This Summer, I’m Making the Most of My Opportunity to Recharge

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by Karen Del Vecchio |

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a summer break | Main graphic for column titled

It’s crazy how sometimes time seems to simultaneously crawl and fly by. It feels like just yesterday when I was headed to work as a high school history teacher and a college counselor. On the flip side, I’m certain that was a year ago.

Although I work longer than most teachers, I still get about six weeks off in the summer. I have never needed it more than I do this year.

With the stress of a COVID-19 school year and life being generally busy at the moment, I’m trying to focus on self-care this summer. I need it to recharge, catch up on sleep (chronic fatigue from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is tough), and get ready for the upcoming school year.

There are some forms of self-care I believe I do well. For example, I’m committed to massages every other week because I’ve learned that if I let body soreness get away from me, it will affect every other area of my life. Unsurprisingly, if I’m in pain, I’m more tired and anxious and less motivated.

While I haven’t done much Pilates during the pandemic, the body awareness I learned from it has stuck with me. Using those skills, I’m better able to pinpoint the root cause of my pain, or sometimes help prevent it from getting worse by adjusting my posture or minimizing compensations.

I also try to eat in a way that helps with my digestive symptoms from EDS. I mostly cook for myself, but occasionally, I’ll splurge on takeout meals, too. I’ve never been a huge meat eater, and two years ago, I became severely lactose intolerant, so I had to adjust my diet because of that as well.

The end result is that I tend to eat a partial vegan diet, which I’ve since learned is called being a flexitarian. Basically, it means I eat primarily plant-based foods, but I also occasionally incorporate meat or other items into my diet in moderation. Who knew there was actually a name for it?

The toughest parts of self-care for me are remembering to take a break and finding time to do something fun, even if it’s a small thing. Whether it’s as simple as trying a new cookie recipe (I love to bake) or taking a day trip to visit a friend, finding those things that help me refocus and de-stress is so important.


Note: Ehlers-Danlos News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Ehlers-Danlos News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Ehlers-Danlos.


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