Invigorate Guiding Principles

Guiding Principles: A Realistic Approach to Autoimmune Disease Remission & Better Health

Karin W

September 8, 2023

Our guiding principles provide direction and support to empower your journey in navigating autoimmune disease and chronic illness. 

We embrace an incremental approach to holistic health, disease management, and remission. Our programs are built on a foundation of small, simple lifestyle changes that anyone can do anywhere. 

A common misconception about autoimmune diseases and chronic illnesses is that you have little control over your health trajectory. Plan for a life of chronic pain, medications, and appointments. In reality, while you may have a steeper hill than others, you do have the power to reduce disease activity and, ultimately, achieve remission.

“We have a totally different diet, with processed foods, additives and fast foods. We’re more sedentary. There’s an obesity epidemic. We have a different pattern of infectious agents, even pre-COVID-19, with more emerging yearly. The environment is noisier, and there are more stressors.”

-Frederick Miller, M.D., scientist emeritus with the Environmental Autoimmunity Group at the National Institutes of Health

While your remission is our mission, we’re not focused on the destination. We’re dialed in on the journey. We focus on systematic, incremental, achievable steps to improve your health and well-being. 

We provide the resources to empower your journey that’ll be shaped by your experiences, specific situations, personalities, and preferences. 

The ideal path to remission is sustainable. You don’t beat autoimmune disease in one day; you take it one step at a time, #oneaction at a time, until living a healthy, fulfilling life is second nature. And one day, you’ll realize how far you’ve come. We promise. 

A Different Approach to Creating Sustainable Habits

Five stages of a sprouting plants in soil, sunlight.

We focus on one step at a time, but even that can sometimes feel daunting. The good news is that we can break it down even further.

Rather than making dramatic lifestyle changes all at once, we focus on small things you can do to change your behavior and habits. Take it one step at a time and find the small victories in everyday moments, even if they’re micro-movements toward your goal.

This approach allows you to build healthy habits that stick with you for the long haul. 

Invigorate’s Guiding Principals are guidelines intended to help empower your journey but by no means dictate it. After all, we know a one-size-fits-all approach never works, so lean in and adjust, swap, modify, or do whatever you need to to make the most out of your Invigorate experience.  

Invigorate Guardrails to Empower Your Journey

1. Dial in on Your Journey, not the destination.

None of us know how long we’ll be here, and as much as we want to know where our paths will lead us, the only time guaranteed is now. This moment now is our life. 

Young woman leaning out car window as she's pulled over, making a heart with her hands. Mountains in the distance.

We strive to shift depressed thoughts of the past and anxious thoughts of the future to considerate thoughts of the present. We can take one step toward a more meaningful future by focusing on the present. 

Are you on a path that empowers your journey or one that makes it more challenging? Every decision we make and every action we take slowly but surely shapes the course of our journey.

Sometimes, we unknowingly tread on rough terrains that make our voyage harder. But remember, you have the power to change the path you’re on. Ask yourself, am I taking steps to better my situation? Remember, we only have this moment. The right time isn’t tomorrow, next week, or in the new year – it’s right now. Make the choice to foster self-care, give yourself the compassion you tirelessly give to others, and you’ll find the strength to navigate even the toughest of journeys.

2. It’s Your Journey.

The first step to better health is understanding that you have the power to choose. There are many paths and routes to remission, but your journey is unique. No matter where you’re in life now, know it’s never too late to change for the better.

Narrowly winding road with fall-colored trees on either side.

Each of us has our own experiences and challenges. Our perception of those experiences shapes our unique journeys. The power is in your hands to choose the direction you want to go.

Health is more than physical and emotional well-being—it’s also about understanding how we are connected to the world around us. Practicing healthy habits and self-care allows us to deepen our connection with nature, society, and our communities.

It’s not a race since we’re on different paths, but we can support one another in our winding journeys. It’s hard to make the determination and take the steps towards a healthier life. We can be our own obstacle, but be patient with yourself, focus on the next step, and lean into our community for support. 

