How to Keep Healthy Relationships and Maintain Your Wellness While Living With Chronic Illness | The Health Sessions

How to Keep Healthy Relationships and Maintain Your Wellness While Living With Chronic Illness

This article is written by Miranda Davis. 

Making a relationship work is hard enough when both partners are fit, but things can become complex when one or both people are suffering from a chronic illness. Thankfully, there are actions you can take to maintain a strong relationship while also maintaining your wellness. In this article, we will look at tips on how to achieve physical wellness and how to maintain mental wellness.

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How You Can Make Your Menstrual Cycle Work For You (Instead of Against You) | The Health Sessions

Go with the Flow: How to Make Your Menstrual Cycle Work For You

This blog post contains some affiliate links to products you may find useful, at no extra costs to you. All opinions are my own. 

Do you feel bloated, tired or irritated right before or during your period?

PMS is one of the most noticeable examples of how hormonal changes impact your body and mind. But hormones affect your health, mood and behaviour in countless more ways – in women and men. These small but mighty chemical messengers, excreted by the glands in your body, influence many physiological processes, from your appetite and sexual desire to hormonal anxiety.

Your hormone levels naturally rise and fall throughout the day. Cortisol, for example, peaks in the early morning hours to wake you up, whereas melatonin gets secreted when darkness falls. But in the female body, the reproductive hormones also fluctuate over a monthly cycle of roughly 28 days, changing how you feel from week to week. That means that, unlike men, female bodies don’t function in a steady, predictable manner day in day out.

In Period Power, women’s health expert Maisie Hill advocates that we should acknowledge these monthly fluctuations, without feeling like we’re moody, unreliable creatures for doing so. Your energy levels, mental focus, mood, libido and food cravings vary throughout your menstrual cycle, due to hormonal shifts. And that’s not only normal, according to Period Power you could even take advantage of your hormonal powers.

If that’s the case, how can you get your menstrual cycle to work for you instead of against you? 

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15 Joyful Quotes That'll Put a Smile on Your Face | The Health Sessions

15 Joy Quotes That’ll Put a Smile on Your Face

This blog post contains some affiliate links to products you may find useful, at no extra costs to you. All opinions are my own.

Experiencing joy and feeling sick every single day – that sounds like a huge contradiction right?

You’re right, there’s nothing fun about chronic illness. Being exhausted and in pain, having serious symptoms, not being able to do the things you love, it all sucks the joy right out of your day.

And yet, joy is a more powerful emotion than we give it credit for.

When you’re having fun, feel passionate or burst out laughing, your brain receives a signal to release dopamine and serotonin. These ‘happy hormones’ causes reactions in many other parts of your body, like a racing heart from excitement or butterflies in your stomach. Through this chemical process, joy boosts your immunity, reduces stress and pain, improves your heart health and makes it more likely to stick to a healthy lifestyle. Studies show that even a fake smile can trick your brain into a better mood and lower stress levels.

So when you think of it, you actually need more positive emotions like joy now that you are sick. Not just to support your health, but to counteract all the negative experiences you’re dealing with. According to the happiness ratio concept, you need 3 positive emotions for every negative one in order to feel good, physically and emotionally. (Ok, the exact ratio is criticized but not really important – the idea that you need plenty of positivity in life for a healthy balance is).

Making room for joy in your day is not a luxury, it’s a necessity for your wellbeing.  

Sounds great, but how can you cultivate joy when you’re chronically ill or experiencing other kinds of hardship?

The first thing to realize, is that you can be sick and hurting and experience moments of joy at the same time. Feeling happy and excited or having fun does not mean that you aren’t seriously ill. It means you were able to put your pain aside for a little while to enjoy life too. These conflicting emotions can coexist. Filling your days with more laughter and more fun activities is not selfish or frivolous – you’re simply trying to live a full life despite your illness (and work on your health in the mean time!).

Even on bad days, you can try to find joy in your senses, from cherishing a good piece of chocolate to listening to your favorite song. You can find joy in playfulness, getting silly and laughter. It isn’t easy, but looking for the humor in every situation can be a helpful coping mechanism. You can even find joy in accomplishments, like putting in a day’s of hard work or overcoming challenges.

Whatever sparks joy for you, make sure your sprinkle more of these simple pleasures throughout your day. I highly recommend making your own happy list to cultivate positivity when life’s tough.

And perhaps the 15 joy quotes below will give you some inspiration – or at least put a smile on your face today. 

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Chronic Illness and Body Image: How to Remain Positive | The Health Sessions

Chronic Illness and Body Image: How to Remain Positive

This article is written by Avery T.   Chronic illness is broadly defined as a condition lasting more than 1 year and requiring ongoing medical attention. Whether it be mental or physical (or a combination of both), many Americans live with chronic illness—40% to be exact. Chronic illness often presents a variety of challenges, but what … Read more >