When you are stuck in a health funk
A couple of weeks ago, I got ‘glutened’.
As someone with coeliac disease, even small amounts of gluten make me feel very sick.
Over the course of a week I was nibbling on a pre-made trail mix that contained traces of gluten – oops, I was complacent with label reading! During that week I began feeling ‘off’. As the days progressed I had increasingly worse tummy problems along and plummeting energy levels. All I wanted to do was lie on the couch. Teaching my regular yoga classes completely took it out of me. I had a cracking headache 24/7. I got my first wisdom tooth-ache in years. I couldn’t think straight, through a cloud of brain fog. My mood became increasingly dark.
After I realized what was causing it, and getting off the gluteny stuff, the cpeliac flare symptoms were strong for another week. 10 days after stopping the (traces of!) gluten I’m feeling 80% back to my usual self. The coeliac disease flare reminded me how important simple self care practices are when you are stuck in a health funk.
Here are my tips for healing, and staying sane through the process.
Reduce commitments and work
When you aren’t feeling well, the last thing you feel like doing is socializing, tending to family commitments, helping others out or regular work. Look at your schedule and see where you can cut down. Take some sick leave from work so you can lie on the couch for a couple of days. Re-schedule catch ups with friends. Decline that party invitation. Ask your partner or family to watch the kids. Use up meals from the freezer or simplify your food prep.
Don’t feel guilty about doing nothing
We’ve all done it. Pushed through while feeling off, only to regret it later. Only to feel more unwell and get a stronger message from the body to slow down or stop. Know that the time you take to rest is imperative to healing. Down time can give you the opportunity to do some self reflection or journaling. Watch a movie, or read an engrossing book. If that is all too much, it is both OK and important to simply lie down or take a nap.
Move, every so gently
The last thing you will want to do while in a funk is work out. A little movement can stop you from feeling totally stagnant in your recovery though! During my recent funk, walking down the street to check the mailbox was therapeutic. While you are feeling drained and precious, take short and gentle walks at times of the day that aren’t too hot or cold.
I tried to practice few gentle yoga and yin classes on Yoga Glo, but found myself stopping early and switching to restorative yoga classes. Restorative Yoga is perfect for health funk recovery as it combines very subtle and supported yoga poses with relaxation. You don’t need subscription to a yoga website, you can find restorative yoga videos on You Tube, like this one from Ekhart Yoga, or Yoga For When You Are Sick from Yoga with Adriene.
Connect with others who understand
Feeling sick and resting can get lonely. Remedy this with a phone chat with someone you love. Or asking a friend or family member to pop in and visit you. I have a friend who has an autoimmune bowel disease who was highly understanding and supportive recently while I was going through my gut-based funk!
Get outside and feed your senses
Another tip to stop you going crazy in your funk is to get outside, even for a few moments, to feel sunshine, or cool air, or a few rain drops on your skin. To see a different view, listen to leaves rustle in trees and take in the current season. Vitamin nature (as I call it) is very healing and can help you feel connected to the world.
It’s hot here in Texas right now. Getting outside during the middle of the day felt like a terrible idea during my funk. But I did take some morning and evening moments outside. Going outside after dark and gazing and the moon and stars was also lovely.