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Autoimmune Disease Warrior Self-Care *Stress*

There are many, many variables when it comes to having one of the 80+ autoimmune diseases. Some diseases can be directly diagnosed through blood tests or tissue biopsies while many are diagnosed based on signs and symptoms and your official diagnosis comes through the process of elimination.

No matter how you end up there you no doubt have a long way to go learning how to best treat yours body to end up with your best outcome.

Sometimes taking medication is unavoidable so don't be hard on yourself. (many of us consider this a sign of failure or giving up, it's not!) Figuring out which medication will serve you best is a task that may be time consuming and frustrating, stick with it and do what you can to help yourself.

One of the most impactful ways to take care of yourself is reducing bad stress.

1. Eliminate and/or avoid stressful situations. At times this is more difficult than it sounds but not impossible. Learn to say no. Say no to that extra item that you were thinking of adding to your to-do list, to that activity you don't want to attend but feel like you should, to that person that only has negative energy.

2. Take 10 minutes out of everyday to practice guided, meditative breathing. Meditation has a cumulative effect so the more you regularly practice the easier it is and the longer lasting the calming results. There are thousands of free YouTube videos available to you and many good apps. Finding a voice that appeals to you is as stressful as you need to make the search. Keep it short if you are just beginning.

Here is one to get you started

3. Get a good nights sleep. Due to pain or other effects that an AI has on your brain, that can be easier said than done. One of the BEST ways to help you get quality sleep is #2, a guided meditation. Sleep is when our body recovers and that sets us up to better deal with life. Get your rest!

4. Gentle physical exercise is proven to play a key role in preventing and reducing the effects of stress. Unless you are in a flare your body will benefit from light exercise. Here are two important things about exercise, which is a physical stressor for our body. First, less is usually more. This means put your ego aside, don't push yourself to reach a personal best even if you are having a "good day". And second, if you're damned if you do and damned if you don't, then do. By that I mean if your knee or hip always bothers you, no matter what, then try some no-impact exercises. Bikes, chair exercises, gentle yoga, non-incline walking, swimming, etc..., are all options. I can help with this or again, YouTube.

Low Impact Full Body workout:

5. Ask for help! This may be the hardest for some people. Autoimmune sufferers often look "normal" to everyone else which is why it's called an invisible illness. It's not invisible to you so like I mentioned in #4, put your ego aside and ask for help. If you don't have a friend or family member available there are many online support groups, find one that fits you.

There are many great online resources available or feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

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