Today is Day 16 of 31 Days of Surviving Chronic Illness. You can catch up on Day 1 here.
When you are suffering from chronic illness or pain over extended periods of time it can make you a little crazy. When you go on day after day, muscles aching, brain foggy, body broken, it can feel like you got stuck on the hamster wheel from hell. You wake up sick, you trudge through the day sick and you go to bed sick.
So here's what I want you to do: make a list; make a list of all the things that provide your body even just a few moments of relief. This can be more difficult than it sounds, particularly if you have a serious illness that knocks you flat for days or weeks at a time. However, I believe if we put some thought into it and pay attention to the signals our body is giving us we can begin to recognize the activities or treatments that bring some level of healing or comfort.
Let me give you an example. When I am feeling my worst my body aches all over, just as if I had the flu. Except it's not the flu. I just hurt. Through trial and error and, well... accident, I discovered something. I have no idea what the science is behind it, but what I have figured out is that if I take a super hot bath, shower or sit in a sauna the pain goes away. The relief only lasts for about 2 hours, but I am so grateful for those 2 pain-free hours.
I have also noticed that sometimes if I eat a little something, anything but sugar, my symptoms will lessen. Again, the relief is only temporary but when I need just a little more energy to get me through a rough day it's well worth a try.
I want you to start making a list of the things that bring your physical body a little comfort or relief. Why do I want you to write it down? Because it is so easy to forget what you need to do when all you can think about is how much pain you are in. Especially if your particular illness causes brain fog & forgetfulness (mine does, it's so annoying). You may have a hard time coming up with anything at first so I'll give you some hints (some of them go along with our "exercise" theme from Day 14:
- hot/cold bath (try epsom salts in a hot bath)
- hot/cold beverage (especially herbal tea made with calming herbs)
- sauna, dry sauna, whirlpool, cold pool (that will wake you up!)
- fitness class, working up a sweat
- walking, hiking
- ride a bicycle
- change of climate (going to the beach, mountains, warmer/cooler/drier climate, etc.)
- massage, physical therapy, spa treatments
- ointments and lotions such as mineral ice, Tiger Balm, arnica, etc.
- ice packs
- a warm blanket or heating pad.
- sitting near a fan
- sitting with feet slightly elevated such as a recliner or laying with body completely flat, such as the floor.
- eating a light, nutritious snack
- eating spicy foods (it works for me!)
- playing Wii Fit or Xbox Kinect
- fitness or foam roller
- aromatherapy (lavender is known for it's calming effect, citrus in an energizer)
I'm sure you have some home remedies of your own, try to do at least one per day. Especially on the bad days. And be sure to share them with the rest of us here or on the Facebook Page!