We all know how crucial self-care is to our health and well-being, but somehow, it always seems to get pushed to the side--we get busy, or we put all our energy towards caring for other people rather than ourselves.
However, in order to cope with the stresses in our lives and stay in good health, we need to practice self-care regularly especially when dealing with a chronic illness like endometriosis.
When you’re having an endometrial pain flare-up, self-care may be the last thing on your mind. There are times when you ignore your symptoms and just try to power through the endometriosis episode or other times when you focus all your energy on getting through the pain, leaving very little energy for anything else.
Whatever way you handle your endometriosis is good as long as it isn’t ignoring it completely and just wishing that it would go away. You may choose to go down the path of Western medicine or you may try more holistic methods—both are viable options.
Self-care can help you manage your endometriosis—because after all, isn’t self-care just taking the time to recognize what your needs are, what you can to do make yourself feel better, and taking some small steps to improve your overall health.
11 Self-Care tips when you’re having an endometrial flare-up.
Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated is important every day but it’s especially vital when dealing with endometriosis issues. Water can help to reduce bloating, cramping, and will assist in eliminating certain toxins in your body.
Get comfortable: Often times when you’re having some endo issues you may have extra tenderness in your pelvic region or you may experience bloating. So, put on your comfiest clothes. If you think of comfort as your pajamas or old yoga pants, then the simple act of putting them on will get you into a more positive headspace.
Embrace your JOMO: Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to do nothing. If you want to curl up on the couch with your dog or cat, and watch Netflix, then do it. You’re allowing yourself to take the time to decompress which is a great way to practice self-care. If you power through a social event just because you think that your friends will be mad at you if you don’t, you’ll end up feeling even worse and they’ll probably feel bad at making you.
Have a good soak: There’s nothing like some aromatherapy and warm water to make you feel better. You can add to the overall ambiance of your bath by listening to some music via waterproof Bluetooth speakers, using scented bath-bombs, and/or lighting some candles.
Heat it up: You might not be familiar with heating pads or maybe you think they’re too old-fashioned, but if you let them, they’ll be your best friends. One of the best ways to help relieve endometriosis pain is a heating pad. The heat helps to loosen and soothe your muscles. If you want to go even more homeopathic use a rice sock. All you have to do is take a clean sock (maybe a sock in a bright color or a fun design,) fill it up with uncooked rice, pop it into the microwave for up to two minutes and you have another heat source to ease your endometriosis pain.
Try a TENS machine: For those times when you want something that is drug-free, fast, and easy, try a TENS machine. TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and a popular one is Liva. What these compact units do is to give off vibrations that can relieve cramps, bloating, backaches, and headaches.
Have some tea: Stick with decaffeinated green, ginger, and chamomile teas to help you unwind, decompress, and de-stress. Letting go of as much tension from your body as possible will help you to feel better and since you’re drinking decaffeinated beverages, that will also help to hydrate you. Don’t you love doing something that has twice the benefits?
Take medicine: Whether it’s Eastern or Western medicines, there’s no shame in getting some pain-relieving help. There are a lot of options including Chinese herbs, ibuprofen, and any kind of anti-inflammatory. Please read and follow the directions carefully. If it says to take with food, don’t take it on an empty stomach because that can cause stomach issues, which is the last thing you need.
Think outside the box: Sometimes you have to take a chance and go in a different direction when it comes to pain management. Many people have had great results with acupuncture and meditation. Don’t be afraid to try something new—as long as you’re mindful about it and gentle with yourself.
Laugh: When you’re having an endometrial flare-up, laughing may be the last thing that you feel like doing, but it’s extremely good for you. Laughing helps to release tension and relieve stress which is hugely helpful when you’re cramping. In addition, laughter has the added benefit of releasing endorphins, a natural pain reliever.
Move your body: Since you’re already practicing mindfulness, you know not to run that marathon when you’re having an endometrial flare-up and you’ve never run further than to the end of the block. Yoga, walking, or even just stretching while lying in bed can help you to feel better.
Endometriosis can sometimes be your body’s way of telling you to slow down, relax, and take care of yourself. Self-care shouldn’t be something that you occasionally do, it should be something that you do regularly, even if you have to schedule it in.