Self-Care Tips For People With HS
Last updated: February 2023
Self-care is important no matter who you are but having a chronic illness means taking extra steps to ensure you're taken care of due to the toll it may have on you mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. By definition, self-care is "the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health," according to Oxford Languages Dictionary. This means there are a plethora of ways you can practice self-care and you don't have to spend a dime doing it.
Tip #1: Pick up an old hobby or develop a new one
Now, when I say a hobby, I mean one that isn't commodified because that could add a level of unnecessary stress. Think about something that brings you joy whether you make money from it or not. Something that you would wake up and do right now because it puts a smile on your face.
If you can, do that or try and find a way to do it while considering your ability. Your hobby might be tennis for example, but if you're dealing with a debilitating flare then that might not be possible. So, maybe instead of playing on the courts, playing on a Wii or another game console would suffice. If that's out of your price range, watching a tennis match on TV or YouTube might also spark some joy. Think about something that makes you feel connected to parts of yourself that have nothing to do with having HS. You decide.
Tip #2: Move your body
This is easier said than done because you might be dealing with a debilitating flare-up. When this isn't the case, moving the body could do wonders for not only mental health but the body in general. One of the things I do after battling a flare-up or being sick is having a dance party. I put on my favorite music mix, take up space, and dance until I can't stand it any longer. That might mean 5 minutes or 45 minutes, but no matter what I try to honor where my body currently is.
The beautiful thing is we live in a world of vast possibilities which means there is something out there for everyone. If you can't dance, do yoga or maybe pilates is more of your speed. If pilates seems too rigorous maybe a walk around the block would serve you. Getting up and moving your body can improve mood, strengthen muscles, and help to shift stagnant energy in yourself and the space around you. Do some research and see what comes up.
Tip #3: Count your blessings
Expressing gratitude isn't about ignoring the weight of the world that is on your shoulders. It's about also identifying the things in life that are going right. Yes, you're dealing with a debilitating flare, but thank God you have air in your lungs to breathe through that pain. Yes, your skin is leaking, but thank God you're able to feel your nervous system. No, you may not be able to eat because you're feeling sick, but thank God you have food in the fridge for when you can enjoy some sustenance.
We don't have to exist in extremes. There's space for all parts of ourselves no matter how difficult it may be to hold that space. We can be both and. Appreciate the complexities of your existence but don't overlook what blessings you do have because regardless, there's always something to be grateful for.
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