65+ Awesome self care action ideas for people with autoimmune disease

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Self care is a very important part of your healing process. That whole airplane oxygen mask thing. Intellectually, you know it's right. But, if you're anything like me, you're dedicated to being responsible, to demonstrating how tough you are, to being the one that everyone can count on. 

I'm going to say that again so that you can think about it. 

If you're anything like me, you're dedicated to being responsible, to demonstrating how tough you are, to being the one that everyone can count on. 

Once you've done all that, you're exhausted - mentally and physically, and probably emotionally, too. The thought of spending even 15 minutes meditating or taking a bath is too much. Certainly spending an hour in yoga class or getting a massage is out. 

Here's why we need to think about it differently. Self care is not pampering. Once again, self care is not pampering. I think we tend to set aside things that get called self-care, like a mani-pedi, a massage, or even a shopping trip as too frivolous to be bothered with. After all, we're so busy being responsible and reliable that we don't have time for such silliness. (amirite?)

Let's start thinking about self care as the things you truly need to do to get and stay healthy. Thinks like making good food choices, taking the supplements you need, drinking enough water, making and keeping appointments with your health providers.  Does that seem to change the importance any? 

How about this - if you don't take care of these things, your health will continue to decline to the point that you're not able to be responsible, reliable, or even a sad observer on the sidelines. 

I've collected some ideas that might be valuable to you when you're thinking of the self care ideas that may help you shift back from sick to vibrantly healthy. I wouldn't ever expect you to do them all...but maybe one or two of them will make a big difference in your life.

Health

  1. Discover what foods are problematic for you
  2. Go for a walk
  3. Eat whole foods
  4. Get 7 hours of sleep
  5. Track your diet, symptoms, and sleep in a health tracking log
  6. Schedule an appointment with your health provider
  7. Inventory your supplements and medications and plan refills
  8. Meet with your health provider (doctor, herbalist, nutritionist)
  9. Get a therapeutic massage
  10. Grow your own food in your garden

Spiritual

  1. Do a guided meditation
  2. Read about a sacred practice that interests you
  3. Talk with a spiritual counselor
  4. Listen to music you enjoy
  5. Explore gratitude journaling

Financial

  1. Make a list of your accounts and contact information and put it in a safe place in case of an emergency
  2. Make a list of your bills and due dates and put them in your calendar
  3. Make a savings plan
  4. Make a debt pay-off plan
  5. Take a financial planning class
  6. Meet with a financial advisor you trust

Emotional

  1. Say what you’re feeling out loud – giving words to complex emotions helps us experience and release them
  2. Ask someone you respect to be your mentor
  3. Create space in your calendar to better accommodate last minute changes
  4. Notice the way you talk to yourself – are you encouraging or critical?
  5. Take a moment to bless your food before eating – get in the mindset that your meal is nourishing not only your body, but the time eating nourishes your mind
  6. Practice your hobby, or discover a new one
  7. Sit under a tree and observe all the life happening around you

Family

  1. Get a family calendar and put everyone’s activities in it (I like Cozi.com)
  2. Have a weekly family meeting to plan activities and resources
  3. Enjoy a meal together
  4. Take a vacation
  5. Have a staycation
  6. Have a family game night

Home

  1. Create a sacred space where you can calm, center, or meditate
  2. Assign housekeeping tasks to family members
  3. Inspect your home for needed maintenance and schedule the work
  4. Swap out light bulbs for energy efficient bulbs in warm tones to create a more cozy feel
  5. Find a cozy blanket for quiet time on the couch or bed
  6. Choose an essential oil or herbal blend you enjoy and let the fragrance waft through your home
  7. Make your home accessible and enjoyable – if clutter is blocking your way, move it to where it belongs.

Work/School

  1. Personalize your space, if you can
  2. Take breaks outdoors between meetings or classes
  3. When you break for a meal, make a clear intention to separate from work and enjoy the space to center and calm
  4. Use a priority list to identify your top 2-3 tasks for the day, and focus on achieving them first
  5. Make yourself comfortable and support your body – supportive shoes, an ergonomic chair, standing desk, or other equipment that minimizes strain on your body
  6. Take time off when sick, rather than pushing through illness

Relationships

  1. Set aside time for yourself – do the things you enjoy and appreciate – don’t sacrifice personal self care for time with your partner and friends
  2. Be honest with your partner/friends about what you like and do not like
  3. Look for ways to remind your friends and partner of what you like about them
  4. Schedule a date together, doing something you both enjoy – try a walk in a park or a new hike
  5. Discover a centering activity you can do together – yoga, meditation, even watching a sunset and appreciating the beauty of the nature around you
  6. Take a digital break and enjoy the quiet of not constantly viewing a screen – bonus points for going camping because you reset your circadian rhythm for more restful sleep!

Fun

  1. Play a game you enjoy
  2. Join a class or activity that sounds interesting
  3. Walk your dog
  4. Write in your journal
  5. Read a book, or browse the shelves at your favorite library or bookstore
  6. Enjoy a cup of tea
  7. Take a nap
  8. Watch a movie
  9. Get a pedicure
  10. Enjoy a relaxing massage