About the Author: Hi everyone! I’m Laine. I’m a 20-year-old wellness blogger, podcaster, and soon to be yoga teacher. This life that I have now is definitely not the life I’ve always had, and it’s taken me years of trial and error through chronic disease to carve a path for myself of hope, healing, and positivity. You can follow along my journey with health and wellness on my blog and Instagram.
History of Chronic Pain
I’ve dealt with debilitating chronic pain and health issues that doctors didn’t even know what to do with since I was 15 years old. I’ve been in the depths of depression, anxiety, and truly thinking I would never ever be or feel okay, or make it out alive. While other freshman girls in college were worrying about nights out, I was worrying if my insurance would cover medical procedures and if I would feel well enough to go to class tomorrow. I was always into health, but this journey is what called me truly to this passion of healing the mind, body, and soul for true balance and wellness.
While I’d love to say I’m perfectly healthy now, I’m not. I’m still healing, and that’s okay. My outlook on my daily pain and path is now hopeful and loving towards others, myself, and my body, instead of hating my life and my body- and let me tell you, the mind-body connection is real. My body and soul have healed more from joyful energy than it did in years of negativity. Every cell in our body listens to us and believes us. Our physical body feels our mental pain and literally absorbs that energy and weight.
When I was at my sickest, my life became a game of faking that I was okay to the outside world and covering my pain, shame, and sadness like a wound under a bandaid. My senior year of high school and freshman year of college were the hardest 2 years of my life, and every day I told myself it would always be that way. If we tell ourselves we will never heal or be happy, we won’t.
Path Towards Healing
About a year ago I decided I was simply exhausted from not being happy and healthy. I truly committed myself to transforming every aspect of my life, and this started completely with my mindset. The rest of my sophomore year of college I had to apply every inch of my being to achieving health and happiness. To healing, to breathing and sweating and walking in grass and loving and laughing and finding my true lifelong friends and doing things that scared me and sleeping and eating everything in nature and reinforcing to myself that I’m ENOUGH and I can be who I am.
Since then, I’ve had my backslides. I’ve had my heartbreaks, my failures, my mistakes, my tears, my body image struggles, relapsing into sickness, pain, and negativity. But every time, I grow. I come back stronger. I get back on my yoga mat, back to breath, back to journaling, to meditating, to making vision boards, to fueling myself with nourishment and love and I heal, a little more, again.
Tips for Practicing Self-Care Inside & Out
My #1 tip for dealing with chronic illness is to take exquisite care of yourself, first inside, then out. “Exquisite care” is caring for yourself as though you were caring for a dear friend of a loved one. It’s being gentle, both with how you speak to yourself, and how you live (sitting down to slowly nourish your body with love versus cramming down a meal on the go.)
So, take exquisite care of yourself inside, get your mental health in order. This was incredibly, incredibly hard for me when I enforced the limiting belief upon myself that I couldn’t be happy UNTIL I was healed. And that truly prevented me from healing, in my opinion.
Every single day I commit to myself these non-negotiables for my happiness and motivation:
- Brain dump in my journal: worries, fears, thoughts, gratitudes, affirmations (I am enough, worthy, loving and loved), and how I am growing and improving my life.
- Meditate outside with my bare feet in the grass, and specifically visualize my healing and goals.
- Make a to-do list
- Look at my vision board
- Organize my planner and how I’m moving towards long-term goals
- Revisit my breath and intention for a loving and positive attitude whenever I feel myself being negative
- Meditate before bedtime
Taking exquisite care of myself outside is also very important for my healing. These are the things that have helped me the most in staying positive and feeling as good as I can:
- Moving my body every day. I love yoga and long walks (if you feel really bad, this could even be stretching for 5 minutes)
- Drinking a lot of water and slowing down to take some deep breaths
- Fueling my body with food that makes me happy and feel energized (for me, this is a lot of fruits, veggies, high quality protein, and healthy fats, but for everyone it’s different!) and eating MINDFULLY. This means setting intentions and affirmations before I eat (I am so thankful for this amazing food that will nourish and fuel me) and putting away technology while I eat. I also like to eat outside and be in nature when possible.
- Waking up early: I find that when I sleep in, I wake up feeling more negative and less motivated to get up, especially when I don’t feel well.
- Sleeping early! Getting enough sleep is SO important and our bodies actually repair most effectively from the hours of 10pm-2am.
- Being ON TOP OF IT with scheduling my doctors appointments, taking notes in appointments, advocating for myself, and closely following treatment plan instructions.
- Caring for my physical body by using simple clean skincare daily, cold showers, taking medication consistently, and always doing a morning and nighttime routine to make sure I feel productive, clean, and healthy.
Seeking Happiness Everyday
It took me a LONG time to decide I wanted to heal and be happy. That sounds simple, but it wasn’t. I rebuilt every aspect of my life and my health (and still working on this) to love in alignment with my soul. My difficult experiences have helped me find myself, my spirit, my purpose, my fearlessness, and my desire to help others. This pain sent me into the most beautiful, crazy, life-changing journey of discovering ways to heal, to live, to love, to let go, and to be truly free and happy.
Many people wake up and dread the tasks of the day. I try to wake up every day and practice telling myself I love myself, remembering how far I’ve come, and feeling gratitude for even feeling well enough to walk to yoga class. All it is is practice. Write it down. Journal it. If you’re dealing with chronic illness, see it as a blessing in disguise. You have so much clarity, appreciation for life, and true grit because of this experience. Practice happiness. Practice perseverance. Practice positivity, and that is what you will attract.
If you are looking for more resources and support surrounding chronic illness, check out our other blogs:
- 10 Things Chronic Pain Taught Me
- Finding Friends In The Chronic Illness Community
- Working Full-Time With A Chronic Illness
What are some other ways to practice self-care and wellness? Let us know in the comments or share your story with us here. We love hearing from our community members!