This post is part of our Autoimmune Health Journal series. The rest of the posts in this series include:
I remember when I learned that thyroid medication wasn’t the only solution to managing my Hashimoto’s disease. I also had the option to:
- Change my diet
- Test for and treat various infections that I’ve never heard of
- “Clean-up” my toxic personal care, beauty, and cleaning products
- Rest and sleep (like for real)
- Manage my stress
- Stop drinking caffeine and alcohol
- Support my liver
- Ditch negative/draining relationships
And do 1,000 more things that all seemed so overwhelming and totally impossible to implement! Just the thought of changing my diet alone sent me into a full-blown autoimmune flare.
Somehow, I did it all – but it was about 7-8 years of a rollercoaster ride before I figured it out. But, you know what would’ve made it just a touch easier?
First, finding my root causes.
And second… yes, you guessed it – a health journal. Or health diary. Or symptom tracker. Food journal. Whatever you want to call it.
Until I started daily observations, all of my symptoms seemed so random. But, once I started tracking my food intake, for example, I noticed that my morning Greek yogurt and afternoon cottage cheese was actually kind of ruining my life in a very subtle way.
But this is something I never would have put together if I didn’t use a health journal. It wasn’t glaringly obvious and my daily tracking helped me see the pattern.
It’s something so simple, but yet so powerful!
If you’re still not sold on why you should start a health journal, consider the 10 benefits below.
10 Benefits of Keeping a Daily Health Journal for Your Autoimmune Disease
A health journal, depending on what you are using it for, can:
- Help you become an expert of your own health. What if you knew that eating gluten & dairy is the culprit behind your painful joints, or that a really stressful day causes your eczema to flare? You could prepare for and even eliminate many of your daily ailments by making targeted changes based on your observations.
- Save you from the frustration and constant guessing of trying to figure out what’s working for your body and what’s not. Are you trying out the Autoimmune Protocol diet to find your specific food intolerances? A health journal is going to help you track every time you re-introduce a food and experience symptoms. The same goes for any time you introduce a new medication or a new supplement. You have all your observations located in one place.
- Save you money. Given the point above – you will no longer waste your money on supplements/medications that don’t actually work for you, or food you shouldn’t eat. This is HUGE for those of us on loads of supplements and medications to manage our autoimmune disease, with some supplements costing near $100 for a one-month supply. Just by observation alone, we personally have been able to cut back on 3-4 supplements a month, saving us over $100 that we didn’t need to spend.
- Save you time. If you are ever in a situation where a very thorough history is needed, you have much of the data already collected without having to think or shuffle through paperwork and digital files. A little consolidation goes a long way.
- Help you discover patterns or recurrent periods of high stress and how your behavior, lifestyle, and/or diet changes as a result. This is so vital for managing autoimmune disease because stress can be a trigger for an autoimmune flare. The more you know about your stress patterns, the more you learn how to take extra care of yourself during those times to decrease inflammation.
- Keep you accountable and help you stay on track with any of your health goals. “Checking in” every day with your journal ensures your health is always at the forefront of your daily thoughts.
- Streamline your efforts to find triggers, root causes, remedies that work, etc. A health journal provides a place to brainstorm and formulate plans of action and protocols for various health concerns, like healing a leaky gut or lessening your toxic burden. I personally use mine to take notes when I’m listening to podcasts or reading a book about autoimmune disease.
- Help you troubleshoot any of your children’s issues. They may not be of an age where they can make their own observations, but you can! A health journal for your children can help you find specific triggers for things like eczema and behavioral issues.
- Make a great companion for a doctor’s visit. Consider it a hub to record all things related to your health, including questions for your doctor(s), names of practitioners, books, blogs, etc., and notes from your visit. It also helps you navigate your visit in a more efficient manner which is especially helpful if time is limited.
- Learn how to be more observant. Observational skills are really helpful for not only health, but life in general. The practice of recording symptoms and details on a daily basis helps you to be aware of changes within your body that may have gone unnoticed. These types of observations can lead to the uncovering of root causes, solutions to specific ailments, and the proactive prevention of chronic illness for you and your family.
Remember, taking charge of your health is hard work. It takes confidence, discipline, and diligence.
If you’re determined to uncover the layers behind your autoimmune disease, use a health journal to stay organized and focused. Take it from me… after you learn how to use it consistently, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without it!
If you are ready to start your own, follow my step-by-step guide on how to start and use a health journal. I show you examples of my own and offer tips and ideas to make your journal one of the greatest tools for your health!
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Hi! I’m Anna, co-founder of Healthy Habits Reset. After managing my own autoimmune diseases using lifestyle, habit, and mindset changes, I now work to teach others how to navigate the treacherous and confusing journey of chronic illness living. I firmly believe YOU hold the power to question, think critically, and become your own rock-solid advocate in a world full of unhealthy habits, so you can find the healing you deserve.