When I was preparing myself for a diagnoses over the summer and last couple months of doctors appointments, I never thought my life would change this much as a result of an illness. But that’s probably what everyone says when they get sick. In fact, I’ve heard it from the sick people themselves. They also say that their illness was a blessing in disguise, a conclusion I too, am coming to each day as I navigate this new part of my life. Because unfortunately, it’s not something that ever really goes away but is more of a daily practice and mindful work to feel better and reduce my symptoms.
At first and still in some down moments I find it hard to see the bright side of my diagnosis. It’s changed me and my life more than I ever thought it could. For example, the act of making and finding healthy, tasty food was once a passion of mine has now become a necessity. It’s taken a little of the luster out of cooking and made it more of a chore. While before this I was eating healthy by choice using the 80/20 rule, with 80% of the time eating healthy and 20% being relaxed about what to eat, now I MUST eat well otherwise my symptoms flare up.
Needless to say it’s been an emotional roller coaster but still one I feel very lucky to be on because it’s taught me so much. To appreciate my health, loved ones and to focus on what really matters in life. It’s forced my hand on lifestyle matters that I was moving sluggishly to adopt like meditating, exercising and addressing certain stressors in my life. It’s also brought some new things into my life that I might not have otherwise been here if it weren’t for endometriosis.
Here are some things that I’ve fallen in love with thanks to Endometriosis….
- Comfortable clothes-Items like my used velvet pants that I got in Portland or my cotton onesie purchased in Eugene, (thanks Oregon), have become favorites on days when I’m feeling really bloated or in pain. Tight clothes just put too much pressure around my lower waist and hips.
- Essential oils–Essential oils like Clary Sage, Frankincense and Geranium are known to provide pain relief when rubbed around the problem area (for topical use only).
- Putting Myself First-It’s not always easy and feels selfish at times but making a daily commitment to put myself first and give myself what I need really allows me to be better for the other people in my life. I’ve adopted extreme self care and learned to say NO when everything in my being is against saying yes.
- Tea–I can’t tell you how many cups of tea per day that I now drink-it’s absurd. But I can’t drink coffee (caffeine is bad for endometriosis), alcohol or Kombucha (alcohol in any form aggravates the symptoms of endo), anymore so I needed something to enjoy. My favorites are Numi and Traditional Medicinals, caffeine free flavors of course
- Teeccino– Because I get tired of tea at times and because it’s really hard giving up coffee, Teeccino, an herbal coffee that I found on Amazon that tastes just like coffee has been a real treat. I’m so in love with the product that I recently became a brand ambassador for them and can’t wait to share this wonderful product and its benefits with you.
- Resting–It’s in my nature to want to always want to know what the next activity is, the next thing on the to do list, without giving myself much of a break in between until I put so much on my plate that I come to a crashing halt. It’s only now that I’m dealing with endometriosis that I’ve finally seen the benefits of resting when I need to.
- Walking Away From Stress–I’m learning just how much my cortisol levels affect my hormones which in turn may have lead to the aggregation of my endometriosis. So it’s important to watch my stress levels just as it is to watch what I eat. I now walk away when I’m getting too stressed and stat away from situations that I think will be stressful for me. But this isn’t always possible so I’m also trying to learn to deal with life stressors better.
- Exercise-Although I shied away from it at first because at some times my pain has been too much to be able to workout, but now I’m learning to listen to my body and how much energy it wants to exude. Following Woman Code protocol for exercise has been tremendously helpful and I actually look forward to working out. It maybe because I know it won’t be the same every time.
- Epsom Salt Baths-They’re not only relaxing but they provide magnesium which may be low in women with endometriosis. They also detox the liver through the skin which helps flush out excess estrogen and provide pain relief.
- Stretching–Most mornings I wake up, my body screaming to be stretched. Mostly in the hips, thighs and butt. Some days I need to stretch more than others but it’s a become a MUST everyday. I think it’s something that I should’ve been doing my whole life and now find myself doing whenever I need to throughout the day. The body takes so much wear and tear and stretching in itself can be exercise especially when my energy is low like during my menstrual phase.
- Meditation–I’m still getting into doing this on the regular but I so enjoy it when I do. I’ve used the calm application and Gabrielle Berstein meditations.
- Expressing and Feeling my Feelings-It’s important to feel whatever negative feelings you may have about your diagnosis. Talk and cry about them before you can release them.
- Focusing on Creativity, Relationships and Sexuality-Endometriosis resides in the sacral region or second chakra which relates to the emotional body, sexuality, creativity, relationships and relating. There is a lot more information out there about it but briefly I’ll say that this information has led me to examine these aspects of my life to see whether or not they’re imbalanced and in many instances, I must admit, that they are. Noticing this imbalance is the first step and its up to me to make sure I don’t let my attention to these areas slip again.
Do you have endometriosis? What works for you when your symptoms are flaring up?