Is Stress Sidelining Your Healing Efforts?

Stress and autoimmune disease
Are you feeling the pressure of stress?

I’m writing this as I struggle to recover from one of the worst days I’ve had in years. Yesterday, nothing worked out for me. I spent my entire morning running from store to store, around all the construction sites, trying to find items I normally purchase without a problem. I mean who doesn’t carry brown wrapping paper on a regular basis?! When I finally found the elusive roll of brown paper, I had to deal with a rude, ill-mannered customer behind me in the checkout line. Obviously in a hurry for me to finish my transaction, she kept pushing me and stood right up against me as I paid for my purchase. I had no choice but to tell her to “back up off me”.

By the time I arrived home, I was already frazzled. I set out to do all the chores on my Tuesday list; one load of laundry (darks, because we wear black so often, I have to do it twice a week), get the garbage out for tomorrow’s pickup, unpack and put away the groceries, etc., etc.. While unpacking the groceries, I hit my shoulder on the underside of the kitchen counter so hard, I yelled out in pain and frustration. My poor dog went running out of the kitchen, in fear. Okay, so this is how this was going to go down. I was not only going to have to deal with aggravations, but, now pain. Great.

Once my chores were done, I set out to make my lunch. Luckily, nothing horrible happened and I was able to enjoy some leftover chicken, over a salad. After lunch, I went to work, researching for a future blog post. About fifteen minutes in, I began experiencing severe abdominal pain. I’ll spare you the details; but, I was sick. In fact, for the rest of the day and night, I was sick.

The rest of my day was spent dealing with more little annoyances. I had acquired a serious case of the “dropsies”, gotten sick after dinner, and been squirted by the shower nozzle while I was fully clothed. By ten o’clock, I had had enough. I was going to bed.

It took me an hour to do my nightly routine and get to bed. As I lay in bed, going over the events of my day, I tried to figure out why my day had gone so wrong. Was it really the stuff that had happened; or, was it my reaction to everything? I had, after all, been feeling a bit more stressed lately. I mean, I’m working on two new cookbooks, preparing my classes for next month, and fighting to put my lupus into remission. And, that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve also been feeling an increased amount of resentment for events in the past. I’ve been reliving some very hurtful times in my life. These are events that I believed I had moved past. Why were they coming back now, with such anger? And, were they coming back because of the stress; or, were they causing the stress? I honestly don’t know the answer.

Upon waking today, I decided to handle whatever came my way a little differently. Any time a hurtful thought came to mind, I would shoo it away. I would laugh at all the little aggravations, instead of getting unnerved. Today, I would consider my health before anything else. So far, I haven’t gotten sick today.

You see, nothing I had done in terms of healthy eating, yoga, or herbal supplements, had helped me yesterday. The stress I had put on myself over the last couple of weeks sidelined all of my hard work. Because I had not heeded the warning signs, hair loss, joint pain, skin eruptions and rashes, and a kidney infection, I had allowed it to erupt into a full lupus flare.

So, now that we know this, what do we do?

Well, I think the first thing is to notice the warning signs. Those of us with autoimmune disease, know when we’re experiencing a symptom. That little knee pain is trying to tell you something. We have to learn how to assess ourselves immediately, rooting out what we may be doing or feeling that has brought on this symptom. Then, we have to attack it!

Now, I know eating autoimmune paleo, doing yoga, and relaxing for a short time helps my symptoms. I would love to be able to do yoga more often; but, I simply do not have the time. I’m not making excuses. I really don’t have the time. But, I can go back to eating autoimmune paleo; so, that’s what I’m going to do.

Next, I’m going to make time to relax for a bit at night. I will use this time to do things I enjoy doing. No stress allowed!

You have to determine what works for you and do it. You can’t let stress spiral out of control, like I did. I’m lucky I hit my breaking point before I ended up in the hospital. You may not be so lucky.

No matter what you have going on in your life, it’s not worth dying over. Many of you, like me, have a lot of emotional baggage. Perhaps, you’ve experienced a loss, or many. Maybe, you’ve been hurt or wronged by people still in your life. I’ve heard forgiveness is the key to letting that baggage go; but, sometimes, it’s impossible to do. It sounds great when you say you forgive someone. But, if you can’t truly do it in your heart, the hurt will always come back. If you can’t see a doctor to work through your issues, I suggest you learn to live with them, in a healthy way.

Some people find solace in their faith. Others find lessening their time spent with the people who cause pain helpful. I find both of those help greatly. Sometimes, it just helps to shoo away the bad thoughts. Don’t allow yourself to feel the anger, frustration, humiliation, sadness, hatred, or devastation again. Leave it in the past, where it belongs. I know this sounds cliche, but think happy thoughts instead. Think about your body being healed. Think about how great you feel. Think of anything other than that nasty thought.

Also, we need to learn to slow down. Instead of letting things get hectic, learn to pre-plan. Take the time to set up a schedule for yourself. I used to do this all the time. Apparently, it’s one of those things that went by the wayside when I became busy. It’s important not to leave matters to the last minute. That’s when stress rears it’s ugly head. Instead plan and do things before they’re due. Always remember, everything takes longer than you think it will, everything is harder than you thought it was going to be, and the due date comes faster than you think it will. If you consistently remember these three things, you’ll stop procrastinating and just do it. You know I’m right.

Okay, so now we’re going to assess our symptoms, shoo our bad thoughts, and pre-plan our schedules to help de-stress ourselves. Life is way too short to spend it stressed out and suffering. We all want to relish our lives. Those of us with autoimmune and other diseases, just need to work a little harder at it. The alternative is not a good one.

Starting today, I’m going on a modified autoimmune program. I’m going to allow the foods I’ve successfully added back to my diet, but on a much smaller scale. I’m not going to be adding any more foods to my diet for at least 30 days. Most of my recipes will be 100% autoimmune compliant. That’s good news for those of you on autoimmune paleo! We all love new recipes!

Below are a few of my favorite healing supplements and products. I included these because they have always helped me in the past. They have proven to be reliable in my health journey.

I would love to hear your ideas on reducing stress. Please, reach out to our autoimmune community and comment below. If this post resonates with you, let me know. I love hearing others’ experiences and stories. How can we help others like us if we keep to ourselves? Reach out and share. Thank you all.

*This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, I may receive compensation.  Thank you for helping to support Paleo Cajun Lady.*

Tara Perillo

Welcome all. I am Tara Perillo, herbalist, homeopath, yoga and fitness instructor, and healthy foodie . After successfully reaching remission of my lupus symptoms, through changes in my diet, exercise, and lifestyle, I wrote the ebook, Sickness To Fitness Quick Start Guide. I am also honored to have my paleo and AIP recipes featured in Paleo Magazine, Paleo Living Magazine, Shape Magazine Online, 85 Amazing AIP Breakfasts, The Paleo AIP Instant Pot Cookbook, and blogs by The Paleo Mom, Kris Kresser, Whole New Mom and many others. My focus is to help others become stronger in every facet of their lives. Join me to become stronger in health, mind, body, and spirit, together!

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