Living with chronic illness has been a rollercoaster. Life lessons that I always seem to learn the hard way (why do we do this?!).
So, what have I learned?
- Know and live by your values… In my book 9 Rules to Sort Your Shit, this is Rule 1. All decision-making becomes so much easier when you live by your values.
- Movement is medicine… your body needs movement. When I was bedbound, I worked on diaphragmatic breathing and wiggling my fingers and toes – that’s all I could do. Then, as I started to recover, those movements got bigger. Always listen to your body. When living with a chronic illness, you will need to rest more than you want to.
- Ask for help… it’s not a weakness, and from my experience, there are people around you desperately wanting to help. My determination to be independent and prove people wrong did me few favours.
- Trust yourself… you know your body better than anyone. Learn to listen to your gut intuition and follow its guidance.
- Don’t expect the doctor to have all the answers… Yes, they are knowledgeable people, but, as the previous point, you know your body better than anyone. And doctors often operate from outdated guidelines as soon as they are published – science moves fast.
- Learn everything you can about your diagnosis… As mentioned above, doctors are overstretched as it is and have more than one condition they need to know about, and these conditions present differently for each patient.
- Look for your root cause… illnesses rarely appear from nowhere. Understanding the diagnosis and that it’s driven by inflammation. Look at your life to know where your inflammation is being driven from and work on reducing it.
- Chronic inflammation is multifactorial… it could be trauma, stress, diet, nutrient deficiencies, overuse of medications, a genetic component, overexercising, underexercising, infection, poor sleep quality… the list could go on. You need to look at your lifestyle.
- Genetics might load the gun, but lifestyle and environment press the trigger. Initially, I was told Crohn’s was genetic – but that made no sense because no one else in my family has Crohn’s… The study of epigenetics clearly shows that genes get switched on and off based on environment…
- Mindset matters… The power of your mind & your thoughts influence your health. There was a study done using milkshakes. Everyone was given the exact same drink but told it was either a luxury 600kcal or slimshake 200kcal. The people with the luxury shake reported feeling full and satisfied, whereas the slimshake reported feeling unsatisfied and still hungry… They were all given the same shake. Another study where cancer patients who did a visualisation of their successful treatment had better outcomes than those who did no visualisation…
- How you feed and nourish your body matters. Not just the type and quality of the food and drinks you consume but everything you consume – media, social media, TV shows, the people you surround yourself with. It all matters.
- Have strong boundaries… Learn to say no to the things that drain you physically, mentally, and emotionally
- I love helping and supporting women on their healing journey. To learn more about how I can help, head over to www.iamjenwilson.com/heal