Angie Alt is wife, mother, world traveler & blogger. She’s also a warrior in the autoimmunity war. Angie confronts three autoimmune disorders each day, including Celiac Disease, with powerful management techniques like AIPaleo & the Paleolithic lifestyle. She blogs regularly about the emotional side of tackling autoimmunity, adopting Paleo, and how it impacts her, her family, & their way of life. You can read more by Angela Alt at her blog and connect with her on Facebook.
Roughly three weeks ago I received an email from a fan of my Facebook page. In a short paragraph she told me about the health issues she is trying to tackle and how much stress she experiences related to her job, busy schedules, and getting her family to adopt a Paleo lifestyle. She reached out, “ . . . how do you deal with all this?” I could tell her inquiry was heartfelt, but I didn’t quite know where to begin. In part how I “deal with it” is the result of something I’ve been building up in myself over a long time, but couldn’t put my finger on.
Then I saw one of the recent weekly health challenges that The Paleo Mom has been introducing on her Facebook page. It was about managing stress through increasing resilience. Resilience. That’s the name for the “something” I’ve been building up. I did a little research and decided I could help my fan out (and hopefully lots of others), by touching on how, exactly, one can build resilience.
1) Everything I read, over and over, pointed to the importance of humor. The Paleo Mom encouraged everyone to begin building resiliency by being silly. That was good advice. When I look at my own life, I see that using humor has made it much easier for me to not only tackle multiple autoimmune problems, but also transform my health with a Paleo approach. For instance, I regularly post photos of my AIP breakfast on my Facebook page and title them “weirdo AIP breakfast.” Occasionally, this offends a few people, but I am actually working in those moments to playfully poke fun at myself. Don’t take yourself or anyone else too seriously. Being able to let go and laugh is key to cultivating a resilient nature.
2) Another important factor in resiliency that was mentioned repeatedly: taking action. If you have a lot of different stressors coming at you (for instance, demanding work schedules and learning a new way of life, i.e. Paleo), it is important to do something. Don’t wish that this challenging thing would just go away, instead take steps to conquer it. Plan some meals, order those amber-tinted glasses, institute after dinner family walks . . . whatever it is, start tackling it and you’ll begin building your resilience.
3) Be open to change. I saw this one a lot and I know there are tons of examples in my personal life and the lives of many around me that definitely support it as being vital to creating a resilient attitude. If a previous way of doing things isn’t working or is no longer an option, willingly move toward the change that will make you happier or healthier. This actually applies really well to adopting Paleo. Realistically, some aspects of your former life aren’t going to fit in your new picture. Be ready to go with it when those issues inevitably crop up. Your flexibility at those times is creating a resilient core.
4) There were lots of finer points on how resilience is developed, but the other major one, mentioned time and again . . . this one is so obvious . . . take care of yourself. Last, but definitely not least. Resilient people are able to handle life’s messiness, ‘cause they eat nourishing food, move their bodies, and prioritize sleep. While learning a new way of life, like Paleo, can itself be stressful, the reward is that you will be incorporating resilience right into your cells.