Tips to Manage Stress When You Have EDS

Emily Malcolm, PhD avatar

by Emily Malcolm, PhD |

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Living with a chronic disease like Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) can be very stressful. Some people may feel like they’ve lost control over their life after getting a diagnosis.

Here are some tips to help reduce stress, and improve your mental and physical health.

Get enough sleep

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you are exhausted. Try to make sure that you get enough sleep. This might mean going to bed earlier, or making time for a nap during the day. Keeping a regular sleep schedule is often thought to be helpful.

If you are not able to get enough sleep, you may want to speak with your physician about sleep aids they might recommend.

Reduce caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine intake

Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine can all increase stress and affect sleep. Try to lower your consumption or use of these to improve your sleep and lower stress levels. As a caffeine source, for example, you could try drinking green tea rather than coffee, at least a few times each week.

Eat healthy foods

It’s hard to take care of yourself when you are dealing with fatigue and the limitations imposed by a chronic disease. Shortcuts are tempting — like eating unhealthy snacks so that you have more time to accomplish other things. However, an important part of self-care is making sure that you are eating healthy foods regularly.

Speak with a registered dietitian, and make sure that you are getting the nutrition and vitamins you need every day.


Regular exercise is another important part of self-care. Even 15 or 30 minutes each day can make a difference to a person’s physical health and mental well-being.

Ask your physiotherapist what exercises and activities would be beneficial for you without aggravating your symptoms or doing harm.

Try mindfulness and meditation

Techniques like mindfulness and meditation can help reduce stress and improve mental health by helping you focus on what you are feeling and experiencing at a given moment.

Connect with friends and family

It’s easy to feel disconnected and cut off from friends and family when you are dealing with a chronic disease. You may feel like you have little in common, or they simply don’t want to hear about what you’re going through — or, perhaps, they do want to hear, but you’re tired of talking about your disease.

Whatever your situation, it’s important to reach out to friends and family regularly, to share your thoughts and maintain a support network. Try to make time for friends and family every week, even if it’s five or 10 minutes for a healthy beverage or a short walk.

Find a support group

Having a support group that understands what you’re going through can also help. If you don’t know of a support group in your area, ask your physician or other healthcare professionals if they can help you find one.

Online resources like the Ehlers-Danlos Society can also help you to connect with other patients and families.


Last updated: Jan. 20, 2020



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 healthcare providers 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.