Make Time For Health

5 Feb
"no one will take care of you if you don't take care of yourself"

Image credit Mind Body Green

Health is one of life’s most undervalued things. It is so often taken for granted; not thought about; simply assumed that it will always be good.

For those of us dealing with a chronic illness, health is not undervalued. It is often thought of.

For several years, when I was at my sickest, health consumed my life. All my time and energy went into trying to get well.

Now I am a long way recovered, health does not consume all my time, which is hugely liberating, positive and encouraging.

However, ME/CFS is a chronic illness and one that my body still has. And so now more than ever it is important for me to make time for health.

In a recent interview with The Telegraph, Ella Woodward, the creator of the phenomenally successful plant based recipe website Deliciously Ella, summed it up perfectly when she said:

“This horrible disease is always lurking. If I don’t take care of myself something comes back.”

The disease Ella is referring to Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTs). For me the disease is ME/CFS. For others it may be diabetes, fibromyalgia, lupus, M.S., depression or any number of other long term conditions.

I could not agree with Ella’s statement more. This is exactly how I feel.

If I don’t look after myself and do what I know works to maintain my health, then symptoms start to reappear. This might sound hugely limiting. But it’s not. I see it as massively positive. I am in control. Provided I do what I know keeps me in balance then I maintain my health.

Keeping myself balanced and in good health are my goals. They are the ends I seek. My means are: daily yoga and meditation, a gluten and dairy free diet, regular walks, a daily rest period and working with the mind-body connection. What works for me, may well not work for you. Health is incredibly individual. But for me, this is how I am able to live a life with my health in tact, keeping ME/CFS at bay.

I remind myself though that these things, the yoga, the meditation, the restricted special diet, the rests etc are not just means to a higher end. They are ends in themselves. I try to cultivate an approach of being present and enjoying the moment when doing these things rather than just passing through them in a passive state, wanting them ticked off and completed; the end attained for that day.

It is all a matter of perspective. If you can see making time for your health as a joy and foster the belief that it is valuable and enjoyable, something to be embraced rather than struggled against, then it will be so much easier to maintain the practice.

Take Care of your body it's the only place you have to live

Image credit Live 2 B Healthy (via Pinterest)

I am no saint and it is incredibly easy to give into temptation and not be bothered to go for a walk or to sit and meditate. But I have learnt time and time again that when I let things slide, slowly, symptoms creep up on me. It can be hard to see the value in maintaining a ‘health management regime’ (for want of a softer term) when you seem to be doing okay. It’s so easy to think ‘I’m fine, I don’t need to do this today…’ but then today becomes tomorrow, and tomorrow turns into the day after and a week has gone by and you’ve not done the one thing you know will help you the most. And slowly things unravel and ME/CFS starts to regain control. It is especially hard when the consequences of actions, or rather inaction in this case, are delayed. The knock on effect of me not taking a rest for a few days is not immediately obvious and often not at all apparent until it is too late.  And so I have learnt to act pre-emptively and make time for health to keep my illness at bay.

Maintaining good health should be embraced. It is not time wasted. It is necessary and immeasurably valuable. It is not a burden and shouldn’t be seen that way. I am the first to admit that I have on more than one occasion fallen into this trap. Sometimes you just want to live and let live! And sometimes you just don’t feel you have time – ‘I have to go and lay down for 45 minutes and listen to a yoga nidra’?! Really, are you kidding? And yes life sometimes gets in the way. But if more often than not you stick to what maintains good health for you then your body will thank you for it.

It may  not be forever. Health is an evolving (both forwards and back) state for us all. What is helpful or necessary for you right now may just be a passing phase. So for now, take care of yourself, in whatever form that takes for you and your health today.

For myself, from the outside I may seem perfectly well now. The invisible element of ME/CFS has never been truer. I am able to do, in some respects, anything I want to do. But that is only thanks to me making time for my health. I only have to look back to how restricted my life was when I was so sick for a reminder of how vital it is that I do maintain my health in the way that I know works for me.

So the motto is and always will be: Make Time For Health.

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10 Responses to “Make Time For Health”

  1. Kamilah February 5, 2016 at 3:59 pm #

    You’re completely right. Sometimes it’s hard to realize you need to slow down and make time for your health. You’ve definitely reminded me that even though my asthma and gluten intolerance aren’t going away, I am still in control of my attitude and perspective. Great post!

    • myjourneythrume February 5, 2016 at 4:19 pm #

      Thank you Kamilah! It’s all about attitude and perspective 😊

  2. Megan S February 5, 2016 at 11:30 pm #

    Health is so important! I don’t think I’m quite at the same point you are yet, but I do work on all those same things. Daily yoga (5 minutes) and meditation (varies daily), dairy and gluten free diet, walking (not as much as I’d like yet, if I do too many steps I crash and that number is still way to low for my liking).

    • myjourneythrume February 6, 2016 at 8:00 am #

      So great to know the same things that help me help you too, we must be doing something right!

  3. Lili February 10, 2016 at 6:49 pm #

    Precious advice and I totally agree. We shan’t leave our state of health to “nothing”. We need to learn to look at health intentionally 🙂

    • myjourneythrume February 10, 2016 at 7:32 pm #

      Exactly! Thank you for reading and commenting Lili 🙂

  4. thehomeschoolingdoctor February 11, 2016 at 1:29 pm #

    This is all so true. I think the challenge I run into is when there are things in the environment I can’t control which impact my health. Like six months of winter here where we live. The toddler, who is adorable and such a part of our lives and love, screaming and whining (as all toddlers do) while we try to cook, clean, and do home school. Or houseguests. None of these things can really be changed, so I have to find new ways to manage them internally on my end. That’s where I’m at now. Really working on that internal, recognizing flags, finding new methods to capitalize on the stressors rather than crush under them. And so on. 🙂 Terri

    • myjourneythrume February 15, 2016 at 8:37 am #

      I couldn’t agree more Terri. Life definitely gets in the way. I love your attitude about dealing with things internally and of ‘capitalize on stressors rather than crush under them’. That’s exactly how I see it. And 6 months of Winter…I don’t envy you! Jess.

  5. thehomeschoolingdoctor February 15, 2016 at 12:27 pm #

    Six months is too long. I’m a big bear.

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