It’s a really weird time. In many ways, my life hasn’t changed, and yet all around me, the world is in chaos. I follow my normal daily routine, then leave the house to see my town looks like the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse.
I am lucky in many ways, as seven years of managing endometriosis have set me up perfectly for a time like this. The new lockdown guidelines in the U.K. have hardly changed my life at all; I work from home, I go on one walk a day, I order food online to get everything I need for endometriosis, I work out daily using free YouTube videos, and I only see friends and family once or twice a month.
I put these practices in place to stay healthy with endo, because working at a “normal” 9-to-5 job and being super social tips me from being well to unwell. Yes, I would love to see friends more, and sometimes it’s a struggle to work at home alone, but I’m used to it, and the benefits far outweigh the sacrifices. I can earn a living and feel relatively normal on a day-to-day basis.
With new COVID-19 precautions, the only change is that I can’t see my friends in person and my Saturdays off are limited to a long walk and a trip to the supermarket.
I’m grateful that living with endometriosis has helped me develop routines to keep me healthy, support my mental health and general well-being, and keep my pain signals at bay. Each morning, I make my Lion’s Milk recipe, which helps to battle brain fog and fatigue. I also write out my goals and a gratitude list, I meditate, I do 10 minutes of yoga, and then I get ready to go for a walk.
These activities never feel perfect. Every day, I wish I had more superfood ingredients to add to my drink, I wish I could quiet my mind, I wish I had gotten up earlier to spend more time on gratitude, and I wish I could get my legs straight while doing downward facing dog. It’s messy, it’s far from perfect, and I’m no wellness guru, but it gives me routine and structure and helps to calm my nervous system for the day ahead.
As someone who lives with anxiety, it’s vital that I have practices like these in place to prevent my pain signals from going haywire in response to any tensions I’m experiencing.
Now more than ever, I need these practices, these messy, incomplete moments of calm, to get me through a world that is doing its best to pull me into chaos, fear, and panic. I get the chaos. I understand the fear. I appreciate the panic. But it doesn’t help me.
Conflicting messages are circulating in the media. Every day on social media, I see someone talking about how we should give into our feelings and stay in bed with Netflix, while others tell us to join a 30-day virtual yoga club and start the business we’ve always dreamed of.
If black and white works for you, and full-throttle positivity or deep feeling the feelings is what you need, I support you and I honor your need for that. I’m somewhere in between, and that’s OK.
Last Saturday, I baked a vanilla cake, brownies, and lavender biscuits. They were gone by Wednesday. So, yes, I’m comfort eating, too, but I also made all those goodies sugar, dairy, and gluten-free, because as I said in my previous column, I do not need a flare-up right now. Being self-employed, I must hold onto my health.
In contrast, I also drank a cup of tea pretty much every day last week, and by Thursday, my bladder was in agony. I was doing my yoga and meditation and eating 10 portions of fruit and veggies a day, but I allowed myself to stress drink the tea. I enjoyed it until the pain kicked in. I learned that it was probably unwise. Now, I’ve taken a step away from caffeine once again.
I do believe we need comfort and to give ourselves grace and time to feel our fear. But I also believe that we can do that while leaning into our best practices to stay safe and well, if we want to.
For me, that looks like showing up for my normal day, knowing that if I need them, there’s a fridge full of endo-friendly brownies.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.
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