Because we all only have so much time, we need to plan our time well to live a fulfilling life. Most people do not need to consider energy management and stress management much at all. They just live their normal lives and do just fine.
However, patients with chronic Lyme disease and biotoxin illness must not only manage their time, but also their energy and stressors.
One day you may have lots of energy and accomplish a lot, and then pay for it in bed for the next few days.
Sometimes you deal with stressors well, but then other times, you cannot handle the simplest surprise to your schedule without streams of tears.
This situation is typical; you are not alone. Just about every chronic Lyme patient and biotoxin illness patient goes through the same thing and totally understands. The rest of the world - not so much.
So, what do you do? You need to manage your energy and your stress while setting boundaries with others.
And the first step in energy and stress management is to closely look at your current activities and responsibilities in order to define what is truly necessary and what is optional. Often, things that we think are required of us are not needed at all.
For example, do you really need a themed birthday party for your child complete with trendy entertainment or would a simple afternoon at the park with a few friends be sufficient? Does your toddler even care?
Do you really need to go shopping at the mall for hours and hours or could you just order some items online?
Do you really need to volunteer at church, for your child's soccer team, and for the animal shelter or would just one commitment be satisfying?
Do you really need to entertain your in-laws every weekend or would just once per quarter be more realistic?
Do you really need to plan and prepare for expensive and energy-draining vacations or can you just vacation at home?
And here is a biggie which may step on a few toes, but let's be real and say what needs to be said: Christmas. The saying goes that Jesus is the Reason for the Season. But if we are truly honest, our Messiah is hardly anywhere to be found during December. Instead, we exhaust ourselves out of obligations and become grumpier than the Grinch from shopping for unique gifts, wrapping gifts with the cutest ribbons, making scrumptious homemade goodies, planning perfect parties and get-togethers, decorating houses and trees, arguing with relatives who we see only once per year, and then cleaning up and putting everything away at the end of the month. Whew! It is exhausting! And for what? Does our Messiah even care about our participation in those festivities? What does he think now that our health is even worse and we are in even more debt because we unnecessarily over-extended ourselves? Why do we feel that we have to conform to society's expectations of the ideal Christmas and everything else? We do not.
We do need to take a close look at the above activities and even more in order to simplify our lives. Get out of the expectations and obligations box! Your health is much too important to spend your energy on things that do not make an eternal difference. Yes, we need to fulfill basic responsibilities, but most activities are not necessary. We need the gumption to just say no to energy zappers and adverse stressors. Instead, we should concentrate on spiritual healing while we are working on physical healing.
Once you have made the decision for energy and stress management, you will also need to set boundaries with others. This part is harder because often others do not understand how you can be so sick and yet look so good. Dr. Richey recommends the following books and workbooks to help you with this step.
A rule-of-thumb is to always schedule off twice as much down time (or more if needed) after strenuous activities. Just block out your schedule and stick with it. If you go on a weekend vacation, then take off the next week from major commitments. If you do lots of driving around one day, then make sure that you have at least two days of rest at home. And do not feel guilty about this extra time - you need it. Doctor's orders!
And what about toxic relationships? Yep, they are highly stressful and can even make you - or keep you - ill. Often, getting well involves eliminating certain people from your life. Yes, it may mean that you need to get a new job. Or you may need to not see certain friends much. And it may even mean leaving your spouse. Your health is much more important. You need healthy relationships!
Keep the following stress management ideas in mind, too.
Massage therapy is a great way to relax and relieve muscular tension from too much stress. Dr. Richey always schedules a massage session before and after major events - always.
Deep breathing exercises in a quiet room with relaxing music are quite beneficial.
And, then there is hygge, the Danish art of everyday happiness!
In addition, Dr. Richey can help you select appropriate essential oils and herbal supplements to help with stress management during your appointments.