2 Habits to Best Navigate an Endo Flare
I was recently asked how I handle the down days or flares. The reality is we’re all still learning, but I have found two habits to be especially helpful in navigating a flare.
Respect the fatigue
I heard these words at the beginning of my health journey, and they resonated so much. As a type-A, overachiever, I always tried to push through fatigue and pain. And I’m humbled to say that it took me more flares than I’d like to admit before I finally realized that that approach wasn’t working.
Trying to push my body past its threshold in a flare only kept me down longer. It made it worse. I realized that I was trying to protect my ego more than my body. I had to face the fact that a flare is not a failure.
I didn’t do anything “wrong.” It simply means that my body needs a little extra rest and support right now. So, to try to tune my body out and driving myself to “push through it” wasn’t going to help. I needed to give my body the rest and support that it was asking for. The only way out is through it, as the saying goes.
That rest will look different for each of us and may even look different from one flare to the next for the same person. It’s an opportunity to connect in with your body. Does it need sleep? Does it need to simply lay down with a heating pad and some calming music? Does it need some gentle stretching through yoga? Or maybe a bath with essential oils sounds most calming to you. The key is to give yourself permission to rest and take the time it needs to heal.
Reflect and prepare
I’ve also gotten into the habit of reflecting after each flare on two questions. What was helpful during this flare that I want to ensure that I have ready for a potential future flare? What didn’t I have available, but really wanted? And again, how can I have that available for a future flare?
The answer to the first question is often around food. During a flare, I don’t have the energy or strength to cook. Sometimes, I don’t even have my normal appetite to eat. That’s why it’s important for me to have food prepared in my freezer that I can pull out and simply heat up.
In my freezer, I always try to have a soup, fruit popsicles, chicken broth, and some type of protein such as shredded chicken, chicken poppers (homemade chicken nuggets), or turkey meatballs. This allows me to have something delicious to eat at any stage of appetite.
Often, as soon as I’m feeling better from a flare, I will try to restock my freezer, so these foods are available in the future. Next, I reflect upon anything I wanted or wished I had that I didn’t have during the flare. Sometimes this is food or beverages, other times it could have been something like essential oils, ice/heat pack, refill of prescriptions, etc. I do what I can to stock them up and then move forward with getting back to normal life.
What do you find to be most helpful to have prepared or available when you’re in the middle of a flare? Share below so we can all learn together and make these flares just a little easier.
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