Our Top 10 New Year ‘Coping with Endometriosis’ Resolutions
I asked the members of the local support group just what they were thinking of changing or committing to this year in order to cope better with their Endometriosis. Whether you suffer emotionally with moods or feeling down or physically from pain, fatigue or infertility there are sometimes simple changes that can be made in order to improve general wellbeing and ability to live and cope with this disease.
1. You are what you eat? Many people are looking their diets in order to combat the symptoms of Endometriosis like pain, fatigue and bloating as well as boosting the immune system. Endometriosis UK provide 2 fantastic factsheets which can be downloaded from their website www.endometriosis-uk.org or ordered from the head office. They also recommend the book ‘Endometriosis – A key to healing through nutrition’ by Dian Shepperson Mills and Michael Vernon .
2. Sleep... Sleep is an important function of a healthy human body, its gives the body time to heal and boosts the immune system. Unfortunately lifestyle, illness, stress and pain can disrupt sleep patterns which can exasperate the situation further. Everyone is different but its worthwhile acknowledging the value of a good nights sleep. The average person needs around 7 hours sleep so if you don’t get enough sleep its important you try to understand why not and look at ways to include sleep into your health routine. (some studies link lack of sleep with weight gain in women too, so maybe sleeping could help me loose a few pounds too!).
3. Exercise doesn’t have to be intense, it can be gentle and really as little or as much as you like. Endometriosis can make you feel trapped sometimes, as your body can be tired and unwilling to allow you to feel like exercising, however when we exercise endorphins are released into our bodies and help improve how we feel, both physically and mentally. So thinking about the things that you could do to increase your physical activity within your lifestyle, whether its walking, swimming or participating in a Charity Event for Endometriosis UK! Is beneficial to your long term wellbeing.
4. Stress and worry can have a detrimental effect on both our physical and mental wellbeing. Sometimes life is not easy and erasing worry is impossible, but its a good start trying to work out what causes you to feel most stressed or worried and once identified to think about how this can be approached with a view to reducing those things in order of importance or ability. I recommend writing a list of the things you feel stressed about and then ordering them with the worst offender at the top, and then really problem solving your stresses (or talking about them).
5. Honesty, being honest with yourself and accepting your illness is a really important step. Looking in the mirror and letting yourself know (might sound a bit silly but I have tried it) and telling yourself that you understand, that you believe and that you will do all you can to help yourself fight this illness is both liberating and good for the soul.
6. Limitations are those boundaries where we function and we don’t, and its important to understand your own limitations as to what you can and cant to, and when. For example, I will often take on too much work when I know I already have enough on my plate, or sometimes I agree to go out with friends when I know that day I am just too tired but feel ashamed for saying no. Again, I suggest writing down all those things or occasions where you struggle and try manage your limitations honestly.
7. Expert Patient is a term used to define the patient (us!) as an expert in our own condition. Several group members have said that this year they will endeavour to learn about Endometriosis, Learn about their options and what is available and understand their own health using diaries/calendars. I am always finding new things out about this disease via Endometriosis UK, other sufferers or the internet and although I don’t recommend you believe everything you hear or see, and not everything is one size fits all, but its empowering to understand as best you can your condition; it also enables you to better understand any treatment plan proposed via medical care.
8. This one is my resolution, its not directly related to Endometriosis but I feel strongly that when I am down I tend to neglect myself and this becomes a vicious circle where I feel Endometriosis and pain has robbed me of who I am. This year I have decided to, no matter how bad I feel, embrace the potency of pamper! I am taking time to make sure my nails, feet, hair, skin and teeth are loved and looked after. It is crucial to take time and make sure you do something that makes YOU feel good, even if you don’t feel like it. Wellbeing is achieved by concentrating on all areas of your life and this includes health, beauty and lifestyle.
9. Endometriosis UK is the leading UK charity, they provide information and support through their website and support group network. By becoming a member, donating or fundraising you are not only doing something really positive which affirms a sense of achievement but also you are helping others in a similar position. Making a resolution to do something positive, such as helping Endometriosis UK, is another step in mentally fighting this Disease.
10. Finally, the most important of all resolutions. Whatever you do, however bad you may feel, dont ever give up. You are not alone and together we can fight Endometriosis.