After the findings that were made during my week at POTS Care and after receiving my preliminary plan, I decided I would make some lifestyle changes to improve my health.
The main finding was that I have Chronic Inflammation. It is the underlying cause to most if not all of my symptoms and is what we are now aiming to treat. An important part of my plan during the beginning stages is to avoid anything that spikes my inflammation, the main one being stress. Some others include certain types of food, types of exercise, temperatures, chemicals/medications and some environmental exposures. Of course once I start to improve I will be able to slowly reintroduce these back into my life.
The main cause of my inflammation is stress. Because of my anxiety, sometimes even thinking about doing something can be stressful for me. I used to dance 25+ hours a week and now even thinking about attending one class spikes my inflammation. The first change is to avoid these thoughts and know that they will come back in time when I start to feel better. It is important not to push yourself too soon and to listen to your body.
Going out where there are people can also stress me out. If it’s a lot of people that can be even worse. The second change is to avoid busy places like the shopping mall, restaurants and parties. Of course you won’t be able to avoid this at all times but limit them as much as possible.
Trying to accomplish too much or putting too much pressure on myself is a big no no. It is natural for everyone to put pressure on themselves to do things or to excel but it is important to listen to your body and realise your limits and what is best for you. The third change is that I need to be patient and understand that this will take time. I will not recover overnight and to put pressure on myself to get back to doing things too soon will only send me downhill again. This change, I believe is important for everyone, even those without an illness, to understand and to try to make to their lifestyle. You can only ever do the best you can. No one can ask any more of you and you’ll always be proud of yourself if you know you did your best. So don’t go putting unnecessary pressure or expectations on yourself. Do your best and you’ll be surprised how much more you accomplish and how enjoyable and efficient you become whilst doing it!
If you find yourself in a stressful situation or a stressful mindset, I recommend the app Calm. I was recommended it by the team at POTS Care and it has been a wonderful resource. It helps reduce anxiety, bring your mind back to what is important and it brings clarity. I know for people living with POTS, we can have sleep issues and issues with depression and this app helps with all of it. It’s available on the app store and I just use the free version as it has many functions that help however you can sign up to their monthly or yearly plans to get even more out of the app. I hope it helps you!
If you feel up to it, I also recommend Yoga! Yoga brings your focus into yourself and your body. It relaxes any tension you may have in your muscles and brings clarity to your mind. If there are any poses that affect your symptoms, then avoid them of course but you should be fine with a lot of them. Again, I don’t just recommend this for people living with POTS but for everyone. Whether it’s a yoga class once a week or a little yoga when you wake up every morning, it will make a big difference to your mindset and to relieving stress. Here are some yoga poses you can try yourself at home and here is a link to a guided yoga class.
Thank you for reading and please contact me if you have any questions or comments. I would love to hear from you and know if any of these helped you!
Download Calm here: