I’ve been dealing with dysautonomia symptoms for about a year now. I may not be an expert, but I know SO much more than I did at the start! Here’s a quick overview of all the changes I’ve made in order to feel better.
While drinking water is important for everyone, it’s crucial for people dealing with POTS! You’ll want to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces.
Salt intake, combined with proper hydration, helps keep the blood pressure up and the heart rate down. That’s what we want! Salt your food liberally, and keep salty snacks on hand. My favorite snacks are olives, pumpkin seeds, and veggie chips. Electrolyte drinks can also be great—just check the added sugar content. My favorite electrolyte product is Liquid IV (this is an affiliate link and I will receive compensation if you purchase).
I don’t know about you, but when my POTS started, I had never been so fatigued. Try not to feel shame if you need more sleep than you used to! Right now I’m managing pretty well with around 9 hours, but I’m sure I could sleep more. 😉 Here’s a tip you might not know: going outside and getting direct sunlight within an hour of waking helps your body produce melatonin so you can fall asleep more easily.
I have to admit, this one has been a challenge for me. But again and again I hear POTSies say that exercise has been the ONE thing that helped them the most. It’s best to start with light recumbent exercise. You’ll be able to slowly retrain your heart to understand that you’re just doing some light exercise and not running from a bear. You may want to check out Dysautonomia International’s guide to exercise. Above all, remember that your body needs to know that you want to use it, so any kind of movement is beneficial.
I’ve been off of gluten and dairy for about six months now. It’s working pretty well for me, but everyone is different. I would certainly recommend giving it a try. And remember that the effects of gluten can stay with you for three months, so don’t try it for a few days and then bail when you can’t tell a difference. I also cut out caffeine because I found it was increasing my heart rate and making me feel worse. I recommend eating organic, unprocessed foods to keep your toxin load low.
Our bodies need to be retrained to get out of fight or flight and into rest and digest mode. One of the best ways to do this is through meditation. I have a meditation app on my phone and I make sure to do at least one meditation each day. Focusing on your breathing helps you relax and slow your heart rate, signaling to the body that you’re safe. Meditation can calm symptoms in the moment, but it also helps our bodies better react to stress whenever it shows up.
Compression socks, leggings, and shorts assist with blood flow. Personally, I like high waisted bike shorts and leggings because the abdominal compression seems to help more than socks.
Educating yourself is empowering. Learning about POTS and dysautonomia made me feel like I could take action to improve my situation. Find out what’s really going on with your body. I also recommend learning about alternative ways of healing. I encourage you to open your mind to the idea that you have power in your situation. Reading about people who have healed themselves outside of the realm of western medicine has been life changing for me.
Keep on learning and growing. Sending you love on your journey!