Mental health is so important, but yet, many of us ignore it. We often focus on being physically fit, drinking as many green shakes that we can find and doing meditation that often either causes our mind to race a mile a minute or we fall asleep in five minutes (I just raised my hand at the last one). Have you ever thought about the connection between your thyroid health and your mental health?
Think about it. When you’re stressed, do you notice that you start to forget things more often or your joints starts to bother you? During May and June of this year, I had super tight deadlines, a team of about 30 people to support and I had to maintain my duties as a wife, sister, and child. I found myself coming home exhausted. I often slept through my alarm, but I had to keep going. I had things to do! I continued to try to take care of myself by eating well and exercising, but there’s only so much that you can do before your busy exclaims “System Overload”!
When I’m stressed, my body shuts down, without warning. My joints hurt, I can’t remember anything, and my alarm clock doesn’t exist. I become incredibly short tempered and moody. I don’t interact much with others because I don’t want to do or say anything to impact others because I don’t feel well. Shortly after, I notice my tendency to become more sad because I do enjoy being around others.
I can think back to a time when I was diagnosed with my thyroid disease and I was so anxious and depressed. I just couldn’t understand what was going on and my body just wouldn’t cooperate. I decided that I needed to make a change. I couldn’t continue to experience what I was going through. I decided to go back to therapy.
I am no stranger to therapy. It has been a saving grace to me for quite sometime. I started going to therapy when I was about seven years old. As I got older, I understood how valuable a great therapist is. I have been able to work through some really difficult times, but most importantly, my therapist and I were able to focus on ways to help me take care of myself. I meditate, I pray, I journal and I talk to my loved ones/friends. I will even color from time to time and I am known as the person that has coloring books all over the place.
What matters most for those of us with thyroid issues is self care. When you do things to make yourself happy, you naturally start to feel better. When you feel good, your immune system sends you a big thank you and your symptoms are reduced. What do you do to practice self care?
Here is my Saturday routine to give you an example:
- I wake up whenever I want (My husband starts the process when he leaves to coach…he pretty much gives me hugs and kisses in the morning and laughs at me for being a “grumpy face”) .
- I take my meds and I will get a cup of tea (no milk, cream or sugar) and will go for a walk. This walk is at a very slow pace because I haven’t eaten yet and I don’t want to get sick due to my blood sugar dropping.
- I come home and eat breakfast and watch my favorite television channel, Food Network (cues the Pioneer Woman’s theme song)!
- I do work, whether it’s writing/coming up with content or doing work for the hospital. Typically I do more of my own stuff on the weekend as it gives me that balance.
- I plan out our meals for the week. Sometimes I go grocery shopping on early Saturday morning or Sunday. I usually will cook (two to three hours max) for meal prep for the week.
- Walk #2!
- I take a nap or do more content development/will watch a movie/Hang out with my mother in law.
- My husband and I will plan to go out (whether it’s to a brewery/winery, picnic, or hiking).
- We come home and it’s time for Walk #3!
- We talk!! It’s fun to catch up with him or watch a movie.
- I typically will take one more walk for the day or I fall asleep…
I love the fact that I allow myself to flow with the wind on the weekend. I can catch up with my husband. I enjoy being outside and being in touch with nature. I have developed this routine as a result of talking with my therapist. I LOVE THIS SCHEDULE. Notice that I don’t have times associated with my day. I like to mention that I’m a recovering perfectionist. This allows me to just be in the moment. What are your goals for today?
Think about it…what things are you struggling with in terms of your thyroid disease? Are you noticing that you’re more sad lately? If you’re on the fence about therapy, check out my resources section on what to look for in a therapist.
Don’t be afraid to try it out! What do you have to lose? Also, tune into my podcast episode on Mental Health and Your Thyroid.
Good day #thywarriors!