Editor’s note: The most common thyroid disorders involve too little thyroid hormone production (hypothyroidism) and too much thyroid hormone production (hyperthyroidism). You can learn more about thyroid function here.
If your doctor has diagnosed you with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, you may be wondering how this diagnosis is going to change your daily life.
With the help of your endocrinologist (the expert on hormones), medications and medical complications can be managed. On a daily basis, you can take some small steps to aid in managing your hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism by practicing a little self-care and following a nutritious diet.
Emma Deriu, editor at Health Insurance Comparison has suffered with both hypo and hyperthyroidism for some time. She shares her experiences and suggestions for anybody who’s recently had a diagnosis:
“Having a balanced diet and exercising regularly (but not overdoing it! It’s a balance that takes time to get right) has definitely helped. But the biggest thing for me is attitude. You have to motivate and push yourself, and get yourself excited about what you’re doing – a positive mindset is key. The energy levels will follow.”
Follow a nutrient dense diet
Did you notice I didn’t say “healthy,” “low fat,” or “low carb” diet? A nutritious diet is one rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and good quality fats. It includes the occasional juicy burger and chocolate bar. There is no one size fits all diet, but including nutrient-rich foods in your diet can help support a healthier you.
Try making simple swaps like choosing grain and seed crackers over plain butter crackers, adding nutrition while still hitting the crunch factor. Sneak vegetables into pasta sauce by adding steamed carrots and finely chopped broccoli, blend for best results. Adding extra fruits and vegetables can give you extra nutrients, help encourage a healthy weight and improve daily energy levels.
Catch some Zzzs
The classic recommendation of 8 hours each night may not be for you. If you are living with a chronic illness, you may need more rest. The daily demands of life can be overwhelming, but adding doctors visits and pharmacy runs can leave you feeling extra exhausted.
Support healthy rest by unwinding before bed. Limit distractions like cell phones and televisions. Try sipping a cup of tea (chamomile is well-known for its sleep-inducing benefits!) and stretch out your body before going to bed.
Take a moment for yourself
Self-care is trending for a good reason. Stress can make medical conditions worse by increasing inflammation, affecting our sleep and even our appetites. Stress causes a release of different hormones in our body, creating some undesirable side effects. While the stress of managing hypo and hyperthyroidism may seem unavoidable, especially right after diagnosis, taking a moment for yourself can help with managing that stress.
If you have wanted to try meditation, now’s the time! Meditation is a free, easy way to clear your mind. If it’s not for you, try taking one night a week and do something you enjoy. For me, that’s a warm bath and a glass of wine or a walk on a nice day. Taking a few moments for yourself makes living with an illness manageable.
Seek out support
You don’t have to manage your illness alone. Sometimes, the support of your doctor and medical team isn’t enough. Try reaching out to a support group. If in person isn’t your thing, you can participate in support groups online. You can also ask your doctor for resources.