Adapting Our Endo Strategies to the New COVID-19 Rules
In this article, couple Jessica and Chris discuss how the COVID-19 lockdown has impacted the way they manage endo as a couple.
How has new lockdown/social distancing measures/panic buying affected your endo management strategies?
From Jess: In some ways, it hasn’t affected me at all. For years now, I’ve been creating a lifestyle that helps me to manage endo and that includes working from home, getting out once a day for a walk to boost my energy levels, exercising in my living room using free YouTube videos, eating mainly my own, home-cooked food with the exception of weekends, and seeing friends roughly twice a month. Literally the only thing that has changed is I now can’t see my friends in person and I can’t eat out!
In contrast, I’ve struggled to get the supplements I need and we’ve not been able to get hold of organic veg and beans very easily, and staying away from pesticide-laden foods is important for managing endo. Having said that, we’ve been able to find most of what we need eventually, it’s just been a matter of visiting a few different stores.
From Chris: The lockdown has affected our weekends most as, like Jess said, working from home during the week doesn't really change much. But not being able to go out at the weekend means we have to cook more, or find new endo-friendly takeout options, which isn't so straightforward.
Also, as we live in quite a small town we often have to travel into London or Canterbury to get hold of certain endo-friendly produce and ingredients. Unnecessary travel like that is now prohibited, so the endo diet is more simple and repetitive.
What are you doing to counter this?
From Jess: I’m lucky in the respect that I’ve developed some really strong rituals and routines already. My morning meditation, yoga, gratitude, and walk have been a part of my life for several years now. Some months or years, I lean on others more than some, but there’s always a routine to help me lower pain signals in my brain, calm my nervous system, boost energy, and enhance wellbeing. Right now, I’m just really holding on to that and continuing with those things even more so.
From Chris: I'm taking on more of Jess' endo management practices as my own - working out at home, taking a morning walk and reflecting on what I'm grateful for during this time.
We've also done a lot of experimental, endo-friendly baking the past couple of weekends, which has been fun! Lots of low-sugar, gluten-free, vegan cake, and brownies to quarantine with!
What do you think are the most important management strategies to prioritize at this time?
From Jess: Our brain is programmed to recognize threats, and when it does, it’s on heightened alert and responds to pain with greater emphasis. That means our experience of pain is amplified, so this time of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty is likely to be causing many of us flare-ups. My suggestion is to focus on calming the mind with yoga, meditation, pleasure, comfort, laughter, breath, and connection (online)!
From Chris: From observing how much trigger foods impact Jess' pain levels, I would recommend sticking to as anti-inflammatory a diet as possible. Avoid comfort eating sugar and caffeine if those are pain triggers for you, because this is a time when your body needs you to be healthy and feel strong.
Do you know someone that has made a difference with endometriosis advocacy?