myHESTIA as the name suggests is focused on healing (Hestia is the name of the greek goddess of home and hearth and the healing that takes place at home and in the community).
What are some things we need to do to move towards healing?
First and foremost, we need answers to questions such as why specific health-related issues are arising. Second, there is an intense need to 'get it all together' when your health fails and things start falling apart. We desperately look for things that we can control. And these block our path to healing. Trying to let go of these are easier said than done. We also need to understand the process of healing and the various ways to achieve healing. myHESTIA has many features to help you find answers within yourself, get control over things, and also help you understand the process of healing.
► Finding answers: We need to find answers - What is this illness? Why me? and How can I get well? myHESTIA's trackers are created in such a way that you can use your own data to find answers. The answers are within you and all you need is to get the data and analyze it. The easy dropdown trackers help you with capturing your health data daily. Track your weight, food intake, medications, stress, sleep, fatigue and a whole lot of other symptoms. You will find clues there. We also provide you with tables and charts to help you find these clues and eventually to come up with answers and solutions that can lead to healing.
► Getting it all together: When dealing with serious illnesses or something traumatic as a cancer diagnosis, you feel like things are starting to fall apart. There are wide ranging emotions, family that needs you, a bombardment of information from everywhere, places to call, lots of paperwork, lots of hospital visits and lots of instructions to follow. This adds way more than necessary stress to the pain and stress of the disease itself. myHESTIA's aim is to provide you a space where you can put this all together. You have trackers, quicknotes, questions for doc, etc. to write down things. You can use the various symptom trackers to track various issues and write down your reflections. Take the time to write down all your feelings and emotions in the ‘My story’ page. Use some of our healing tips to reduce stress. Seek help and support from peers facing similar issues in myHESTIA's forum or our Facebook page. You need to feel that 'You have got this in your control'.
► Writing down your thoughts and reflections: Writing down your thoughts and comments about what you are going through with each of your symptoms and pains wil help you to reduce your stress and also make you see things more objectively. Sometimes the feeling of pain can feel worse with emotions and that is not because the pain has worsened, it is because you are not evaluating it objectively. So, writing things down could make you judge it more accurately.
► Write your story: Of all the features in myHESTIA, writing your story is one feature that is specifically aimed at healing. It is a tried and tested path to healing and many disease based communities such as cancer.net provide that for cancer patients. It need not be just health stories, you can use myHESTIA's "write your story" to capture a day in your life or a childhood story - read more about this feature in the myHESTIA Manual under the Home & Community tab. It is titled "Your health story for the next generation". This is only available for myHESTIA members.
► Releasing yourself daily from Fear: Those who have survived cancer and those who are dealing with chronic conditions such as Diabetes, Cancer, COPD and heart disease know that this is a life-long journey with the disease. What affects them most is the fear – i.e., fear of recurrence. This fear is always there, and every small symptom brings back memories and the fear. Setting a routine for self-care and prevention and writing it down would help release you from the fear, even if only for that day. By making it a practice of listening to your body daily and knowing that this practice would catch symptoms early if anything comes back, you are taking concrete steps towards reducing the effect of fear and enhance the healing process.
► Social support: Social support and it's impact on health outcomes have been one of my main areas of research for the last 20 years. I have studied all the different kinds of social support - informational, functional and emotional social support and how critical such support is. Many times, people in the hard science field have trivialized this as softy things that no one wants to invest any money in. However, people who are going through loneliness, depression and social isolation (which are on the rise during this covid-19 shutdown), know that nothing else matters and studies have shown a number of times that when people have ample social support, there is positive treatment outcomes. At myHESTIA, we take it as our number one priority and provide a number of options - myHESTIA groups as well as Facebook groups. One advise I have given often is - if you are feeling lonely or lacking in social support, the best remedy is to reach out and help someone who is lonely as well. Indeed, one study (1) did show that providing social support is just as or more beneficial than receiving social support. So, help others in need - help from someone who has experienced loneliness is often better in quality, as it will include 'empathy' and 'understanding'. And, in return, you might make a friend who empathises and understands what you are going through.
► Informational support through Healing pages and myHESTIAblog: There will be several blogs, tips, etc. on myHESTIA blog page as well as under the healing tab in the home page. There are various activities that you can do such as breathing exercises, aromatherapy, yoga, and meditation to reduce stress and set you on the path of healing. We will bring you tips from all over the world, so you can choose one that suits you.► Positive Thinking: There is nothing more important than positive thinking. When your health fails, all the focus is on the negative aspects - mainly, your weak body and bad health. But, a disease or illness doesn't define you. You as a person have other qualities - positive ones. Bring them out and ask others to focus on that as well.
► Reducing dependence on healthcare: Increasingly, we are finding that (esp. something that has come out of the Covid-19 shutdown), the more we can stay away from our healthcare system, the better we are. We need healthcare for fixing us up when something unfortunate happens or when little children are born with something that needs care, however, we could avoid using it for things that we can prevent. Popping pills is easy, but, it comes with a lot of ugly side-effect later in life. So, the first step towards healing is to reduce your dependence on healthcare for unnecessary things and engage more in self-care. All good doctors try to tell you that, but, we as patients insist on easy solutions and then regret it later.
► Fun & Laughter: Finally, the most important factor that helps with the healing process is having fun and laughing more. One of my research focus have been on the value of hedonic experiences. myHESTIA should be a fun experience. We plan to add more fun elements that bring in fun and laughter in your daily life.
More details about myHESTIA and how you can join can be found here myHESTIA and more info on how you can use myHESTIA for self-care can be found in myHESTIA Manual, accessible only to myHESTIA members.
(1) Brown, S. L., Nesse, R. M., Vinokur, A. D., & Smith, D. M. (2003). Providing social support may be more beneficial than receiving it: Results from a prospective study of mortality. Psychological science, 14(4), 320-327.
Disclaimer: Please note that myHESTIA is an independent organization, we collaborate with local organizations that provide help and support for aging population.
The information contained in myHESTIA is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. myHESTIA DOES NOT ENDORSE ANY PRODUCT, DEVICE OR SERVICE, INCLUDING ANY PARTICULAR MEDICATION OR TREATMENT DEVICE.
© Copyright Dr. Priya Nambisan. All Rights Reserved.