3. We’re in this together.

The complexity and intensity of autoimmune diseases can fuel depression and isolation. These systemic diseases are not fully understood, making them hard to explain. Survivors tend to withdraw when they don’t have a supportive network.   

Five sets of hands, each cupping a sprouted plant in soil in a circle.

While our journeys are unique to us and our experiences, that doesn’t mean we must go through this alone. Our Invigorate community can relate and empathize with the challenges and uncertainties of navigating autoimmune diseases and chronic illnesses. We give each other the grace to fall, support to get back up, and encouragement to try again. 

Engage with our supportive community. We share our experiences and tips and have some laughs along the way. Together, we can overcome the challenges of autoimmune diseases and thrive, living life on our own terms. We can do this, and we don’t have to do it alone.

4. Unleash your inner explorer and get curious.

As you embark on this journey of personal growth and self-discovery, it’s crucial to approach it with an open mind. Something may not resonate with you now, but it might resonate with you down the road. 

Our perspectives change as we experience more, especially when managing the challenging health situations accompanying autoimmune diseases and chronic illnesses. An open mind can stretch us to think beyond our current thoughts. 

Try to channel your inner explorer as you journey through the labyrinth of autoimmune diseases. Embracing a spirit of curiosity can be a powerful tool in this voyage. Ask questions, dig deeper, research, and seek out multiple perspectives. This isn’t about finding quick fixes but about gaining understanding. It’s about exploring the many pathways to wellness and identifying what works best for you.

Four kids inspecting branches and pine needles with a magnifying glass.

Curiosity can also lead us to self-compassion, a trait often overlooked but critical in our journey. It involves being gentle with ourselves when we stumble and embracing our imperfections. In our Invigorate community, we encourage everyone to be kind to themselves, to recognize their efforts, and to applaud small victories. Remember, it’s progress, not perfection, that we seek.

Lastly, curiosity urges us to embrace change. Autoimmune diseases can be unpredictable, but we can adapt to new routines, treatments, and lifestyle changes with a flexible mindset. Change can be daunting, but it also brings opportunities for growth and reinvention.

So put on your explorer’s hat, stay curious, and open yourself to the remarkable journey of self-discovery.

5. Stick to one or two steps at a time. 

This moment now is when we can drive change by dialing in our thought patterns and daily habits. Slow and steady wins the race. We recommend focusing on one or two steps at a time, even when you can take on more. 

For example, if you want to incorporate diet and lifestyle changes, start with a few simple ones, like drinking more water or going to bed 30 minutes earlier. Once those habits become second nature, then add more. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do too much at once!

Stone steps leading up through wooded area towards sunlight.

Or, if you want to take a couple of steps down the same path, ensure one is an easier step to take. For example, if you’re looking to double down on physical activity, one step could be incorporating a stretching routine, and another could be walking three times a week.

Remember that the goal is to find sustainable ways to create healthy habits. This means taking one step at a time and adjusting as you go. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

While incremental change feels tiny, it adds up to big results. Trust the process! You are capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for. We believe in you. Now, let’s start on this incredible journey together!

Tip: Having an accountability partner or supportive friend can be key to helping you get over hurdles. Join our Facebook community for support, encouragement, and grace in navigating your journey.

6. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. That’s when change happens.

Systems make change possible. When navigating life’s complexities with an autoimmune disease, mindset is everything. It’s about leaning into the sweet spot between comfort and discomfort. That’s where growth and transformation happen.

It’s about challenging yourself to step out of your comfort zone, one small step at a time. You’ll be uncomfortable sometimes, but embrace the discomfort of growth and learning as part of the journey.

While each step individually is critical, having a plan and structure is also critical to success. Using systems and processes to simplify your life can help you embrace change. It also helps create structure, making it easier to get through tough health days.

If you don’t plan how to do it, you’ll likely give up before you start. Willpower is not a thing; we’ll fail if we rely on it. Discover the 6 Sources that Influence Our Behavior and learn how to control them for a higher chance of success.

