list every day, I also prioritize my self-care. Massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, and other medical treatments help keep my chronic pain at a ‘manageable’ level. They’re also expensive and sometimes exhausting. Personally, I am lucky enough to be able to work my schedule around the appointments that I need to prioritize. I also have learned to adjust my spending to accommodate these expenses as well. Would I like to go out to dinner more often or drive a newer car? Yes, but those things won’t improve my quality of life as much as my self-care expenses do.

Prioritize your to do list to ensure you can accomplish your most important work first. Don't forget to prioritize your self care as well when living with chronic pain.

Most importantly, try to treat yourself with kindness and give yourself the grace you’d give your friends. We cannot be superman or superwoman, because they are fictional characters. No one can do it all, and that is okay!

Jenna Green is the creator Full of Grit & Grace, a blog and community for people who cannot work a traditional 9-5 job. She’s an outspoken spoonie with Multiple Sclerosis, Dystonia, Degenerative Disc disease, chronic pain, and a whole lot of grit. She strives to help others (and herself) to learn to give themselves grace while going through tough times. She’s a dog mom, auntie extradonaire, fashion lover, and (mostly) optimist.

5 Tips For Managing Relationships With Celiac Disease

Tip for managing relationship with celiac disease - support

Tip number 1 is probably the hardest but most important. Don’t accept anything but support. 

Only Accept Support

This is something that can be difficult. Especially if you have close family and friends who just don’t seem to get it. 

Honestly, if they cared, they’d get with the program.

I’m not talking about the people who mean well but accidentally slip up. I’m talking about the people who introduce you as “one of those gluten-free people” or who don’t apologize when they accidentally serve you non-gluten-free food. 

When even the smallest crumb can determine if you’re going to be a slave to the porcelain throne for the next few days, you have to take things seriously.

Now sometimes you need to “earn” support. Despite having a pretty serious diagnosis behind you, sometimes people need convincing of how real this disease is.

My top convincing statements:

  • My body literally attacks itself when I eat gluten
  • I’m at higher risk for stomach cancer when I eat gluten
  • I’m at higher risk for osteoporosis 
  • I’m sick for days after eating gluten

Try anything that conveys the severity.

If they still don’t get it, distance is your friend and when you do run into these people, make it clear whenever possible that this is not just some fad diet you’re following for a few months, this is for life.


While support is vital to managing relationships with Celiac Disease, you can’t just expect everyone to learn about your condition themselves.

Celiac disease is tricky, and you can share as much or as little as you want with people. It’s important, however, that people understand that this condition is a lifelong condition. This means you aren’t going gluten-free temporarily. This diet is for life.

Basically, managing your relationships with Celiac means everyone including yourself being fully aware of what this condition entails.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

Being gluten-free with Celiac Disease can be exhausting. Watching for ways people can contaminate your things and food (like when your friend eats a sandwich and then grabs your notes) is time-consuming and energy draining. I swear I wash my hands almost every hour out of fear.

tip for relationship with celiac - ask for help

Being aware and advocating for yourself can be overwhelming so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Personally, I ask my friends to act as buffers for me when I order at restaurants like Chipotle. I know I am the most unpopular person in the building when I ask the line to change their gloves and serving utensils in support of my allergy. Having people in front and behind you to prevent hearing what people are saying under their breath can be the world of difference. Even just knowing you have 2 people in the building who support this whole effort is helpful.

I’ve also had friends ask for their meals to be served separately from mine to prevent the potential of cross-contamination when delivering plates.

Get creative and let your friends and family be allies. 

Be Clear

Make it easy for people to support you by laying out your needs for them. Whether it’s your friends, family, or significant other, be clear on what it is that you need from them.

My friend’s, for instance, know that I get severely ill when I eat gluten, so they are all aware that if we go out for dinner, we have to go somewhere I can eat.

