Coping With Multiple Food Allergies, Atopic Dermatitis and Asthma

A Mother’s Perspective…..

Let’s be honest……living with multiple food allergies, atopic dermatitis and asthma is no walk in the park! Dealing with the stresses that they impose can be overwhelming . How does one cope?

Balancing it all can be a challenge.  One that I must admit I am still struggling with. My advice……find an outlet…take time for yourself.  Write a list of ideas that you would like to do that give you pleasure and follow through on them.

I know, easier said than done…………………but worth the effort!

Some of my favourites are:

Getting outside for a power walk or run. Seriously…this has to be the number one ‘feel good’ thing you must do. From the moment Michael was an infant, I took him out for walks in his stroller with our dog. (Not to mention it was the only way to settle him down for a nap…win/win situation!) Four years ago, I gradually turned my power walking into running. I now run every morning. It helps to clear my head and energize me for the day ahead. I even ran in the 2010 (50:26 minutes) and the 2011 (50:10 minutes) 10 km run for the Allergy Asthma Information Association (AAIA). I look forward to the 2012 AAIA run to try to get under 50 minutes. I also hope to one day try a half marathon! Just get active! The overall benefits for your mental and physical health will have immediate and long time beneficial effects. Just 30 minutes a day is what doctors are recommending…it is do-able!

Reading a good book. As much as I enjoy reading and learning from Allergic Living Magazine or related blogs…sometimes I need a break…cue easy reading! I loved the book The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Perfect timing with the movie out in theatres. Tie it in with a girl’s night out! (It was in the theatres when I wrote this…wait for the rental and have a girls’ night in) My mother, friends, neighbours and I are all recycling books between ourselves. It creates lots of great discussion and anticipation of the next good read! I also recommend these three books written by Kate MortonThe Forgotten Garden, Riverton House and The Distant Hours. I am excited to learn she has another book coming new out at the end of 2012. Until then…any recommendations?

Baking/Cooking: Believe it or not…I love to be in the kitchen whipping up something tasty for everyone to enjoy. It gives me great pleasure! It brings out the creative side of me. Not only that…the look of happiness it brings to my kids’ faces when I create a tasty treat or meal for them…well…it’s simply priceless!

Gardening. There is something therapeutic about tending a garden. My garden is generally perennials with my annuals out front in an urn. In the spring,  I love getting in the garden and ripping out all the spent perennials of the last season to unearth new growth. (I am lazy in the fall and just leave the dead perennials as a protective blanket for the winter) Anticipating the arrival of my tulips that survived the squirrels. Purchasing and planting herbs (basil, rosemary and parsley) and vegetables. (usually tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, sometimes peppers and beans) I get sheer enjoyment from watching the cycle of flowers that bloom throughout the summer. Which reminds me…I better plant my tulips soon if I am to see them in the spring!

Getting together with friends. Whether it is to go for a walk, a coffee/tea, a movie, out to the mall, or a play date with the kids. Find the time to keep friendship relationships in tact.  My friends are a super support network that help me to keep my sanity in check.

Couples Getaway. Find the time to get away with your significant other for an afternoon, an evening, a night or more. Spending one-on-one time together to reconnect is a priority for me. Our favourite get away is to head to Niagara-on-the-Lake. We stay at a Bed and Breakfast (Wine and Country Bed and Breakfast), and bicycle around to the wineries. We love to go during the Wine and Herb Festival which is held every weekend in May. Enjoying local cheese, wine, and our beautiful Niagara region together…heaven!

Girlfriend’s Getaway. My two best friends from childhood live on the other side of the country.(Western Canada)  For the past 5 years, we have made the effort to get together. They help keep me grounded. They make up another support network. (I will soon be heading off to see them. More to come!)

A Weekend with my mother. Spending a girls’ weekend with my mother is very special to me. I call my visits, my ‘Peanut Butter Getaways’. We rent girl’s movies, check out local festivals, enjoy a lunch out, make yummy dinners, take long walks, talk.

Church on Sunday. As a family, we have reintroduced church on Sunday. Personally, that hour in church allows me a time for reflection and gives me a sense of peace.

We must give ourselves permission to step away, recharge, have a break.

I love my family…but I was so caught up in ‘survival mode’, so overwhelmed with chaos…I was scared my love for them could not shine through all the darkness that surrounded us.

For my sanity and for the benefit of others, learning how to balance it all has ultimately had a positive effect on everyone.

Finding balance is not a perfect science. Encountering rough patches is ‘par for the course’…recognizing those times, however, is key in order to rebalance. I am not an expert in this…trial and error are my mantra! I am constantly learning from my mistakes. Such is life.

How do you find balance in your life while living with multiple food allergies, asthma, atopic dermatitis or just life in general?  I would love to hear from you! I look forward to your experiences and your comments!

Speaking of balance…check out Carla @ My 1/2 Dozen Daily. She lives an inspiring life of balancing her food allergies, asthma, chequebook, creative cards and sewing projects while raising a family of 4 children with her husband. She is also currently trying to raise money to help those who also strive to find balance in their lives.

P.S. As always, any products I mention in these posts are my own personal recommendations. No one’s paying me to recommend them. They’re just what has worked for our family. Your own needs and preferences may be different!

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5 thoughts on “Coping With Multiple Food Allergies, Atopic Dermatitis and Asthma

  1. Such an awesome & helpful post, thank-you!! 🙂 For myself, being thankful keeps me sane. Knowing that while I can’t eat very any things, I still have access to healthy & safe food, while many others do not.

  2. I struggle with handling all the overwhelm myself. It’s hard to let go of all the stresses for a little while and just relax for a bit. There are so many ball up in the air that I have to juggle at any given moment, sometimes it feels like if I miss even one everything will crumble. It’s really nice to stop juggling for even 30 minutes and just be 🙂 Thanks for the great tips for recharging!

    • Hi Lindsey- So very true…I feel the same…everything resting on our shoulders…shaking it all off to clear our heads is vital…glad I could help…take care! ~Susan H.

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