Lifestyle Changes to Feel Better with Hepatitis C
For most of my life, I’ve prided myself on being a “healthy” individual. From the foods I eat to daily movement, attending therapy, and journaling, I’m a big believer in taking care of your mind, body, and spirit.
Thankfully for me, my health-conscious lifestyle was already in place when I received my chronic hep C diagnosis.
Reflecting on that time now, I know for sure that my wellness practices are what helped me manage my symptoms and assisted my body in healing while receiving treatment. I’ve continued with these health-conscious lifestyle choices and hope to help others find what works for them.
We can’t always control what health experiences pop into our lives, but we can practice daily wellness practices to do our very best at healing and maintaining wellness.
What is health and wellness?
When it comes to the wellness world, most people automatically think of diets and expensive supplements. They think of the diet culture-filled media selling us products and programs to essentially change who we are.
But that isn’t true health. To me, true health is finding the lifestyle practices that are attainable and sustainable to you as an individual.
It's about finding what foods, exercises, and practices work best with your body. It’s about finding what makes you feel good versus focusing on how you look, what size you are, or how much you weigh.
These wellness practices I share today are what I've found to work best for me. Take everything with a grain of salt, try them out, see how you feel, and evaluate whether or not it's a fit for your lifestyle.
I suggest you remember this process of experimentation and evaluation with any health practice, trend, or diet you try. Listen to your body and what it’s trying to tell you.
The best methods to take care of your body
Rest for the mind and body
Now I know this sounds stupidly simple but trust me when I say sleep is so very important. Most of us know this, and yet it’s the most neglected aspect of wellness. With proper rest, our bodies can heal, rejuvenate, and fuel our cells for life.
Without enough sleep, night after night, our body systems start to feel the repercussions of not enough rest. It affects our physical body, our mind, and our emotional wellbeing.
My best advice for sleep is to start tracking just how much (or how little) sleep you’re getting each night. Seeing the number can help you conceptualize what your nightly sleep health is actually like.
This allows you to take a good look at your schedule then, both morning and night, to shift things around.
Maybe it means going to sleep earlier, so you plan to start your nighttime routine earlier; your phone goes on “do not disturb” by a particular time, or as simple as setting a sleep reminder alarm 30 minutes before your bedtime.
I did all of that and also realized that by packing my lunch ahead of time, I could get 30 extra minutes each morning to sleep in more.
Fuel your body properly
When it comes to food, there’s a lot of “noise” out there. Every day we are exposed to media brimming with diet culture, health claims, and promotional content.
There are 101 different diets and programs telling us to eat in ‘this way or ‘that way’ to lose weight, feel better, look different, etc.
The issue with this noise, as I call it, is that none of the recommendations, people, programs, diets, and so forth are specific to you, and they don't know what settles well for you and what doesn't.
They don’t know how active you are or the rate at which your body burns calories for fuel.
And they certainly don’t know what your lifestyle and mindset with food are like. As someone with a past of an eating disorder, I can say firsthand that becoming obsessed with any one diet or way of eating never ends well.
The rigidity and rules of most diets and programs are not fully attainable nor sustainable for most lifestyles and bodies.
The exception to this is medical diagnoses such as celiac and such, of course. The way I’ve found both health and peace with food is by experimenting and listening to my body.
Over time I’ve been able to realize what foods work best with my body as both enjoyment and fuel.
This was especially important during my hep C treatment. I began to become sensitive/near allergic to certain foods.
Once the hep C was cleared out and my body had healed from the damage, I was able to reintroduce those foods.
Move your body everyday
Whether it’s through daily walks, yoga, going for a run, strength training, and so forth, getting movement every day is essential for the body. During my struggle with hep C, my body was constantly stiff, sore, and tired.
Motivating myself to move my body for 15-30 minutes a day made such a difference in how I felt. Other forms of movement could include:
- Cleaning your home
- Dancing it off
- Working on a project
- Any other activity that gets you moving
It’s beneficial for our bodies to work and keep “the juices flowing,” so to speak. It doesn't have to be a killer workout that leaves you dripping in sweat, just enough to get you moving and keep your body in motion!
These are the main three areas I focused on, and what I suggest others do as well. Once you’ve tackled these wellness practices, you can then move on to more personalized or unique forms.
Just remember, a healthy lifestyle should be attainable and sustainable. If something starts to feel wrong or obsessive, shift your focus until you find what works best for you.
Have fun and experiment!
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