Saturday, October 19, 2013

Health Diary...

Do you keep a diary of your physical and emotional symptoms, as well as other pertinent information?  I'm horrible about keeping up with one, but I benefit when I do track my health.   For one thing, I am able to make connections between between how I feel on a particular day and factors that may influence my daily well-being.  For another, I am able to give my doctor a true picture of my health.  I lead a busy life -- as we all do nowadays -- and I can forget exactly when a cough started or a bout of unusual fatigue began.  My diary provides the answers for both my physician and myself.  Not only that, my doctor can see how my autoimmune issues do or don't affect my daily life.

What should you include in a health diary?  Whatever you find helpful to note.  Your entries don't have to be long.  You might jot down one or two words on subjects like the following:

1)  Physical and emotional symptoms
2)  Whether today was an energy day or a tire day
3)  Where you are in your menstrual cycle
4)  What the daily pollen count or mold count is in your area.
5)  What you ate, particularly if you noticed a stomach upset after a meal or a reaction to any one food.
6)  Your body's reaction to gluten, diary, nightshades, or chocolate.  (You might want to track just one of these at a time).
7)  weather patterns in your area

As you keep this diary, look for patterns in it.  Are your symptoms worse before a rain?  After a rain?  Do you feel awesome on a low pollen count day?  Do your symptoms wax and wane in a predictable pattern or do they seem random?  

Make special note of times you are feeling well.  Record happy things like the beauty of a spring afternoon, even if you don't feel well that day.  Create some happy patterns to look for so that your focus is not entirely on your limitations.  There is always a reason to rejoice in a given day, and we must train ourselves to find that reason. We are more than our disease, and there is more to life than our unpleasant symptoms.  Keeping note of the good along with the hard times provides a balanced view of our life.  That can go along way to helping us fight the depression and frustration that often accompanies illness, particularly thyroid disease.  

Knowledge of our body and its connection to internal and external factors can equip us to cope with our illness.  If we do find a cyclical pattern to our symptoms, for example, we can be proactive about making extra time for rest as we approach a possible down time.  We can tweak our diet to our body's particular needs.  We can better understand the up and down nature of our ailments, which will help us understand that a bad day, week, or month will likely be followed by a day of better health.  

Hang in there!