I’d like to discuss an autoimmune health subject that might be hard for some of you. If you are conflicted in this area, your’e not alone! However, adopting what is outlined here into your habits can drastically improve your quality of life.
Yes, it’s that powerful.
It’s imperative that, especially in your journey to autoimmune health, you assign yourself value. I’d venture to say that unless you do this, you cannot unlock the full potential of health within yourself. That’s a pretty bold statement considering we live in a nation filled with doctors, medications, various therapies, super-foods, vitamins, supplements, diet fads and a plethora of online resources – But it’s completely and altogether true!
The facts are, as a nation, we’re busy. We’re parents, spouses, board members, position holders, directors, bosses and dedicated employees. The 24 hours we are given each day is quickly filled with tasks and constant glances at the clock so it’s really no surprise that a common struggle is finding the time for health.
But health goes so much deeper than simply finding the time for it. We find time to make phone calls, mow the grass, clean out the car, grab some groceries or any other necessary but typically unenjoyable task. I’m here to tell you that you should not merely find the time but I implore you to make your health, and time spent on it, a priority.
And that is where it becomes different.
Did you know the average person has their television on over 8 hours each day? (1) Or that some folks even use their cell phones for up to 5 hours each day? (2)That is an insane amount of time! But in order to commit that amount of time to various gadgets, one first has to, on some level, make them a priority and something they want to do.
Imagine for a minute that you were only allotted $24 per day. If that were the case, chances are you would be pretty mindful about where each individual $1 was spent. And, if you decided to spend $5 on something, it would most likely have quite a bit of value to you because you would be investing just over 20% of your budget on it.
The 24 hours allotted to you in a single day works the same way.
When you spend time on yourself you therefore assign yourself value.
But what does that look like, especially when it concerns making autoimmune health a priority?
Here are just three examples of ways you can invest time on yourself in order to support your autoimmune health. My Hypothyroidism thanks me when I routinely practice them (read my Hypothyroidism story here and here).
One very important example of a worth while time investment, with the intention of healing, is sleep. According to the American Sleep Association, adults require 7-9 hours of sleep but 35% of us report routinely getting less than 7 hours. (3) When this happens, the chances of autoimmune symptoms worsening increases. (4) Our bodies NEED adequate sleep.
Good sleep can improve productivity and concentration, maximize athletic performance (juggling kids 😉 ), improve your immune function and create an all over better mood. (5) Not getting enough sleep? Well, you’re looking at the exact opposite plus adding in depression, increased inflammation, heart disease and stroke risks.
Have you ever felt the sun on your skin and thought about how good it feels? Warm, comforting, mood lifting. Well, it’s not in your head. When light enters the eye, it stimulates neurons in the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that influences mood. (6) Serotonin is then released, which is the hormone responsible for helping a person feel calm and focused. (7)
Invest time, even if it’s a quick 30 minutes, in taking a walk or jog, doing some gardening or just sitting out and sipping some tea. Pausing the hustle and bustle of everyday life in order to allow your skin the opportunity to soak up some sun and your lungs a chance to inhale fresh air is an important part of investing in yourself and creating value in you.
Your mood is worth it.
This one might be the hardest form of investment but time spent on preparing healthful meals ahead of time just might be the most crucial. The success rate of sticking to a nutrient dense food program will increase dramatically when food is:
- Made ahead of time.
- Easily accessible.
- Made with a recipe that sounds appealing to your taste.
While it’s important to try new foods, especially with the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) diet, don’t fill your menu with recipes that leave you feeling deprived. Pick ones that sound good, make up a batch, store portions in single meal sized containers then freeze them! This way you’ll have food worth warming up when hunger strikes and it will all be compliant with your autoimmune health nutrition program. This does take time however, it comes down to choosing to assign value to yourself and what you eat.
Is self-care selfish?
This is where the conflict comes in.
Often times we feel guilty for prioritizing ourselves. Self-care like this might feel unnatural at first or even like an over indulgence compared to what you’re used to. However, it greatly benefits your autoimmune health and boosts your mood!
The more you practice assigning value to yourself, prioritizing your time and creating healthful habits the more empowered you’ll feel over your decisions and the easier it will become. For me, this allows me to be a joyful mom and happy wife, which, in turn, creates a more cheerful vibe in our home.
So, the answer is no.
You are not being selfish.
Your autoimmune health is worth it.
YOU are worth it.
For you, it might look like more productivity at work, less fatigue, reduced autoimmune symptoms or even weight loss.
Doesn’t that sound nice?
If you’re tempted to feel selfish for prioritizing yourself, remember that you’re not doing this for vanity or with selfish intent but for HEALTH. So in addition to following the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), the health plan you have with your doctor and any medications or supplements you’re taking, be mindful of what you spend your time doing and choose to spend time on YOU. Unlock more of your health’s potential and assign yourself value, my friends.
You. Are. Worth. It.
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