Hey everybody! I’m Corie and I was recently diagnosed with Lyme Disease about six months ago! It has been the hardest year of my life, but also the most rewarding. I struggle each day with low energy levels and extreme fatigue. Over the past six months I have come up with many lifestyle changes that have improved my overall well-being. The following are tips and tricks that I hope will benefit fellow chronic illness warriors reading this:
1. SLEEP-We all know how important sleep is! Without the right amount of rest, our bodies cannot function. Having a chronic illness means you probably need to get more sleep than others, and that’s okay! My body needs at least ten to twelve hours of shut-eye a night so I schedule my days around that. If you have to wake up earlier, make sure you are going to bed at a reasonable time.
TIPS FOR BETTER SLEEP:
Make sure your room is nice and comfortable. If you aren’t cozy in your own bed, you aren’t allowing your body to get the best rest.
Drink a hot cup of tea with honey before you get in bed.
Write out everything that is on your mind before getting in bed. That way all your thoughts are out on paper and your mind won’t keep you awake.
2. SNACKING-Keep snacks with you throughout the day to give you a boost of energy or to help you stay awake.
MY FAVORITE SNACKS:
Kind Bars-they are low in sugar & fill you up.
Dry Fruit Bars-contain natural sugars that give you a little boost of energy.
Popcorn-it keeps you munching and awake.
Plain avocado (with salt and pepper)-it’s yummy and energizing.
Sweet Potato fries-try cutting up a raw sweet potato and bake them in the oven, such a treat!
Cup of oatmeal-for when you need a more filling snack.
Fresh berries-they are great antioxidants.
Applesauce pouch-super easy and also great with kids.
Corn chips and salsa-my all time favorite.
All natural lemonade-combine water, lemon, and a few drops of stevia for a sugar free drink.
3. ORGANIZATION-live a stress-free life! When your life is organized, you are less burdened by everything that’s going on. Unnecessary anxiety is draining and the last thing you need when living with a chronic illness.
TIPS ON KEEPING ORGANIZED:
Tidy up your house, room, and car each day; just pick up after yourself.
Keep a planner to schedule out your days so you always know what is coming up next.
Have a set place for everything…that way you don't loose your phone, keys, or purse.
Have go-to outfits you know look good on! If you ever are running late, you will have items you can throw on without thought.
4. DIET-changing up my diet has completely transformed my life! I am now gluten-free, sugar free, and dairy free. Gluten and wheat are undoubtedly bad for your immune system. When you burn out your immune system, you are burning out your energy levels. Sugar is also widely known to be rough on you in general as it eats up all the natural energy in your body. It drains you after you get over the “sugar rush”. Dairy is not good to take with supplements and other natural remedies that give you energy. It tends to be extra heavy on your system and slows you down.
TIPS FOR A GLUTEN/SUGAR/DAIRY FREE DIET:
Lyme bacteria feeds off sugar so it’s essential we try to starve it.
Go to your local natural foods store (i.e., Whole Foods) and browse around. There are plenty of diet-friendly options.
Stick with fruits, veggies, meats, natural fats, and whole grains (rice, quinoa, etc.) to be safe.
Cut out one food group at a time, don’t try to do it all at once.
You may see a huge difference in your skin! I use to have really bad acne and it has completely cleared up since I started following the Paleo Diet.
Water. I can’t stress the importance of water. It helps regulate almost every part of your body!
5. SUPPLEMENTS-I take many different supplements each day. I truly believe these have helped me regain everyday function and combat fatigue. You can find different nutriments at a natural grocery store or even online.
SUPPLEMENTS I TAKE FOR ENERGY:
Omega 3 (fish oil)
Curcumin-this also helps with muscle pain and body aches.
Adrenal Calm-this stuff has worked miracles for my body! I feel energized just fifteen minutes after taking this with some food.
6. DETOX-get rid of the bad stuff in your body! Waste in your body can drag you down and increase lethargy. Detoxing every day while having a chronic illness helps get rid of the bug in your body and reduces disease.
HOW DO I DETOX?
Go to a sauna a few times a week to sweat out toxins in the body. I personally feel very refreshed after my sessions.
Take supplements like Burdock or Alpha Lipoic Acid. These are natural detox aides.
Glutathione. If I ever feel like I might have eaten gluten in my diet and want to make sure it doesn’t affect my body, a great nutrient to rescue your gut is Glutathione.
7. MANAGE ANXIETY-again, live a stress and worry free life. Keep good records with loved ones, forgive others, and forgive yourself. Remember that no one is perfect. Understanding this will help quell anxiety in your life along with ending worry.
ANXIETY TIPS AND TRICKS:
Breathe. When you start to feel anxious, take really big, deep breathes.
Turn on some uplifting music and truly listen to the words. Focusing on happy song lyrics, instead of my problems, helps me relax.
Essential or CBD oil. I personally take a CBD oil with natural calming effects. It’s my go-to whenever I feel overwhelmed. You can also rub, smell, or diffuse essential oils (like lavender) for their calming effects.
Exercise. I’m serious…going on a short walk outside changes the game for me. When I start to feel like I may cry, I head outside and take a walk. The fresh air joined with movement is just what our bodies need.
8. GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK-don’t feel bad about taking time for yourself. I need my ‘me time’ every day to refocus and reenergize my body and soul. In our culture today, taking things slow and making time for ourselves is frowned upon. Everyone today is trying to have the busiest schedule and the most things going on. This isn’t healthy for your body. Take time to watch your favorite show on Netflix or chill with your best friend. Take time for a nap or a long shower. Take time for yourself; it’s the best way to nurture your whole-self. Also, doing things alone is okay. Being alone is not a bad thing and spending time with yourself shows confidence in who you are! I love going to Target and walking around or spending the day at my favorite coffee shop by myself.
Living with a chronic illness is not easy, but I have found doing these eight things have really improved my quality of life! I hope you took something from my ideas. I would love to hear your personal stories on how you gain more energy. Let me know the lifestyle changes you have made due to chronic illness! If you are interested in reading anything else I have to say about health and lifestyle choices, I have a blog you can reach by clicking (here) Check it out!