I’ve Lived With Autoimmune Disease For 10+ Years: 3 Things I Wish I Knew Back Then

“For a decade, I thought food was the only thing [to focus on],” Walker says. Save for a couple of supplements here and there, she thought: “If I just eat this way, then everything’s going to be fine.” 

As those living with an autoimmune disease likely know, food is not the only trigger for flare-ups. Things like stress, sleep, and social environment all play a role. “I realized that if I didn’t get enough sleep, if I drove myself into the ground, working too hard, and didn’t talk to people like my husband…there’s a lot we have to make sure that we’re paying attention to,” she explains. “My biggest advice is to breathe and take a look at all of the different things that are happening in your body and your life, and figure out how you can try to manage all of those things.” 

For Walker specifically, managing sleep and stress are paramount. She has noticed that when she’s stressed or worried, her body creates an inflammatory response. Same goes for sleep: “As an autoimmune disease sufferer, the less sleep I got, the worse my day would be with my symptoms,” she notes. That said, she now prioritizes quality sleep and carving moments for downtime just as much as she prioritizes eating well. 

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