My boyfriend, on the other hand, knows that if we want to share a kiss, he needs to brush his teeth and rinse with mouthwash in order not to transfer gluten to my mouth.

gluten free tip for relationship with celiac disease Alpha Stock Images, 
Original Author: Nick Youngson

You might need your partner to be gluten-free around you, or be gluten-free in the house. Whatever you need, make sure you are clear on those needs and the consequences if those needs aren’t met.

For instance, my boyfriend knows if he doesn’t brush his teeth and rinse with mouthwash, I will break out in a horrible rash and feel sick. Who wants to be the cause of their loved one getting sick? Not a partner worth any of your time.

Know Your Worth

Friendships, family, significant others, all of these relationships can be tough to maintain. For a long time, I used to think no one would want to date me.

Comments like “you’re special” and “wow, that’s a lot” plagued my social circle for a long time. People used to say that it was a sacrifice dating me, but despite my Celiac Disease, I grew to practice self-love and compassion. I grew to understand I am worthy.

I am worthy of respect, effort, and consideration, and so are you.

The world is a dangerous place for Celiacs, dramatic but true. I don’t need anyone who isn’t on my side traveling it with me. 

Written by Tayler Silfverduk. She is a Dietetic Technician Registered (DTR) with Celiac Disease. She’s been living with Celiac Disease since high school and it is her mission to help other thrive on a gluten-free diet.

Self Care VS Selfishness

“You have to push through it.”

“Stay Positive!”

“It can’t be that bad!”

“Get some fresh air! That will help!”

“Have you tried exercising?”

How many times have we heard these things said to us when we are at our breaking point with our health?

Whether it’s from a family member, friend or even medical professionals….one thing is for sure, unless you are sick- you just don’t understand.

In those moments when our pain or disability overtakes us, we have to find a way to self care.

Those with health may not understand this concept. They may interpret it as selfishness.

How do we “UnChargeables” find the balance between self-care and selfishness?

Healthy people do not calculate things like we do. We literally ration everything in our lives in order to keep our health on track.  Every action is a “tax” on our strength and energy and must be planned.  Eating, sleeping, bathing, working- EVERY action in daily life requires a plan. 

Example- I have an appointment in the morning.  Is my hair washed? I better take a bath tonight because I won’t have the strength to do that and do physical therapy in the morning.

As sufferers of chronic illness, there are things we HAVE to do in order to survive.

We HAVE to eat right, we HAVE to sleep the amount of time our bodies require, we HAVE to rest when our energy gives out, we HAVE to take our medications, we HAVE to do our treatments,  we HAVE to eliminate stress, we HAVE To do what is best for our health.

Self care is doing the things you know to do in order to keep yourself as healthy as possible. Those who truly love you will see your habits as ESSENTIALS to your well being and will support you.

Those who do not understand and lack compassion may see your habits as selfish.

You cannot let this affect your actions towards your own health. 

I recently had someone make the comment to me, “It must be nice to not have to work.” Yes, I love giving up my dream of medical school and lying in bed all day. Thank you for pointing that out. I sure love feeling useless and lazy after running an entire retirement home and being in school for a second degree.

In my mind, people that judge us for our health needs are the selfish ones. When you judge someone who already walks a difficult road, that is SELFISH.

Self care is so vital to the health of a chronically ill person.

Eat what you need- When you need it.

Rest when you’re tired- Don’t fight it.

Ask for help- The people that love you will be there.

Ignore the negative influences- Some people are ignorant.

Be gentle with yourself- No rose blooms all year long.

Healing is a process.

Self care is NOT SELFISH!

If you are struggling in your health, please assess if you are taking care of yourself.

Here are some examples-

When you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed- take a deep breath and do something you enjoy like listening to a favorite song, watching a movie or remembering a place you love to visit.

Do something to pamper yourself! Drink some hot tea or wrap up in your favorite blanket.

Eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired. Sounds simple but for years I neglected to do these two things…..these are ESSENTIAL…….

Reach out to those who support you and avoid those who bring you down.

Not everyone will understand what you go through, your life and struggle will overwhelm some people. This is NOT your fault.

Best wishes of healing and hope my fellow UnChargeables!