Everything affects everything. Five hundred crunches alone won’t get you a six-pack, but some crunches and a salad will, eventually. Everything is interconnected, so we take a multifaceted approach to health and well-being. Throughout the Invigorate experience, we note Ive+ habits, keystone habits that benefit beyond one action’s direct impact. Best-selling author Charles Duhigg discusses the benefits of leveraging keystone habits in his book The Power of Habit.

Systems fail, so turn tough times into tools for the future.

We can want with all our hearts to change, create the perfect plan, and muster up the courage to take a step or two, only to find our faces smashed into the ground without realizing what even happened!

Women who fell face-first into the mud.

This happens more often than not, especially when we’re just starting out. It’s okay. We can use this as an opportunity to grow and learn. Failures are only failures if we don’t learn from our experiences. If we reflect on why we failed, then we can course correct to try again.

Instead of blaming yourself or giving up, take stock of the situation and ask honest questions about why it happened. What did you do right? What could have been done differently? The answers will help you adjust your approach for the next step. By continuously reflecting, refining, and implementing, you’ll develop systems that work for you.

Remember, the more you fail, the more you learn and grow, and that’s how we blossom. 

7. Embrace the season you’re in.

A realistic approach to this journey includes recognizing and accepting the season we’re in.

We’re used to planning things in hours, days, weeks, months, and years, yet our experiences go by in moments, scenes, and seasons. Those moments blend and melt together to form our memories.

Depiction of the four seasons. Spring is cherry blossoms. Summer is green wooded area. Fall is branch with leaves changing to orange. Winter is barren branches covered in snow.

Located in Minnesota, we get a full four seasons; yes, even summer. In the heart of winter, below-zero temperatures and plummeting windshields can make for a long several months.

While we sometimes need to hunker down to get through it, there are many times we brave the elements to enjoy the snow—sledding, skating, skiing, or having an outdoor fire. It can be bitterly cold sometimes, but we embrace the season as it is, knowing it will change again.

As we navigate through our own healing seasons, let’s remember the power of our mindset and the remarkable strength we harbor within ourselves. We can create wonderful memories during our darkest periods, knowing this season shall pass, too, but it didn’t pass us by.

8. Practice selfless self-care for tireless service and compassion.

To serve at the highest level, we first must serve ourselves. That starts by looking within. Self-care should involve a healthy dose of self-reflection and awareness. When we pick the weeds and dig out the soul, we unearth fresh soil to plant new seeds.

“Sugar, by nature, is sweet, and water, by nature, is liquid. When we perform an activity and function which is per nature and as how it has been designed, one experiences harmony. That harmony produces the greatest efficiency, and so the soul, by nature, is designed to serve when we engage in serving and pleasing. That effect of serving and pleasing produces the greatest joy from within.”

How To Achieve SELF MASTERY | Gauranga Das & Jay Shetty Podcast

Selfless self-care—such as practicing mindful meditation, meaningful movement, and sustenance for the soul—will help us become more in tune with our external world. We can then share our own light and energy to impact those around us positively.

Hand letting water drip onto sprouted plant.

So the next time you feel guilty about taking care of yourself, pause and reflect on how caring for yourself will allow you to be a better parent, friend, coworker—human being.

9. Enjoy the music.

Autoimmune remission is a process. It’s not just about reaching remission but living a life that nurtures our health and well-being. 

Life is hard. That’s the point. We’d be bored and complacent if we didn’t face our challenges, struggle, fall, and get back up. That’s a dangerously destructive place to be. Our hardships guide and teach us life lessons—nurturing us to deepen our roots, strengthen our stems, grow leaves, and eventually, blossom. 

We’ll grow without noticing as we embrace our challenges and face our fears. When we do eventually notice, we’ll be further ahead than we ever thought possible. As you embrace the present challenge, remember that this moment now is all that matters. 

So go ahead, sing out loud in the car, and dance in the kitchen with your kids—life is too short not to enjoy the music and dance along the way. 

Dance on, Strivers,
Karin

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