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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Dealing With Stress and Sjogren's Disorder

One of the things that can make Sjogren's, or any of the many Autoimmune disorders worse, is stress. Stress has recently been labeled the silent killer, and for good reason. Stress causes inflammation in the body, and inflammation causes illness, especially, but not just for Autoimmune disorders. These are the things I have done for many years, not just since being diagnosed, to help alleviate stress.

1. We all need to work, but we don't need to kill ourselves doing it. Don't be a slave to a paycheck, or debt, just to buy more stuff, or gain status. These things are useless in the end, and you can't take them with you. Living within your means, and living a simple life, may not be exotic or fun, but it truly is a lot healthier for you, especially if you suffer from disorders like Sjogren's.

2. Learn to say no, and then do it. Don't take on 100 different things that you know you do not have time for, or the energy to do. Women have a tendency to take on everything like they are Superwoman, and for a while you will be. But, it will catch up with you, and not in a nice way. People in your life will just have to get over it, period.

3. Change your diet. I know everyone says this, plus lose weight, blah blah blah. But, if you are eating tons of dairy, meat, and preservative filled foods you are only causing yourself to have more inflammation, and when the body is inflamed it is stressed, and when it is stressed your Sjogren's symptoms are going to be worse. Well over a year ago, I gave up dairy, almost completely. I was tired of having acne, and I had read it might have been caused by dairy. So, I quit it, and I loved milk and ice cream. I have no more acne. at all since then, and with only one good kidney all the protein in milk would be a killer. With CKD, I have had to give up tomatoes, and bananas, two of my most favorite foods. I also have to limit potatoes a staple in our house. Foods that increase acidity in your body will just make you feel icky, and cause more stress. Start slow if you have to, and work on it each day. Do research, and learn about an anti-inflammatory diet.

4. Exercise some if you can. Most people with Sjogren's, as well as any Autoimmune disorder, suffer from some sort of pain. Pain can make exercise difficult. However, gentle exercise can help your pain. Start with stretching, move up to Yoga or Taichi as you can. I have been on a walking regime for over three years now, so long before I was diagnosed. I try to walk five days a week, as well as some light weight training. I do have a great deal of pain some days, but as I get stronger it gets better. I can not tell you the importance of stretching. If I don't stretch, oh boy I pay for it. Please be easy at first, and discuss exercise with your doctor. I feel better when I exercise, but you might not.

5. Sit out and enjoy nature, enjoy the sunshine on your skin. Obviously be aware of when the bugs are active, and don't be in the sun too long. Nature has been shown to be a natural stress reliever. I love to be outside, and when I lived up North would get the Winter blues. Sunshine is good for me! I love to feed, and watch the birds. I have plants that attract butterflies and hummingbirds, they are so much fun to watch. Planting a small garden is another great way to get some gentle exercise.

6. Learn a craft, or hobby. I have been crafting since I was a young girl. My mother has always been creative, and can do just about anything. She taught me to crochet at a very young age, then I learned counted cross stitch, and threw the years have continued to learn new crafts. I love to make jewelry, paint, wood burn, etch glass, and yes even crochet still some. These are great ways to help alleviate stress, and clear your mind from thinking of things that stress you out.

7. Get plenty of sleep. I think that one is self explanatory. It is when your body revives itself, if you don't get enough, work on it. I used to take Benadryl for sleep, many years actually because it relieved leg cramps too, but I now take Melatonin a completely natural sleep aid. It will not harm my kidneys, and some studies show it actually does some good things for the body. Ask your doctor first to be safe.

Be kind, and love yourself. Embrace your disorder and vow to conquer it. Having an optimistic attitude will work towards relieving stress. Don't let other people steal your joy. If they are not bringing you love, and kindness then re-evaluate if you really need them in your life.


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Melissa said...

Glad you liked it.

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