Hypothyroidism, also known as an ‘underactive thyroid’, is a common condition that impacts many people globally. There are many different symptoms that come with it and these can significantly affect how you enjoy life and carry out daily tasks.
But don’t worry; there are plenty of ways to adapt your lifestyle in order to cope better with hypothyroidism, which we’ll look at here.
The basics of hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is a condition where your thyroid gland in your neck does not create enough of the growth-regulating hormones that your body needs. These hormones determine how the body uses energy and not having a sufficient amount can slow down our bodily functions.
Here are some symptoms of hypothyroidism:
- Muscle weakness.
- Sensitivity to cold.
- Low mood or depression.
- Weight gain.
- Swollen joints.
- Slower heart rate.
How to change your life and deal with hypothyroidism
If you have hypothyroidism, there’s no need to panic. There are many simple and effective ways you can adapt how you live to deal with the condition.
An underactive thyroid can cause weight gain, which may make you feel sluggish and down. So, why not incorporate regular exercise into your life to help?
Anything from walking and running, to yoga and swimming can lower muscle pain, boost serotonin (the ‘happy hormone’), raise your metabolism, reduce stress, and bring down blood glucose levels. It’s recommended that we should do at least 30 minutes, 5 times a week, so why not take a look at your diary and see where you can make space?
Starting hormone replacement therapy
Incorporating hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is one of the best ways to adapt your lifestyle to hypothyroidism. Used for many years by people around the world, HRT is designed to give your body the hormones it needs. As it often comes in the form of a simple-to-take pill, like cytomel tabs, it takes very little effort to adjust your life to it.
Of course, you should speak with a doctor before starting any hypothyroidism medication.
Changing your eating habits
Next is tweaking your diet. Food has a huge impact on how well our bodies can cope with hypothyroidism and you should aim to eat small meals often throughout the day to maintain energy levels.
Switching up what you eat can be a relatively simple and very effective way to handle the condition. Firstly, lower your intake of goitrogenic food. This food type hinders the production of thyroid hormones and increases the gland. So, swap some of these foods for alternatives when you do your weekly grocery shop: brussels sprouts, cabbage, turnip, kale, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Focus your meals on fruit, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains but also ensure that your diet includes plenty of thyroid-boosting minerals like iodine, selenium and zinc. Try to avoid processed food and reduce your intake of gluten, caffeine, soy foods, and alcohol, too.
Having an underactive thyroid can negatively affect us mentally, as well as physically. An excellent way to change your life to cope with hypothyroidism is to tell family, friends or even a therapist how you’re feeling.
Join a local support network, write a blog and maintain an active social life to distract yourself from any hypothyroidism symptoms and unload pent up negative feelings.
Make a sleeping schedule
People with hypothyroidism often feel tired throughout the day. Make your life easier by creating a sleeping schedule that fits your lifestyle and stick to it. Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day and make sure you get at least seven hours of downtime every night.
Fit in time to unwind
This condition can cause stress and anxiety. So, pencilling in time to relax is a great idea. When do you often worry about your condition? Whenever it is, try to counter these bad feelings by taking a yoga class, booking a weekly massage or going for a long, peaceful walk. All of these are easy to incorporate into your working week and can be very effective for relieving angst and stress.