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How to Get Through Fall with Hypothyroidism

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Oswego chapter.

As the air starts to get colder and the semester starts to pile on more assignments, I myself as someone with an autoimmune disorder can struggle. Though I know I’m not the only one, which is why I wanted to include ways to make sure your next few months into fall are as smooth and great as everyone else’s whether you also struggle with hypothyroidism, another autoimmune disorder, or not. 

Fall is often a time I can enjoy, but I have to usually make a few adjustments to help me out due to hypothyroidism. If you have this disorder specifically, you know that it can make you feel tired, sluggish, or even depressed. This is due to it being underactive, which causes your hormones to become unbalanced and your metabolism to slow down. 

Although this can make your life a little harder on a daily aspect, there are ways to boost you back to a good time again; especially in this time of the year when you might be dealing with school work, events, jobs, and more on your plate. 

One of the first tips I have is to allow yourself a small nap or get to bed at an earlier time. Now, I know you might have a lot going on and may not feel like you can allow that, however, it will be more helpful in the end. If you struggle with hypothyroidism, you know that fatigue can have a big effect on you. It also is important because it can help us get through a day if we are continuously working and doing things. I think as we get into adulthood, we tend to think we can’t have a nap or get more sleep because we have to “grind” or “work harder”; however we have to make sure we aren’t burning ourselves out in the process.

The second tip to take in is to balance out your work and give breaks in between. Whether it be working on assignments or a job that becomes busy fast, it’s best not to pile it one after another and space it out. Now, I myself can struggle with this since I am a procrastinator, but it is worth it in the end. When we tend to put shifts close together or decide that we are going to knock out multiple assignments back to back it can create stress not only on our minds, but our bodies too. When your body becomes stressed with this health disorder, it can cause flare-ups which can lead to mood changes and exhaustion. 

This is why taking a break between assignments and shifts is very crucial. It’s also important to acknowledge that breaks don’t have to mean just sitting down for a few minutes. Some ways in which you can change up how you view a break is taking a moment in between to listen to a podcast, a few songs off a playlist, journaling your day, facetiming or texting a friend, or even just giving yourself some screen time. By doing this, you can lower your chances of a flare-up, while also allowing yourself to gain energy again.

The third tip is to be comfortable and understanding of your body. As said earlier, hypothyroidism can slow down your metabolism. When this happens, it makes it harder for your body to break down or burn calories, causing you to have problems with weight. This issue I think is very important to bring up because, I know I, like many others, can struggle with body image in this scenario. I think in this modern time we are in, although body positivity has become a big movement, people still struggle to be comfortable with their own; especially when we have health issues we can’t always control. 

So, we must try to allow ourselves to love and understand our bodies better, even when we might be opposed to it. Ways to help with this, in my experience, were to allow myself to enjoy different foods without looking at the numbers. Especially in fall, it is a time to enjoy all the holiday foods and we shouldn’t feel like our body would keep us from that. 

Another way to help is to dress comfortably in what we feel. For the longest time, I felt like I had to dress up more because as a person with a different body than some, I felt like I did not want to come off as “not trying”. However, as time went on I realized that I should put my focus on what I’m going to be more comfortable with. Besides, fall is the best time to wear sweatshirts, hoodies, sweatpants, etc. Just remember that you are valid no matter what you decide to wear.

The last way in this tip is affirmation. I think writing down or reminding yourself that your body is just as good as any other is important to tell yourself. Again, as someone with an autoimmune disorder, we often feel like our bodies are already not properly doing what they should, so when we declare that we don’t like its physical appearance, we are also not helping ourselves, but rather determining that our disorder defines us.

Finally, the fourth and last tip is to treat yourself to some items that can help you around the season. It could mean allowing yourself to have a little self-care trip to TJ Maxx or a little Amazon shopping online. Some items though that I do recommend as they’ve helped me are:

  • Lotion (for dry skin)
  • Heated Blanket/Heating Pads (for being cold easily and helps muscle/joint pain)
  • Throw a Blanket (to be cold and comfortable)
  • Cozy Sweatpants (for being cold and comfortable)
  • Fuzzy Socks (for being cold and comfortable)
  • Journal/Notebook (for allowing yourself a creative outlet, from tip two and tip three)
  • Novels/Books (giving yourself a break, from tip two)
  • Spotify Premium/Apple Music Subscription (allows yourself a music outlet, from tip two)
  • Drinks Such as Gatorade/Powerade/Propel (allows for electrolytes to help fuel your energy)
  • Vitamin D Gummies (allows you to get that extra boost while also helping your TSH levels)
  • Foods Rich in Vitamin B (helps improve thyroid function – foods such as nuts, seeds, yogurt, whole grains, leafy greens)

These tips were helpful for my experience and that is why I chose to share them, however, there are more ways past just these that can help this fall semester as well. 

Besides just tips though, if you want to learn more about hypothyroidism I recommend looking at Hannah Kingston’s article from Let’s Get Checked, “Living with Hypothyroidism: Life With an Underactive Thyroid” or Kimberly Holland’s article from Healthline, “Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid): Everything You Need to Know” , and remember we might have this autoimmune disorder, but that doesn’t mean that it can define us of who we are. 

Hello, I am Leila LaJoie (she/her). I go by Leila, but sometimes people call me Laine. I am a 22-year-old senior at SUNY Oswego. I double major in Journalism and English, so I have always had a love for writing in general. In my free time I enjoy writing, reading, dancing, listening to music and going on walks. As far as what I focus on while writing, I'm very open, it really depends on what I'm into at the moment as well as what is going on around my environment. I am grateful for the opportunity to start this journey on Her Campus, as it will allow for me to have a writing outlet that can kickstart and further me into my career. It also will allow me to hear more about others' stories and experiences. A stepping stool if you will to my future and connections to be made.