Stress and Autoimmune Flares

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We’ve all heard about the link between stress and flare with autoimmune issues. I can personally attest to getting more frequent flares when I’m stressed, but how do you combat stress? I mean, we all have it. Life is messy. Many of us have families. Marriages are hard. Money issues. Family issues. Being stresses about your autoimmune issues… There is stress everywhere.

So how do you avoid it? I’ve made no secret that I’ve tried essential oils and I think I’ve found some relief in them. I won’t push one company over another, especially when I only diffuse them and like the scent. There are some really nice blends out there that just plain make me feel good.

There’s also a hot bath. Some people like exercise. I recently started walking 5-6 nights a week on a new paved walkway in our town that’s about 4 miles. In all honesty I wouldn’t go if I didn’t have a friend that I go with and keeps me on track. Some nights I don’t feel like it and I get the text saying “7pm?” and I feel the guilt. But, I also do feel somewhat better afterward.

The problem with exercise, as anyone with fibromyalgia or RA can tell you is it’s damn hard when you’re hurting. My first three days of walking were horrendous. I didn’t feel like I could make it back the first night, and when I got home I was walking like a 90 year old person. It wasn’t pretty.

It has gotten easier now that I’m almost 3 weeks in (and I haven’t lost a damn pound but that’s a whole other discussion). But, there are days when it’s really hard to talk myself into going when I’m sore from fibro or my joints are stiff or swollen from RA.

I had the fabulous idea to race my 10 year old one evening and about 20 strides in I felt a stabbing pain in my hip so bad that I thought I was going to fall on the ground. I’m not even sure what happened but that took almost a month to feel better. It sucks to realize I can’t do stupid things like run with my daughter without completely hurting myself, but I’m managing to walk.

My other remedy is one that people in my life don’t approve of…Xanax. But since last summer I’ve suffered from terrible anxiety. I don’t always know why it hits or if it’s something in particular that brings it on. I mean, I’m sure it’s stress, but there isn’t always a specific reason. I’m not embarrassed to say I need to use Xanax to help when it gets bad.

If anyone can figure out how to be completely less free so they can have less flares, can they clue me in on their secret? I have yet to figure it out even with everything I’m currently trying.

 

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