Self-care and celiac disease go hand in hand. While self-care is important all of the time, it’s especially important with autoimmune disease like celiac.
Below we will talk about why self-care is important with celiac disease and how to practice it.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that impacts the digestive track. Basically, when you have celiac disease your body attacks itself when you eat food that contain gluten. This causes damage to the small intestine that can lead to malabsorption, nutrient deficiencies, stomach cancer, and more.
There is also a condition called non-celiac gluten sensitivity. This means that someone does not have celiac disease but they are still sensitive to gluten. Often symptoms of celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity can look like each other which is why it’s important to rule out celiac disease with testing.
Either way, a gluten-free lifestyle is restrictive. Whether you are gluten-free because of celiac disease or because of non-celiac gluten sensitivity, self-care is important to maintaining a healthy gluten-free lifestyle.
Self-care is the process of taking care of yourself. It’s not rocket science, it’s just simply making time for you.
Self-care is a positive approach to coping with events and life. This can apply to both physical and mental health and can include activities that help you cope and relieve symptoms of different medical conditions.
Whether it be work, friends, family, your home, etc. it’s hard to take care of these things when we are lacking in the self-care department. You can’t pour from a glass that’s empty.
While self-care is important always, no matter what, it’s especially vital when you’re following a restrictive lifestyle, like the gluten-free lifestyle. It can help you cope with feelings of isolation. It can help you cope with feeling misunderstood, unsupported, frustrated, lonely, hangry, and sick.
Let’s be real, it sucks having a disease that impacts our entire life. In fact, studies show that sticking to a gluten-free diet (or living gluten-free) can feel more burdensome than lifestyle treatments for other common conditions. A gluten-free lifestyle can be so burdensome that researchers found that non-adherence can be a serious problem in those diagnosed with celiac disease.
It can get lonely, frustrating, and just downright exhausting. Constantly having to think 10x harder about going to lunch with friends or attending a holiday party is taxing.
This is why you have to make sure that you are taking care of you, first and foremost, so that you can advocate for yourself fearlessly and effortlessly.
As hard as self-care is, it is so important. If you aren’t taking care of your needs then it can be hard to do thrive with celiac disease. Signs you’re neglecting self-care include:
First of all, let me say, I get it. Self-care is hard. It’s hard to love yourself when it feels like your body has betrayed you. How dare it request that you remove what feels like an entire, tasty, delicious, food group.
So I won’t sit here and pretend like self-care will be an easy habit you’ll be able to just pick up at the drop of a hat. No, it will likely be hard to make the time and to find practices that help you. Despite this, much like switching to a gluten-free diet was hard but necessary, so is practicing self-care.
Self-care, when you have celiac disease, can involve developing habits that help prevent gluten exposure. Alternatively, it can involve creating a plan for how you will let yourself recover after gluten exposure.
Want more guidance? I developed a self-care planner specifically for people with celiac disease! Click the link below to grab YOUR copy!