When I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and told that I was in the “early stages” with “nothing that could be done” from a conventional, Western medicine point of view – I decided to dig deeper. I knew I didn’t feel good, so I didn’t want to ignore it, “come back in 6 months” or “just take a pill” and hope it would all go away.
The obvious first port of call was to address dietary choices. I threw myself into learning all about the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), sources of inflammation, gut healing foods, addressing vitamin deficiencies, food intolerances, and more. However, after an initial burst of feeling much better, I reached a plateau and eventually started tapering off again – an emotional breakdown and sinus infection here, a bed-ridden “thyroid day” there.
Stress and balance
After a stressful period at work and incrementally putting too much back on my plate again, I began to notice that my physical and mental health were hugely affected by events in my life and the way I managed stress.
I was riding the health high. Taking on more and more until my body said a big “HELL NO”. It knocked me back, directly to bed.
Suddenly it hit home that no matter how much sauerkraut, sweet potato, wild salmon and green veggies I ate, I wasn’t going to feel better until I found a way to better balance my life.
Your relationships, work, spirituality and exercise all have a HUGE bearing on your overall health. It’s not just what you feed your body – it’s what you feed your mind.
If there is one thing that Hashimoto’s has taught me, it’s to listen to your body, understand your limits and set boundaries to make sure you’re protecting and prioritising yourself. Real talk – this disease keeps you in check.
I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that many people diagnosed with Hashimoto’s are perfectionists, high achievers and people pleasers (myself included!).
Self-care and slowing down
This disease has taught me to tune in and slow down.
I’m calling bullsh*t on the “I’m sooo busy”, go-go-go lifestyle that society has us believe is the absolute definition of success.
The old saying about filling your own cup before you can help others really does hit the nail on the head.
If this sentiment makes you feel sceptical then just think about it this way – if you drive yourself into the ground then you’ll likely be no good to anyone anyway. Instead, you’ll be distracted, mentally checked out, snappy or even too physically sick to carry on doing your job, running the family home, or whatever it may be. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s true.
The beautiful thing is that your unimaginably clever body will always give you little signs that it’s struggling before it goes BANG, so it’s worth learning what these signs look like for you. Full disclosure: I generally become wound up like a clock and have random crying outbursts (hey adrenals!). Each to their own, right?
Letting go of the guilt
So, I guess I’m grateful. This healing process is teaching me a lesson that I so very badly needed to learn: how not to be a people pleaser.
I do believe that the universe will nudge, hint and finally kick you up the butt with lessons you need to hear until you truly open up and listen to it. My advice? Reflect on what you know DEEP DOWN needs work… and don’t wait until it gets you into the hospital before you make a change.
If I could give you one thing to think about after reading this article, it’d be this: let go of the guilt. Guilt is so damn draining and often highly unnecessary (unless you killed the neighbour’s cat or something…).
- Let go of the guilt about not being able to take on extra work because you’re tired and need to rest – honey, you ain’t a robot (thank the LORD!)
- Let go of the guilt that you want to say no to a social event because you would benefit from taking some time to yourself
- To my Hashis and chronic illness sisters (and brothers): let go of the guilt that you can’t keep up with things the way you used to, or don’t feel up to doing “that thing” today
Self-care is not selfish. Self-care is survival. Self-care is service.
What guilt can you let go of this week?
P.S. I’m going to write an article on my best tips and tricks for getting in some self-care practices soon – watch this space!