Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The (Endo) 10 Commandments!

I just got these in an ERC News email from the Endometriosis Research Center and thought I would pass it along... heaven knows dealing with Endo is stressful enough, but add all the holiday season craziness and some days its just too much!

Number one: (and most important of all) Thou shalt remember that thou art the most important priority!  If you are no good to yourself, you won't be any good to anyone else.

Number two:  Thou shalt make a list - and check it twice.  Planning and organizing is a sure-fire way to avoid adding extra stress to your day - if you need to go shopping for gifts this season, make a list of all those you are buying for, what you plan to get, and what locations you might be able to purchase the items at.  Also - allow yourself plenty of shopping days!  Don’t wait till the last minute.

Number three: Thou shalt remember that thou art not superwoman.  This calls to mind a dear endosister, whom we'll call "J"....J. has a superwoman cape that she wears daily.  As superwoman, she is mom, wife, businesswoman and world problem solver every day.  The holidays make it worse.  Many of us have our very own superwoman cape hanging in our closets...we have to learn that sometimes, it's ok to take them off.  Do what you need to do for yourself and your family; don't take on extra tasks and responsibilities that someone else can - and should - be doing.  For further reference, please see number one.

Number four:  Thou shalt learn how to relax - and make it a priority.  Relaxing offers so many benefits! First, it gives your body an opportunity to heal from the day's events.  Rest makes for a stronger body, and a stronger body makes for a higher resistance to stressors.  Meditation, breathing techniques, aromatherapy, massages, hot baths, imagery and good old-fashioned sleep are just a few ways to relax.  Put it on your schedule if you need to!

Number Five:  Thou shalt not drag thyself to the mall if thou cannot rise up off the couch.  If you are healing from surgery, having an especially hard time with your endometriosis, or are feeling just altogether horrible, remember the true spirit of the  "Giving" does not mean purchasing, wrapping and then giving; it means giving of yourself and your time.  If you are unable to get out and about, invite your loved ones over for some quality time (if you feel up to it!).  If you have children, spend time with them doing one of their favorite (low impact!) projects.  They will appreciate it more than any gift Santa can bring.  If you're feeling well enough, make and wrap up something homemade...cookies or other baked goods, collages or other artwork, a heartfelt homemade card or poem.  And - there is always internet shopping!

Number Six: Thou shalt grieve if thou needs to.  The holidays can be really devastating to someone going through infertility, who has lost a loved one, or who has suffered through any traumatic event.  Remember that it is ok to give yourself time to be sad if you need to be.  Don't be afraid to seek professional assistance to help you cope.

Number Seven: Thou shalt watch thy diet.  We’re not talking about waistlines; we’re talking about the food and drinks so many of us strive year round to avoid because we know our symptoms will be "kicked up a notch," as Emeril says.  During the holidays it seems that everywhere we go, we are handed foods and drinks – literally on a silver platter - and encouraged to eat to excess and drink to elevation.  Ask yourself if the pain you know you will experience as a result of ingesting foods and drinks you don’t normally tolerate well is worth it.

Number Eight: Thou shalt not sweat the small stuff.  And, as a very wise person once said, "it's all small stuff."  So what if you didn't get that angora sweater you promised your sister for a gift?  Give her something else she'd value even more - another gift choice and your subsequent good health for not having worried yourself sick about it!

Number Nine:  Thou shalt call thy healthcare practitioner if thou feels thou needs some extra medical care this time of year.  Don't put off getting or keeping an appointment with your doctor because you think you have to go cut down a Christmas tree by yourself...the tree will still be standing there an hour later, after your appointment.

Number Ten: Thou shalt refer to Number One at all times!