In the final month of the year, I always find it helpful to not just think about the goals or resolutions I have for the following year, but to write them down. This way I have them documented in case I forget, and can look back on them next year to check my progress. I have already taken some notes on goals for my professional and personal lives, but have waited to use this website as a forum for the goals in my sex/romantic life.
One area of my romantic life that I’d like to improve is my sexual health. Although I’m on suppressive therapy, I still have herpes outbreaks from time to time. I’m very certain that reducing or (better yet) eliminating these outbreaks will raise my quality of life considerably. So for this post I’m going to start exploring and sharing my sex life resolutions with you by making a list of 10 ways we can prevent herpes outbreaks.
1. REDUCE STRESS - This is a very stressful time for probably all of us, between high unemployment and the holiday season. One thing I do to reduce stress is to make lists of what I have to do. That way I don’t have the burden of trying to remember so much, and sometimes I find there’s less to do than I imagined. Other great ways of reducing stress are to exercise or practice your favorite hobby. When all else fails, don’t forget to feel your toes, laugh, and live in the present moment. If something is costing you your sanity and health, it’s probably not worth doing.
2. SLEEP - I know you’ve heard it all before, but just to reiterate: adequate sleep every night is very important For me, lack of sleep is my herpes’ greatest ally; I may start feeling an outbreak merely hours after a sleepless night. Sleep is crucial to the proper functioning and repairing of the body. Do yourself a favor, get some rest.
3. REDUCE ALCOHOL INTAKE - Though I haven’t seen any studies that correlate alcohol with herpes outbreaks, my general rule is if a substance is unhealthy for the general population it’s probably even worse for someone with a health condition like herpes. It contains sugar, which can trigger health problems, and it can inebriate you and allow you to make bad decisions, like exposing yourself or others to STDs. Sure, a wine glass here, a beer there"probably doesn’t hurt much. But for heavier drinkers, you probably want to cut back.
4. REFRAIN FROM SMOKING - Smoking is another unhealthy habit that will only exacerbate existing health problems and likely bring on new ones as well. Whenever possible, try to avoid it.
5. REDUCE SUGAR INTAKE - I’ve recently noticed that consuming foods and drinks with lots of sugar is possibly the source of many of my health problems, and when I’ve reduced it from my diet I’ve noticed I have more energy and feel better all-around. It’s hard for the body to fight illness without the proper resources. Treat your body well and it will reward you with good health.
6. MONITOR YOUR DIET - It’s very likely that something that triggers outbreaks for me (like sugar) doesn’t aggravate your herpes, and vice versa. Everyone has different triggers. If you can find and eliminate them, by documenting your food intake/habits and subsequent health conditions, you will be well on your way to reducing outbreaks. Apparently foods high in lysine are good for herpes sufferers, and foods high in arginine are bad. Do your own experiments and find out what you should avoid.
7. EXERCISE - In addition to reducing stress, exercise is a way to make your body stronger and, therefore, healthier. Join a gym, take a dance class, run through the park, play basketball"whichever activity you enjoy doing, do it, and not only will your body thank you, but your mind will too.
8. WRAP IT - No, I’m not talking about holiday presents, I’m talking about using condoms. If you are not in a monogamous relationship, or suddenly find yourself hooking up with the cute bartender from the holiday party, make sure you keep yourself protected. Coming in contact with someone else’s herpes, or another STD like HPV, can cause more problems and outbreaks.
9. KEEP UP ON THE NEWS - There are constant developments and discoveries in the field of medicine and technology - every day scientists are gaining a better understanding of herpes and its causes and effects. Herpes Connection does a great job of posting the most pertinent information and breaking news on our homepage. Take a look around, be informed, and you may learn new facts that will make having herpes even more manageable.
10 10. IMAGINE YOU ARE HEALTHY - I know this may sound kind of hippy-dippy, but I really believe if you carry anxiety with you and focus your attention on your illness, it will always stay. The mind is a powerful force that can have a great effect on your body, and having a positive attitude may be some of the best medicine for an unhealthy one. The placebo effect proves how tricking ourselves into thinking we are getting better can actually make us get better. I used to get really down about having herpes, now I’ve started thinking: "Oh that old thing? It’s nothing!"
Hopefully this list has given you some ideas about how to avoid herpes outbreaks and/or other health issues. If you have any other suggestions, please share with us below. Or if you’re shy, at least write your ideas down to use as your own guideline throughout 2010.