By Maria –
We all have been there: having a horrible migraine, feeling like crap, maybe even nauseous. On top of that, anxiety kicks in to make a bad situation worse.
When something similar to the cited scenario happens, we usually start hating ourselves and our bodies. We question things like, why does this happen to me? Why do I have to suffer from chronic illness? Why can’t I live a “normal” life? When is this pain going to be over?
All of these questions pop into our head making our circumstances feel horrible. But when we are down for any reason is when we need ourselves the most. If we are not there for ourselves, who is going to do it? Why is it that when we need ourselves the most we become our worst enemy? Imagine if you had a friend beside you; would you like him/her to ask you all the questions you ask yourself while going through a crisis?
In times like this we have to become our best cheerleaders. It can be really hard because when we are not well our mind can become a bad influence for us. It is time to change that. To shift the mindset particularly while our bodies are going through hell. This is when we approach self love as a tool.
What is self love?
According to Google self love means “regard for one’s own well-being and happiness (chiefly considered as a desirable rather than narcissistic characteristic).”
Taking care of yourself while living with chronic pain can be a daunting task. Even healthy individuals with ‘normal lives’ often seem to put self care on the bottom of their ‘to do list’.
Why is that? I really don’t know. We have to learn to make ourselves a priority. To me, self love means exactly that: to put myself first. To listen carefully to what my body is trying to communicate me and proceed accordingly to make myself feel better as soon as possible.
Self love & self care
Another concept that is in ‘yoga’ and usually comes to mind when we talk about self love is self care. Both self love and self care have a similar meanings. When I typed self care in Google it showed me that it refers to “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health and or, the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.”
Again, it is about prioritizing yourself. Self love and self care work together hand in hand. We need to love ourselves despite the circumstances. We need to become our #1 fan. We manifest self care through the lens of self love. You cannot fully love your own self without taking care of it.
Manifesting self love and self care implies that we have to be present. We have to pay attention. We have to listen to our bodies to find a way to heal them during the moments of distress.
I want to share with you some helpful tips that work for me when I have a horrible migraine:
– Take and make time for yourself: it is very important that you make yourself a priority. Your physical and mental wellbeing are important so ask for help, delegate if you can. Self love and self care require time and dedication.
– Allow yourself to rest: do not hesitate to take a break from life if you need to. During migraine attacks or any bad symptom derived from chronic illness, the mind and the body are in distress and will benefit tremendously from resting.
– Meditate: try to start a steady meditation practice if you do not already have one. It does not have to be long. It can last only ten minutes and the outcome is fantastic!
– Play your favorite music: it is a scientific fact that listening to our favorite music is good for the brain. It can relax the mind and the body and it elevates the mood. So go ahead and play your favorite tunes.
– Go for a walk: gently exercising the body can make you feel better depending on how you feel. For some people this is not an option and that is OK. Changing our surroundings, focusing on nature or giving the heart a gentle activity can help the intensity of the pain and mood.
– Call a friend: sharing is caring. Many times chronic illnesses are triggered by excessive stress. Calling a trusted friend or relative may decrease the stress levels and make you feel supported.
– Write in a journal: writing in a journal how we feel physically and emotionally when we are going through a rough patch can be very useful. It helps pour out our emotions and feelings so we declutter our minds and lets us go back in time to check how far we have come.
– Just relax: relaxing can be hard but stress means trouble for the mind and the body. Find an activity that will help you relax like taking deep breaths, watching a funny movie, meditating or whatever serves you at the moment.
Hopefully these tips will help you cope better with the symptoms of chronic illness. Being serious about a self care and self love routine may demand time and effort but will make a huge impact on your overall health whether you suffer from chronic illness or not.
Prioritize yourself and pay attention to your body. Become your best friend and supporter. When you feel well chances are most things around you will fall into place.