Are you dreading Thanksgiving with your family this year due to a political divide?
If you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, this year’s Thanksgiving may feel like a battle zone if you have family members on opposite ends of the political spectrum.
It’s important to manage this as stress, anger, and fear set in motion an inflammatory response that can last for weeks, causing autoimmune attacks against your thyroid and inflaming your body and brain.
This exacerbates not only your Hashimoto’s symptoms, but also symptoms that are common with all autoimmunity:
- Brain fog
- Chronic pain
- Gut problems
During such a contentious year politically, it pays to be careful with your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism health. Avoid discussing politics, but if those around you insist on arguing, try the following.
Remember to be calm, not right. Beccause the goal is to protect your health, let go of being right. You’re not going to change anyone’s mind and no one is going to change yours. Arrive knowing there are no winners in this argument.
Explore and hone self-calming techniques before you arrive. Anger is like a forest fire that’s hard to extinguish once blazing. Prevent anger by practicing some de-stressing techniques you can employ if your relatives start igniting.
Breath from your diaphragm. Breath from your diaphragm instead of your chest to slow your heart rate, increase oxygen flow, and hinder stress. Breathing that is shallow, rapid, and from the chest sends your body in the fight-or-flight response, which will land you in an argument before you know what happened.
Try alternate nostril breathing. Press your right nostril shut to inhale through your left nostril. Then press your left nostril shut to exhale through your right nostril, and then inhale through your right nostril. After that, start from the beginning. Remember to breathe from your diaphragm. Alternate nostril breathing slows the heart rate, lowers stress, and focuses the mind.
Sense your body. Being aware of sensation i your body, especially the parts where you may be feeling anger or fear rising, can help discharge excess negative emotion. Start with sensing a hand, or the feeling of your feet on the ground, and slowly move that sensation around to different parts of the body.
Do not get hungry + angry, or “hangry.” Hanger is that angry hunger triggered by low blood sugar and is a recipe for battle. Keep your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism-legal snack items with you at all times to keep blood sugar stable.
Accept people where they are. You feel strongly about your beliefs. So do your family members. You may not understand one another’s beliefs, but practice accepting that we all can only be where we are them.
Practice gratitude. Thanksgiving is about gratitude, which is enormously beneficial to health, so practice it (authentically) regularly. Even if you think Uncle Fred’s vote was an act of treason, remember how good he is with the young children, or how much you love his cooking.
Should you even go? If your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism is severe or your family especially toxic, examine whether you can weather the visit health wise. If you will need a month in bed to recover, it may be a pretty simple decision to skip a year.
If you’re already managing your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, then you know to avoid inflammatory foods, excess alcohol, sleep deprivation, and exhaustion in order to keep your immune system stable.
Just remember stress has a powerful impact on Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and to be extra mindful during this particularly unusual Thanksgiving holiday.
How to learn if you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid
Many patients are not diagnosed with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s until after several years and going through several doctors. It is a demoralizing journey richly illustrated in my book The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto’s Low Thyroid Disease, through real-life stories from patients in my practice. Managing Hashimoto’s goes far beyond using thyroid medication as you must work to stop the immune system from attacking the thyroid. For more information on identifying and managing Hashimoto’s low thyroid, contact my office.
About Dr. Josh Redd, Chiropractic Physician — Utah, Arizona, New Mexico functional medicine
Dr. Joshua J. Redd, DC, MS, DABFM, DAAIM, author of The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto’s Low Thyroid Disease, is a chiropractic physician and the founder of RedRiver Health and Wellness Center with practices in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. He sees patients from around the world who suffer from challenging thyroid disorders, Hashimoto’s disease, and other autoimmune conditions. In addition to his chiropractic degree, Dr. Redd has a BS in Health and Wellness, a BS in Anatomy, and a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine. He speaks across the nation, teaching physicians about functional blood chemistry, low thyroid, Hashimoto’s, and autoimmunity. You can join his Facebook page here.