- Stop drinking soda and/or eating anything containing sugar
This is #1 on the list because it’ll actually save you money while vastly improving your health and pain levels. Most disease and discomfort in the body is caused, and worsened, by inflammation. Guess what’s the #1 commonly-consumed substance that causes inflammation? SUGAR. We’re a nation that is absolutely insane in the amount of sugar we consume, and that directly correlates to how sick, obese and chronically ill we are among other countries.
It can be difficult to change long-standing habits but if you’re serious about feeling your best, especially if you aim to conquer fibro or any other chronic disease, you must find a way to eliminate sugar. Here’s how to start: Write down everything you eat for one week and review that to determine sugar intake. If you drink soda, iced teas, or any sweetened beverage, that’s an easy place to cut sugar. If you use it in your coffee or tea, cut down for a few days and then stop adding it altogether. If you are eating foods that have added sugar, simply fill up on more whole vegetables and fruit to crowd out those sugar cravings. You may want to add more naturally sweet roasted root vegetables to relieve cravings.
The good news is after a few days off sugar, you’ll lose the taste for it. The bad news is you have to be strong enough to go through 2-4 days of “detoxing” and you may be headachy and irritable for those few days. But if you can power through and make a decision to stop sugar, you’ll be rewarded with much less swelling, aches, joint pain, headaches, mood swings, irritability and anxiety.
For more info on beating the sugar monster, see my past post, “3 Tricks To Tame Your Sweet Tooth” CLICK HERE. You also can search You Tube for Dr. Robert Lustig’s videos on the nasty effects sugar has on the body.
2. Get more sleep
I’ve tackled this before in my blog but it bears repeating; you must get a minimum of 8 solid hours of sleep per night. If it seems impossible for you to get to bed any earlier, I’d urge you to carefully examine what you’re putting before your good health. Are you staying up to get more work done? It can wait. Do you get caught up in TV watching? Use your DVR to record it and watch later. Whatever the excuse, realize it’s just that, an excuse. You can choose to prioritize your health and be more consistent about getting to bed earlier. Or you can keep burning your candle at both ends and stay sick. I don’t want that for you and I know you don’t want that either!
If the problem is that you get into bed on time but you can’t sleep, then check out my former post for tips to catch those elusive ZZs. CLICK HERE to read “What the Heck is Sleep Hygiene?”
3. Carve out 15–30 minutes daily to relax and de-stress
I can’t overemphasize how important and truly critical it is for you to find out what helps you relax and then do it daily. I know you have a million things to do, and a house to clean, and a family to tend, and friends to see, and a career to build and… and… and…. We all do! Guess what though? If you burn yourself out you can’t do any of these things and you also will not heal from fibro or any other health challenge you’re battling. Fibro often happens in conjunction with a high striving, Type A, overachiever, perfectionist personality. I know I was guilty as charged on all counts there. I’m not anymore and that’s partly why I’m no longer suffering with debilitating symptoms. All of those traits will keep that fibro cooking, and worsening.
So my suggestion is to find healthy, stress-relieving outlets (note the word healthy, so a bottle of wine is not a good plan) and make this self-care top priority each day. Build it into your routine. One example may be soaking in a warm bath scented with calming essential oils before bed. Or you can go to a quiet room alone and meditate, or listen to relaxing music. Perhaps a repetitive task like knitting is meditative for you, or prayer helps center you. Experiment and find which calming activities work for you and then set aside a minimum of 15 minutes, but 30 is better, to decompress.
There are multiple studies that show mindful meditation is a key factor in pain reduction and increases oxygen and serotonin levels in the blood, all positives to calm and clear your mind and body of stress.If this feels “selfish” to you, I invite you to reconsider what your life will be like in constant pain. Taking care of you, so that you can go be fabulous in the world, is actually the only sane thing to do.
Do you have any tips to share on how you beat sugar, get more sleep or how you de-stress after a long day? Please share by commenting below.