A few lessons that an invisible illness has taught me about self-care.
Self-care is the big craze being thrown around, especially on social media these days.
I have been dealing with an invisible/chronic illness for over a decade now and thankfully I am now on a healing path. During my journey I found what I needed in terms of self-care came down to loving myself a lot more.
I have learned that facing the fear and the negative emotions is okay. I have always felt that to get through something hard you have to show strength, that's not always the case.
When one is faced with an illness it's not good to push those feelings and emotions down, when you notice an emotion, stop what you're doing and feel into that particular emotion. By doing this you can stop and feel, then you can begin to let that emotion go. When you let that emotion go is when the healing starts to take place.
It's okay not to be okay.. this took a long time for me to believe. It wasn't so much the symptoms but the constant self-judgement. The feeling bad about feeling bad weighed heavily on me.
I decided rather than picking and criticizing myself, I would cut myself some darn slack. I focused on being grateful and using mindfulness exercises to help me focus on the things I actually could do. By doing this, the healing started to increase and my stress and anxiety decreased.
Taking the time to slow down does not make you lazy. These invisible illnesses are tough, I learned that letting go of my old self and the schedule I kept is okay! It was extremely difficult at first, I used to pride myself at how much I could accomplish in a day. Now I take pride in being able to let go and do what my body can and needs each day. If that's taking a nap, going for a walk, meditating, avoiding certain foods, certain people or environments, that's totally okay. I try to limit doing the things that drain me and do more of the things that give me life.
Invisible illness self-care isn't always about candles and bath bombs, it's about putting myself and my needs first. The more I pay attention to what my body needs, the less stress and anxiety I feel, which in turn gives me the ultimate self-care that I need.