Treating Yourself Kindly with an Autoimmune Disorder

Those of you with severe autoimmune diseases like Multiple Sclerosis know that many things can throw you over the edge! Little tasks that other people with good health take for granted can be incredibly taxing for those with celiac disease, Hashimoto's, diabetes, and other AI conditions.

Be Kind to Yourself

That's why it's important for those of us with autoimmune disorders to be extra kind to ourselves and observe how we feel in our day-to-day activities. Or as the medical profession refers to them, ADLs (activities of daily life).

House Cleaning = Exercise

Even little things like housecleaning can be a form of exercise for people with autoimmune conditions. When I cleaned out our fridge and pantry the other day, I didn't think it was a big deal. That was my mind talking! When I checked in with my body, I realized I was tired and needed to rest.

Don't Push Yourself

This is a lesson that has taken me some time to learn! If you have an autoimmune disorder or any sort of health issue, it's important to rest and not push. I remind myself of this every single day!

Don't Worry About Others

Sometimes people ask why I don’t just push through it and exercise more. What they don’t understand is that I’ll get a full body migraine the next day or my leg will go totally numb, definitely NOT worth it.

Competition vs. Compassion

When we worry about what others think of us, it's not about them, it's about us. That's because we're being competitive instead of compassionate. Focusing inward on how I feel in my body, rather than what's going on in my mind is key for me in slowing down.

Cultivating Patience

If you’re dealing with an intense inflammatory condition it’s so important not to push yourself. It can take time to cultivate the skills to be kind gentle and patient with yourself. It's a practice I cultivate every day.

Your Tips?

Do you have an autoimmune disease? What helps you slow down? Leave a comment and share your autoimmune survival skills and strategies here!

Comments

64 responses to “Treating Yourself Kindly with an Autoimmune Disorder”

  1. Hi. I was reacently diagnosed with Morphea, Vitiligo and Sjogren’s. I have started doing the AIP diet in hopes of helping my body get rid if inflammation. I see the foods in your recipes are not AIP. So, in what state do I get to eat like you do? Do you know of foods to avoid or to eat to hell with Sjogren’s? I am really tired of my very dry mouth and eyes. Thank you for all you do:)

    • Maria, I am so sorry to hear about all that you are going through. I have three autoimmune diseases and haven’t used the AIP. I find that a low-carb diet is very helpful to me in dealing with inflammation and controlling symptoms.

  2. It’s important not to dwell on the dis-ease. Even tho you have it don’t make it your own. Our society are such great doctor lovers they believe every word even when they (dr.)have no understanding of the cause of an illness and are lead by the nose to fulfill the wishes of big pharma. America is over drugged and don’t realize it.

  3. Elana, thanks so much for all you do and write. It really helps to know I’m not alone. Reading comments like yours and others who responded to what you wrote is like being in a support group. It helps lift the boulder of self criticism off my shoulders, and that makes it much easier to be as well as possible. I developed Hashimoto’s as a teenager in the late sixties-back in the dark ages of autoimmunity! My family doctor misdiagnosed me as hyperthyroid, the same as he had done with my mother, and administered radioactive iodine which turned most of my thyroid tissue into scar tissue. In my older years now, I have real problems with gluten and my adrenal glands, but I’ve found that most doctors still don’t know as much about autoimmunity as they think they do, so that gets a little awkward sometimes. I’ve come to rely more on alternative care when I can afford it. In light of my experience and that of others, I hope you can realize how supportive, helpful and encouraging your work is. Thanks again more than you know!

    • Renee, thanks for your comment more than you know! I had a bit of a tough day today and it’s such a comfort to know I’m not alone. Dealing with 3 autoimmune diseases at the same time can leave me in a bit of overwhelm now and then. Thanks for sharing your story here, and for being on this healing path with me. ❤️

  4. Hi Elana –

    I’ve loved your site for a long time.

    I found Wahls paleo here…and made many recipes I loved…the almond dipping sauce comes to mind…as well as many others.

    I got better but not good enough.

    And then…someone convinced me to try carnivore. I thought it was a strange and unbalanced concept…however she looked pink and sparkling that day…better than normal.

    I tried for 30 hours. 1st thing I noticed was absence of stomach pains or bloating.
    Next…I walked past my usual turnaround place easily. Then I made it all the way up a steep hill..where before I had stopped halfway.

    I took notice. One week later I began my carnivore journey.

    It’s now been 6 months. Feeling better and better.

    Also recently attended 1sr ever carnivore conference in…Boulder Colorado.

    I have struggled for 8 plus years w Lyme disease. Thyroid issues. Fatigue. Raynauds syndrome. ADD. Digestion issues. Constipation /diarrhea. Etc.
    No need to post this ..I wrote this for you. Carnivore is magic for me. Finally. Suzie

      • Hi Elana. Ive followed you and your recipes for years. Collectively we have a household of lupus, type 1 diabetes, celiac disease and Hashimoto. Your recipes have been a true blessing. Thank you.

        • Cathi, you are so sweet! I’m sorry for all your household is dealing with, but glad we can be on this healing path together :-)

  5. Learn how to say no! I have fibromyalgia and have learned to slow down and not push myself so that I don’t suffer for days. Limiting commitments outside the home is very helpful even though some people don’t understand because they think I look healthy.

  6. Your posts are so helpful. I was recently diagnosed with MS and when I realized that the fatigue wasn’t going anywhere, I changed my work schedule so I would have some time mid day to rest – either a quick nap or even just some time to meditate. It’s been very helpful for me because I can’t just ‘go go go’ anymore. Like you’ve wisely said before, you need to meet yourself where you are.

  7. I’ve battled MS for over 28 years. It took me from being an active professional horse trainer to a dependent. Devastatingly frustrated that I could no longer “do” the things. A different perspective took hold. Appreciation.
    Appreciation of the support, kindness, provision, compassion, even the time to have quiet retrospective assessment of value. I’ve always strived to be a blessing, how can someone who can’t do, be of value?
    We have to fight to look beyond our circumstances to see others. Serve emotionally. Encourage, engage, pray, strengthen. You’re still doing…. just differently!
    We all have a purpose!

    • Judy, what an absolutely stunning, beautiful comment. So joyous! I’m incredibly blessed to be on this life path with you :-)

    • I have Crohns Disease, an often misunderstood derstood and over-simpkified autoimmune condition that is both devastating and debilitating. I live on my own terms. I rest when I’m tired. I say no when I need to. I pamper myself and do the best I can. All of these thi gs keep me positive.

  8. Thank you for the inspiration & insight. I am definitely one that doesn’t like to rest during the day even if I’m tired…I don’t know why-if my best friend or a client was tired I’d tell her to rest:) In my 40’s I’ve definitely cultivated how to establish boundaries, but I’m also learning to love myself no matter what or what “I do”. I have Hashimoto’s so as far as Autoimmune symptoms I feel fortunate, but know I have to keep self care going more than an average person.

    • Kristi, I totally get it and am so glad that we can all support each other here on a journey that can be very challenging at times.

  9. Thank you for this! One of the hardest things for me is accepting my limitations and allowing myself to rest! I just plain don’t want to, but I always end up paying for it and I don’t bounce back as quickly as I used to. Reading things like this really do help me take a deep breath and just accept where I’m at. Thanks again and all the best to you.

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