Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s an essential part of autoimmune health. When we prioritize everyone’s needs above our own, flares are often the end result. If we support our health instead, we can learn to thrive instead of just survive.

Curving pathway through the trees

10 Tips for Effective Habit Change for People with Autoimmune Disease

When it comes to improving autoimmune health, cultivating positive habits is key. But sometimes it feels like bad habits are easy to keep and good habits are easy to break. What’s the secret to creating new habits that last? In this article, I share 10 tips to set you up for success!

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Episode 229: Best Of – Resilience with Dr. Cynthia Li

This is one of the most popular podcast episodes – for good reason! The topic is Resilience, that ability to bounce back from life’s hardships. With autoimmune disease, we get lots of practice. Sometimes we feel strong and capable of overcoming suffering. Other times we feel beaten down and frightened by our body’s unpredictability. The good news is that resilience isn’t something you either have or you don’t. Resilience is a trait we can nurture. My guest is Dr. Cynthia Li, a functional medicine physician who has autoimmune disease herself. The intensity of her own health challenges ended up being a masterclass in resilience, and also changed the way she practiced medicine.

woman relaxing on couch and savoring a cup of tea

10 Ways To Rest

No matter the diagnosis, fatigue is a common symptom of autoimmune disease. Many of us try to ignore that feeling and “push through” because we all have things we want to accomplish in our days. We might also fear that if we stop to rest, we’ll never be able to get moving again. However, rest isn’t optional. If we never take a break, our bodies will take that decision out of our hands in the form of illness or an autoimmune flare. In this article, I share 10 simple ways to rest. Even small breaks can be rejuvenating and restorative, supporting our health not just in the moment, but also long-term. Choose one of these as a gift to yourself today.

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Episode 227: Autoimmune Q&A with Terry, Sarah, and Eileen

This is a very special episode featuring two of my colleagues and friends: Dr. Terry Wahls & Dr. Sarah Ballantyne! I’ve known these wonderful women for over a decade now. They’re both powerful leaders in the autoimmune community. They are also autoimmune warriors themselves. Today, we’re doing an Autoimmune Q&A: I’ll be asking us all a series of questions about our personal experiences with autoimmune disease, and our best tips for all of you!

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Episode 221: Sound Healing & Autoimmune Disease

Sound Healing is a therapy that uses sound and vibration to balance the mind, body, and spirit. I know that might sound woo-woo to some listeners, but as long as there have been people, music has been used for both expression and healing. There’s also some modern scientific research into its benefits, including reduced stress and anxiety, reduced pain, improved mood, and an overall sense of wellbeing. I personally fell in love with sound therapy after developing rheumatoid arthritis. The first time I received a 1:1 sound healing session was transformational. I don’t think I’ve ever felt a relaxation so deep, or my body so perfectly balanced. So, today, we’re doing a deep dive into sound healing, including different types, different instruments, and we’ll be demonstrating some sounds for you as well. It’s going to be a fun episode! My guests are two autoimmune warriors who are also sound healing practitioners: Jo-Anne Suriel and Jennifer Roseman.

a set of varied antique spoons

The Spoon Theory of Autoimmune Disease & How To Get More Spoons

Have you heard of the Spoon Theory? It’s a way to explain chronic illness to people who don’t understand, and I love that aspect of it. (The spoons represent daily energy). But the Spoon Theory also assumes we can never get more spoons. I don’t believe that’s true. In this article, I share the history of the spoon theory and how we can all get more spoons!

31 Days of Holiday Self-Care

Some people love the holiday season; others approach it with a sense of dread. Either way, it tends to be a busy time with extra stress, obligations, food temptations, and travel. This can be a recipe for an autoimmune flare, but it doesn’t have to be! I’ve made a list of one simple thing to do each day throughout the month of December. At the bottom of the post, there’s a printable PDF that you can post on your fridge. Happy Holidays!

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Episode 213: Holiday Boundaries & Autoimmune Disease with Dr. Ellen Vora

We tend to notice boundaries most when they’re getting crossed – by other people, or by ourselves. We also notice when we struggle to set them at all. Today, we’re focusing on the holiday season. If you have autoimmune disease, there’s a powerful intersection between your ability to set boundaries and your ability to protect your health. So, we are here to help! In this podcast, we share tips for setting healthy boundaries around food, time, energy, and money. My guest is Dr. Ellen Vora. She is a psychiatrist who takes a functional medicine approach to mental health. I love the way she educates around boundaries, which is why I asked her to be my guest today. She is also the author of the book, Anatomy of Anxiety.

