First of all, ADHERENCE to the medicines is a MUST. Take medicines at the SAME time (or as per your doctor) and don’t skip the dose. In case if you have forgotten, pop the pill as soon as you remember and then continue to follow the same-hour timing (as in my case, every 12 hours, twice a day). Most important thing is to find the solution to stick to the adherence. I have my weekly pill-box and I still remember to take my meds on time. I confess that at rare times I forget, too, but make sure it does not happen often. Coz if it does, you should have a reminder handy like an alarm on your cellphone at the specified time to remind you, or having someone in your family to tell you, or even keeping the pillbox in front of something the first thing in the day and last thing in night to remind you to take meds, anything. ADHERENCE should be strictly followed which is a PRIORITY so that your blood cells don’t run out of those medical components needed to keep the virus under control without giving it a time to breathe or chance to multiply.
Next comes HEALTHY EATING AND LIVING. I think it is best to banish deep-fried food, sweets, colas, savouries, fast foods. Should you feel like eating these, once a week is okay, or eat in limit. But NOT everyday. Tea/coffee/colas are dehydrants as they contain caffeine. Oily food suffocates the free-flow of oxygen in blood. Savouries like chocolates, pasties, sweet dishes add calories and it becomes heavy on your body that tires you down. Smoking is very harmful to overall body functions and as for drinking, it reacts with the medicines. It is recommended to sleep 8 hours a day. Rest when your body demands, and try not to push it to limits. By resting, I don’t mean sleeping again, just a catnap for half an hour is more than sufficient once a day. But try not to make it a habit because if you do then your body clock will have a tendency of wanting to catnap everyday at the SAME time. Try to do something which don’t require much of your energy whenever you feel tired. Like chatting with friends, or going out with them for an interesting movie or shopping, or walking down the lane, or anything that would help your mind stay alert and active. In my case, I go out and meet people when my diary is free of any dates or appointments. This prevents me to sleep in any time of the day except at night, that too at the specified time.
Third, POSITIVE ATTITUDES: Yes, positive attitudes! No matter how grumpy or angry you may be, negative emotions do harm more than good. Control your emotions. The virus rely on your emotional level as well as stress to cause a dip in CD4 count and make your immune cells weaken. I have often found that whenever I am in disturbed state of mind or battling my negative emotions, I end up being physically tired and mentally drained, disinterested in anything. That’s when the depression takes control of me and makes my days topsy-turvy. Therefore, even in bad times, it is best to learn to handle tough things with a mature mind and not thru emotions. Even when you are deep in grief, have someone with you so that you don’t grieve alone and the presence of the person give you at least some comfort.
Last but not least, LOVE YOUR BODY, TALK TO YOUR CELLS. All medications taken on daily basis has side-effects, emotionally, mentally as well as physically. Accept your flaws. Love your body the way it is. Exercise to keep it active. Do some yoga. Gym. Cycle. Adventure outings. Travelling. Anything to remain proactive. And when one is proactive, unknowingly one is defeating the side-effects of the meds. Pray. Meditate. Deep Breathe. Shut yourself out from other sounds and listen to soothing music. Give your cells to dance to your happy tunes. Pamper yourself in beauty parlour, spa, jacuzzi, or bask in the sun. Anything!! Try to find a little “ME” time so that your body/cells don’t feel ignored. And overall you will end up feeling oh-so great!!! Try it!!