‘Wine Down’ and Join Me in Promoting Self-care

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by Jen Cueva |

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Life after a pulmonary hypertension (PH) diagnosis is stressful. As a Type A personality, I’ve often defined my worth by my productivity. But since my PH diagnosis, I am now working to prioritize my health.

We live in a society that praises productivity. Hustle culture is encouraged across social media. Those of us with chronic illnesses must learn to fight this urge to busy ourselves. We must listen to our bodies and practice self-care. This type A personality knows this is hard.

In a recent column titled “How PH Affects My Sexuality,” I shared how I feel like I’m not enough. These feelings of inadequacy make me think I’m not carrying my weight in my marriage — or in my life as a mom and a woman.

I’m guilty of not taking the time I need to do nothing. But I’m learning. Lately, I’ve been going to the beach to rest and take a break. I lie on my blanket, listen to the waves, and soak up the vitamin D.

At home, I see everything I could be accomplishing, and often get up to check another task off my to-do list. I feel guilty if I could or should be doing something that I’m not. But at the beach, away from the house, I can put away my phone, read a good book, and not feel that guilt. Can you relate?

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If we want to feel our best, we must acknowledge that doing nothing, taking time for self-care, and recharging are essential, especially for those with chronic illness. Neglecting self-care can be damaging, possibly resulting in a worsening of symptoms, disease progression, or simply feeling like crap.

We experience all of these effects at times, but listening to our bodies and not pushing ourselves beyond our capacity can help prevent that. We owe it to ourselves and our bodies to take breaks.

My friend Kerry Wong recently published a column at Sarcoidosis News that I found relatable. In “Our Worth Is Not Based on Our Productivity,” Kerry describes the difficulty of finding worth in who we are, not the things we accomplish. I was nodding my head while reading her points.

May 25 is National Wine Day, so in the spirit of self-care, I think I’ll enjoy a glass or two of wine and chill. Who wants to “wine down” and join me? Do you prefer your wine chilled? If wine isn’t your thing, or if it interacts with your medications, take this day to chill out and recharge with another cool drink.

Are you looking for some self-care tips? Check out the following pieces by my fellow PH News columnists. I’m sure you’ll find some helpful hacks and be on your way to improved self-care.

Practicing Self-care While Working From Home” is an open and honest column by Ellie Bird. I resonate with many of her struggles, but this part stood out to me the most: “Financial uncertainty also is a concern. If side effects from my medication act up, I am too scared to call in sick, because I am grateful to have a job during this difficult time. I don’t want to do anything to make me seem like I’m not a model employee.”

My friend and colleague Colleen Steele puts a spin on a famous children’s book, offering us an excellent reminder in a column titled “‘I Think I Can,’ Said the Little Caregiver That Could.” This line nailed it for me: “But after 14 years of thinking I can do it all, I’m starting to feel more like the tired and rusty old engine in the story who declined pulling the train because he thought he couldn’t.” Both caregivers and patients alike will find Colleen’s message relatable on many levels.

Check out the informative columns above, and remember that self-care is not selfish. Come on, let’s wine down as we work together to encourage self-care among those with chronic illness.

Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, Bionews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.


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