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Episode 209: Preventing Autoimmune Flares

With autoimmune disease, flares are part of the experience, and we cannot prevent every single one. However, that doesn’t mean we’re powerless. Discovering our own flare triggers is a powerful piece of self-knowledge. It can help minimize how often we flare and how severe those flares are. That’s the focus of our discussion today. I’ve invited two other autoimmune warriors to join me. We’ll be sharing our personal flare triggers and how we manage them to live our healthiest lives.

101 Ways to Treat Yourself That Have Nothing to Do with Food

Most often, if you say the word “treat” people immediately think of sweets. It’s how we reward ourselves for our achievements, and it’s how we soothe ourselves when life is hard. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional sweet treat. They’re delicious! However, if sweets are the only way we treat ourselves, the excess sugar can increase inflammation and even kick off an autoimmune flare. So, I’ve come up with 101 alternate ways to treat ourselves. Thanks to the mind-body connection, these treats can actually decrease inflammation while simultaneously bringing more joy to our lives. That’s my kind of to-do list! I even included a PDF you can print and put on your fridge, for ongoing inspiration!

Episode 174: Health Benefits of Nature with Dr. Austin Perlmutter

Have you ever been under a huge amount of stress and then stepped outside for a minute, and almost immediately felt your heart rate slow down, your breath deepen, and your mind start to calm? If you answered yes, you’re not alone. There is a growing body of research into nature’s impact on the human body. One of the problems of modern life is that it’s possible to spend our entire day and night indoors, with no exposure to nature at all. What are the benefits of nature? Can regular time in nature improve our autoimmune health? If we live in the city, can we still access those benefits? What about people who are homebound? We’ll be discussing all possibilities in today’s episode. My guest is Dr. Austin Perlmutter, an internal medicine physician with a passion for holistic health. He’s also the co-author of the bestselling book, Brain Wash.

5 Quick Stress Relievers

5 Quick Stress Relievers

Have you ever had a stress-induced autoimmune flare? You’re not alone. Research shows that stress increases the risk of developing autoimmune disease, exacerbates symptoms, and slows recovery. Thankfully, there are things we can do to interrupt this effect. It’s not about eliminating stress altogether – that would be impossible. It’s about managing our stress response. Quick interventions have power when applied regularly. Here are five of my favorites.

Self-Soothing vs. Self-Care with Dr. Lili Wagner

Episode 148: Self-Soothing vs. Self-Care with Dr. Lili Wagner

Self-soothing behaviors are the things we do to comfort ourselves in the moment, especially under stress. Sometimes those behaviors are healthy and double as self-care. Other times, they are the opposite of healthy. Most of us have impulses in both directions. What drives those impulses? How can we get in the habit of soothing ourselves in ways that both comfort us and support our health? My guest is Dr. Lili Wagner, a psychologist with over 20 years of experience treating patients. She’s also trained in nutrition, has 3 autoimmune diseases herself, and understands this topic both personally and professionally.

How to Survive an Autoimmune Flare | Phoenix Helix Podcast

Episode 143: How to Survive an Autoimmune Flare

Flares are one of the scariest parts of autoimmune disease. They’re unpredictable, often very painful, sometimes disabling, and always disruptive to our plans. In this episode, three autoimmune warriors share their best tips for making it through autoimmune flares with strength and self-compassion. We talk about favorite foods, lifestyle hacks, mindset techniques, and more.

Low-Power Mode: Self-Care During Challenging Times | Phoenix Helix

Low-Power Mode: Self-Care During Challenging Times

iPhones automatically shift into low-power mode when their batteries get low. The goal is to conserve energy. There are times in life when our body and soul ask us to do the same. It’s about letting nonessential responsibilities go, and focusing our limited energy on what’s most important. In this blog post I share my recent experience doing this, and give you tips to do the same.

Episode 121: Time Management with Laura Vanderkam

In this podcast, we’re taking a big picture look at time. How can we gain clarity on where our time goes? How can we start to feel in control of time, rather than buffeted by it? What makes it slow down in some moments and speed up in others? Is it possible to be productive and feel relaxed at the same time? And how can we flex our expectations and our schedules when our health fluctuates? My guest is Laura Vanderkam, an expert on the subject of maximizing time.

Episode 118: Boundaries and the Art of Saying No with Dr. Nicole LePera

When we’re trying to heal from chronic illness, self-care takes time – everything from preparing homemade meals, to taking time out to manage our stress, to prioritizing sleep at night. If we say yes to these things, we will need to say no to other things. The opposite is also true: if we don’t set boundaries, we won’t have the time we need to take care of ourselves. But today’s podcast isn’t just about time. Boundaries are also about respect and relationships. How do we want to be treated? What types of people do we want to surround ourselves with? And how do we have difficult conversations with those we love? My guest is holistic psychologist, Dr. Nicole LePera. Together, we share our best tips for building our boundary muscles.

