How To Manage Endometriosis When You Live By Yourself
I have a confession: I love living alone, and I get to choose what to watch, like reruns of Sex And The City or Captain Marvel for the eighth time. Also, my bathroom has become my spa, and I can hog the shower as much as I like and take it nice and slow during my nighttime skin routine.
However, I don't enjoy having an endometriosis flare-up all by myself, and I miss having someone to help me walk my dog during those unfortunate times. Flying solo means having no one around to cook me a nutritious meal or help me move around when in severe pain. And that's a true downer.
The logistics involved in being single are incredibly hefty. I don't have a live-in dog sitter or a reliable driver to drop me off at the doctor. I am the sole planner and executioner of everything that needs to be done, and this is exhausting.
Living alone with a chronic illness
However, I have become a pro at managing my existence as a single, chronically challenged, hormonal beast. It has taken a lot of trial and error, but some things make my existence easier. If you are also doing this endo-life solo, I hope these tips help.
Do any big grocery shop online
While I like to shop locally, I use a delivery service if I need to buy something more significant than what I could easily carry. While I can walk to the nearest supermarket most days, ordering online is not an indulgence.
It's a conscious choice to avoid over-exertion and prevent further pain.
Keep easy meal options in the freezer
I follow a mostly fresh, anti-inflammatory, endometriosis-friendly diet. However, I try to keep easy meals readily available.
While I am not a fan of processed food, a gluten-free pizza or pre-roasted potatoes come in handy on my worst days. Anything that can be turned into a meal just by putting it in the oven is exactly what I need during a flare-up.
Also, frozen vegetables are a fantastic staple of modern life when my energy levels prevent me from standing and doing some veggie-cutting. They go into a quick stir-fry or into the oven, later covered in tahini and lemon.
Work around your energy levels
Ideally, I would hire a dog walker to exercise my puppy when I can’t, but right now, this is out of my budget. However, I have a system in place if a flare-up strikes.
Whenever I am not OK, Jarvis gets short trips to the nearest tree, and when we’re stuck indoors, I give him toys stuffed with food to keep him busy, and I rest.
Mindfulness has helped me become aware of my energy levels. I never impose a rigid schedule on myself and only do energy-draining activities like household chores when I can physically manage them.
Make comfort a priority
A great thing about living by myself is that it is all for me when I have something suitable. Not only can I eat all the ice creams without sharing, but I also get the best blankets and my entire bed.
This me-centric philosophy has helped me be OK with purchases like my weighted blanket. It was not cheap, I had several other blankets, but it offers a superior level of comfort that I deserve.
It also never lets me down when my leg pain strikes.
Set up an in-case-of system
Imagine the strongest flare-up, the worst possible scenario, and write down what would need to be done, step by step. Take note of who you can call if you need a trip to the ER, which of your friends has a car, and who could bring you some food.
Having a plan already in place has helped me manage the anxious thoughts that can appear when living alone.
While facing flare-ups alone can be emotionally trying, I am proud to live independently. And while my version of solitary life will not suit everyone, it works for me.
What are your own tips for managing the endo life by yourself?
Have you had any of the following surgeries for your endo?