April Christina turns to these items when her endometriosis gets tough.
Having any chronic disease can increase your risk of a mental health issue. Dealing with the symptoms, the treatments, and the lifestyle changes can overwhelm you or cause feelings of shame, hopelessness, or loneliness. For people living with a chronic disease, including endometriosis, self-care is critical.
April Christina, a blogger who lives with endometriosis, quickly noticed how her endometriosis was affecting her mental health. For example, she realized she was pulling her own hair from all the stress she was carrying. April decided she needed to take steps to prioritize her mental health and practice self-care.
What Is Self-Care?
“Self-care” has earned a confusing reputation lately. Companies have borrowed the “self-care” label to advertise their products. As a result, many people now mistakenly believe that self-care means splurging on things, such as beach vacations, pricy yoga retreats, expensive spa services, or good ol’ retail therapy. These things can certainly bring some joy and comfort, but it’s a misconception of what self-care really is.
Self-care means taking intentional steps to take care of your physical and mental health. It can mean making sure you’re getting enough sleep, exercising regularly (hello, endorphins!), and not over-filling your calendar. It means giving yourself alone time when you need it, or finding creative outlets for your stress.
Self-Care Items for Endometriosis
April has acquired a few go-to items that make her feel better, whether she’s dealing with stress or painful endometriosis symptoms. What helps each person may look different, but here are the self-care items she recommends for endometriosis:
- Coloring book: Art is often a meditative creative outlet to relieve stress. Adult coloring books are a great way to get artsy without having to invest in paints, canvases, brushes, etc. April likes coloring books that have positive messages in them for an extra mood boost.
- Gratitude jar: This is a self-care method where you write down the things you’re grateful for (every day or every week), and then fold them up and keep them in a jar. Later, you can look through the pieces of paper in the jar as reminders.
- Journal: Journaling is a highly recommended practice for everyone, and it can be especially helpful for people managing an illness. Not only can you use journals to track your emotions, but you can also use them for monitoring symptoms, changes in your menstrual cycle, and other concerning issues.
- Uplifting books: April likes to keep a few books on hand that can provide a quick jolt of encouragement. Similarly, a card you received from a loved one with a handwritten message may provide this effect.
- Compress, heating pad, or hot water bottle: This is one of the best items you can have to care for your physical health if you have endometriosis. If you have severe menstrual cramps, these can provide soothing pain relief. April’s compress works in two ways: cold or hot.
If you’re struggling with your mental health, you don’t have to figure it out on your own. Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional for help navigating the stress of a chronic illness. Your doctor is there for more than just treating the physical aspects of your disease. They can provide tips for managing disease-related stress, or connect you with the resources who can.