Self-Care and Lupus
The World Health Organization defines self-care as: "the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider."1
People with lupus deal with multiple issues from shortness of breath, fatigue, hair loss, chest pains, organ issues, brain fog, etc. With all the things going on in our lives, we sometimes forget how that can impact us mentally and emotionally. This is why self-care is very vital and much needed in our lives. We sometimes push ourselves over the edge until a flare hits, and we are forced to stop what we are doing, not by choice. Without self-care, both our physical and mental health can be drastically affected. This also extends to our relationships with our family, friends, coworkers, etc.
For healthy people, a simple nap can be an easy recharge. But, for lupus warriors, a simple shower could exert so much energy that it could take days or weeks to feel back to normal. Each person reacts differently, so we should be proactive and regularly practice self-care. We need to start taking care of ourselves physically and mentally and realize it is not selfish to take care of ourselves first.
What does self-care look like?
Self-care can be multiple things but should be incorporated into our lives. However, we see fit; it could be daily, weekly, monthly, monthly, etc. Self-care could be taking a nap, drinking a green smoothie, getting a facial, listening to a podcast, going for a walk, online shopping, eating your favorite meal, taking a bubble bath, doing yoga, journaling, reading a book, etc.
Self-care is important
We all can experience self-care differently, but the most important thing is to start and be consistent with a self-care routine. Sometimes it’s much easier said than done. But, we need to listen to our bodies and make sure we don’t exert too much effort or cause even more stress in our lives. We need to learn and understand when enough is enough. We need to remember that it is ok to take a break and slow down. Once we can take care of ourselves, we will be more helpful when it comes to others.
Life is so fast-paced that we sometimes feel the need to keep on going without thinking about the consequences that follow. We all wear many hats, have multiple responsibilities, and want to accomplish as many things as we can in a day, and when we can’t, we feel guilty. But, as lupus warriors, we need to re-evaluate how we do things in our daily lives and learn that self-care is not a luxury but a necessity.
Self-care is very important for lupus warriors. It gives us time to recharge and step back. It allows our minds and bodies to take a much-needed break and help prevent flares in the long run. We all need to find that balance, and in the end, it will be very beneficial for all.
Are you practicing self-care? What do you do? How has it helped you?
Have you experienced adverse side effects to your lupus medications?