Episode 112: Best Of – Beyond Food: Healing Lifestyle

This is one of my favorite podcast episodes! As Dr. Sarah Ballantyne says, “Dietary changes aren’t effective in isolation. If you don’t address lifestyle factors as well, it won’t matter how ideal your food choices are.” In this podcast, I interview four people about one lifestyle change that has made a big difference in their autoimmune healing journey.

Phoenix Helix Podcast: Ten Lessons I've Learned

Episode 100: Ten Lessons I’ve Learned About Life with Autoimmune Disease

For my 100th podcast episode, instead of interviewing someone else, I thought it would be fun to share what I’ve learned on my autoimmune journey so far. I developed rheumatoid arthritis in 2012, started blogging in 2013, and started podcasting in 2014. While I never would have chosen autoimmune disease, it has transformed my life in positive ways, alongside the really painful ones. I’ve come a long way from where I started, and I’m not done learning yet! I hope these insights will help those of you facing a new autoimmune diagnosis, and resonate with those of you who have been walking this path for years. Tell me where you agree and disagree, and what lessons you’ve learned along the way.

woman walking on a beach with footsteps in the sand behind her

10 Baby Steps Toward Autoimmune Health

When you first start thinking of making diet and lifestyle changes to improve your health, it can be pretty overwhelming. There are so many things that can drive inflammation, there are almost countless interventions to try. This blog post is for anyone who needs tiny steps to get started. There’s no shame in that! Baby steps are cumulative and can lead to huge improvements over time. It’s all about taking that first step. You don’t have to do this whole list at once, either. Choose one action step today.

Episode 69: Healthy Deviance with Pilar Gerasimo

In the modern world, the cards are stacked against us. From grocery stores filled with foods that aren’t real food, to being bombarded by environmental pollutants, to a culture that takes pride in being busier than ever and wears sleep deprivation like a gold star. When we take steps to recover and enhance our health, we are going against this tide, stepping outside the norm, and it’s not easy! We’re doing it in a world that encourages unhealthy life choices, and sometimes even our closest friends and family try to sabotage our efforts. My guest, Pilar Gerasimo, is a healthcare journalist who has been writing about healthy deviance for decades. In this episode, we talk about the many obstacles we face and strategies for being successful revolutionaries for our own health.

Is Massage Therapy Beneficial for People with Autoimmune Disease?

One thing you may not know about me is that I worked as a therapeutic bodyworker for 15 years. In this article, I share the research into massage for autoimmune disease, describe a wide variety of techniques to choose from, share my best advice for finding a skilled practitioner, and also how to make sure your session helps rather than harms your health.

Episode 40: The Primal Connection with Mark Sisson

When I first went paleo, Mark’s Daily Apple was one of the first blogs I found. I loved how he presented detailed information in easy-to-understand small bites. I also loved his holistic approach. Yes, food matters, but it’s about so much more than just food. Three years later, it was a thrill to interview him on my podcast. In this episode, we talk about the many ways our lives have changed from the lives of our ancestors. We can’t go back in time, but we can learn from our past. Highlights of our conversation include: Why Being Selfish Is Necessary, The 10 Habits of Highly Successful Hunter Gatherers, Reconnecting With a Body That Has Autoimmune Disease, and more.

Episode 31: Healthy Habits – Gretchen Rubin Book Club

Are you a Rebel? Questioner? Obliger? Or Upholder? Knowing your “Habit Personality” makes a huge difference in achieving lasting change. The stakes are high for us. We have autoimmune disease which often comes with painful and disabling symptoms. Making healthy choices regarding diet and lifestyle can make a huge difference in our quality of life. Yet even knowing this, change is hard! In her books, Better Than Before and The Four Tendencies, Gretchen Rubin writes about 4 different “habit personalities”. In this podcast, we’ll help you figure out which one your are, and share which strategies work for each personality & which don’t!

5 Ways to Reverse Autoimmunity That Have Nothing To Do With Food

When we follow the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, food is foremost in our mind. We avoid the foods that exacerbate autoimmune disease and eat the foods that help us heal. The right food is essential, but healing is about more than just food. Lifestyle affects autoimmunity just as strongly. Here are 5 ways to tap your body’s full healing potential.

How to Keep a Symptom Journal…and Other Journals, Too!

It’s a fact of human nature that we tend to notice what’s wrong, more than we notice what’s right. This blog post is about the power of writing things down, and how that can affect our awareness, our choices, and our mindset. I share tips for keeping 3 kinds of journals: a symptom journal, a gratitude journal, and a let-it-out journal.

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