To be frank, I can’t even tell you how long I’ve been living with an autoimmune condition. I know some of my symptoms started in high school after my third round of Epstein Barr Virus. More symptoms began in 2000 during my first year of college. I was diagnosed with anemia… later to learn that it was in fact Pernicious Anemia. Eventually in 2009, I was told I had Hashimoto’s Thryoiditis and have been doing my best to live with this autoimmune condition.
Having multiple autoimmune diseases plus a chronic virus that is known for going in and out of remission, life can feel hard. This is a common sentiment over on our Instagram @AutoimmuneSisters account. Today, I am sharing 5 ways to help you with your own autoimmune condition from experts in the field. I know you will find them useful and encouraging.
6 Ways to Help an Autoimmune Condition
Together with our Autoimmune Sisters Wellness Providers, we have put together 5 ways to help women live easier with an autoimmune condition.
#1: Develop an Autoimmune Healing Roadmap
Having a roadmap to follow that is based on functional medicine lab testing, removes the guesswork while helping to rebalance the body.
1. Removing inflammatory foods and foods I’m sensitive to including: gluten, dairy, sugar and alcohol
2. Eradicating gut pathogens such as candida overgrowth, parasites, h.pylori, bacterial overgrowth
3. Removing toxicities including: heavy metals, non-metal chemicals, mycotoxins and toxic thoughts and relationships
4. Replacing depleted nutrients such as: vitamins, minerals and omega 3’s
5. Choosing a positive mindset
If you’re interested in learning more about Jessica’s roadmap and functional medicine testing, check out her programs here.
#2: Choose to Find Healing From Past Trauma
For years, I’ve heard about the connection between Autoimmune Conditions and childhood traumas. Some of the new research performed was through observational study that there is certainly an association between stress and autoimmune diseases. As we know, the immune system is sensitive to stress. If you are carrying some past traumas, this section is for you.
Keri Brewster shared that the one thing that helped her most in her health journey was working on healing from past trauma. Keri has learned to thrive with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Epstein Barr Virus.
Kari shares with us that “I thought for the longest that if I focused on the fundamentals of diet, exercise, and hydration, that would be enough. But it wasn’t, and so for the last year, I’ve focused on [past trauma]. How? I started researching trauma and chronic illness as well as focusing on growing in my faith. The combination of those two things, under the umbrellas of healing from trauma, have really helped me see the greatest progress I’ve made since I was diagnosed.”
#3: Learn to Slow Down
One of the biggest things that has helped Jenn Malecha since being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, has been learning how to slow down in life. Jenn, like many of us battling an autoimmune condition, are used to pushing through all of the time. Which is likely what contributed to our body’s from feeling overwhelmed, depleted and eventually leading to an autoimmune condition.
Jenn says that she has come to realize that our bodies will do anything we ask them to but that doesn’t mean that we should. For years, she ignored the signals her body was sending because she was too busy. Eventually her body became too depleted making my immune system the perfect candidate for an autoimmune condition.
The body can heal in a relaxed state.
We may never know exactly what triggered our autoimmune condition. However, once we know this has happened, we can take action to support the body, relieve the stress and allow our body to heal and return to balance. To do this though we must slow down. Functional lab testing gave me the objective data I needed to motivate me to slow down and restore balance to my body.
#4: Embrace Mindfulness and Meditation
For Tara Buhagiar, she said that the one thing that helped her post with her autoimmune condition was finding and practicing mindfulness. She goes on to say that, “It has been a tonic for my mind, heart, and body.”
Try a Body Scan Meditation
Tara is sharing a body scan mediation to get you started. It is a guided practice for beginners because it’s practiced while lying down and therefore accessible to ALL bodies. It meditation may help you feel peaceful and grounded. Click here to get started.
#5: Accept that it’s Not Your Fault
Having an autoimmune condition is not your fault. Jenn Malecha firmly believes that it IS POSSIBLE to feel better or even reverse your autoimmune condition with the right lab tests and resources. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
We know autoimmune conditions are multifaceted.
Three things must be in place for an autoimmune condition to express itself; a leaky gut, genetic factor and environmental trigger. Knowing this gives you the keys to managing or reversing an autoimmune condition.
When you heal the gut, remove environmental triggers and create a supportive lifestyle you will inevitably feel better. There is no one-size-fits-all solution so keep working towards the one that will work for you.
#6: Reduce Stress + Practice Self Care
Karen Dubs, a Hashimoto’s Warrior and Health Coach with Gut Health education said that if she could boil her autoimmune healing journey down to one thing it would be: reducing stress and practicing self-care.
When Karen was first diagnosed with Hashimoto’s over 23 years ago, she was 29 years old, definitely type A with a ‘more is more’ mindset. She spent 10 years trying to fight the disease and “push through”. It wasn’t until Karen started really embracing the disease and practicing yoga and self care that she started to heal.
A key part in Karen’s healing journey was and continues to be reducing stress, listening to and honoring her body, practicing self care and acknowledging sometimes less is more (and that’s the Flexible Warrior willpower chillpower factor. 🙂