17 Unexpected Coping Techniques That Help People Manage Dysautonomia


Editor's Note

Any medical information included is based on a personal experience. For questions or concerns regarding health, please consult a doctor or medical professional.

One of the challenging aspects of dysautonomia is figuring out exactly which combination of strategies, lifestyle changes and medications work for you. Your doctor might suggest a number of ideas, like increasing your fluid and salt intake and wearing compression stockings; plus, your fellow “POTS-ies” and other people with dysautonomia might have discovered some additional tips and tricks that could be helpful, t0o. Of course, everyone with dysautonomia is different, and what works for one person may not work for someone else. But sometimes hearing what works for other people can help spark an idea for something you might be able to add to your own dysautonomia arsenal.

We asked our Mighty readers to share “unexpected” techniques they use to help manage their dysautonomia. Perhaps you’ll find a trick here you hadn’t thought of before (don’t forget to check with your doctor before making any major diet or lifestyle changes!). And let us know in the comments if you have any other unexpected coping techniques to share.

Here are the tips our Mighty community shared with us:

  1. “Laughing! Whether it’s funny YouTube videos or Pinterest memes. Going down a humor rabbit hole takes my mind off everything and the laughter relaxes me. (Stress makes my symptoms so much worse).” — Leah C.
  2. “Sitting with my feet up. In public or waiting rooms I rest them on my rollator.” — Sabrina S.
  3. In my own home, I have a basket in which I put all the things I need to have with me when I am too tired or POTSy to get up. It has my medication, water bottle, neck pillow, phone, mobile charger, book and headphones in it.” — Tamar D.
  4. “I’m on a fluid restriction (because of dialysis) but I have learned to always keep a frozen water bottle with me for the back of my neck.” — Anjelica N.
  5. “During and after workouts when I get dizzy/lightheaded, I’ll lie on my back and kick my legs in the air for a minute or two. Looks super silly, but it works really fast.” — Megan L.
  6. “Whenever I have to stand for a long period of time (or stand still) I fidget and ‘hop’ from one foot to the other in order to keep the blood flowing in my legs so I don’t get as symptomatic.” — Hannah W.
  7. “I eat frozen electrolyte pops in the summer for some needed nutrients and sodium for POTS. It helps me cool down as well.” — Marley T.
  8. “When I have to sit for a while, my lower half can begin to go numb/tingly and I become lightheaded. I will rotate flexing muscles from my feet to abs, to compensate and increase my comfort while I need to be in that position. For resting, I prefer reclining completely.” — Tab M.
  9. I find anything to distract myself. I push myself to call someone or interact with someone in a chronic illness group. I always feel better when I can lift my spirits a little.” — Samantha S.
  10. Pickle juice! I drink it straight or freeze it for hot days. Some days it’s a lifesaver.” — Katalina K.
  11. “Depends on my symptoms… but usually feet up, compression hose on, drink plenty of Propel water and read a funny, lighthearted book. Then meditation to calm my system and of course chatting with my support group friends gets me through.” — Gina P.
  12. “Crossing my legs and squeezing them together when standing for long periods of time. Flipping the water to really cold in an effort to shock my system when I’m about to pass out in the shower.” — Melanie H.
  13. “When I feel dizzy my service dog will lick me to try to keep me from passing out when I lay down. This picture was taken today. I had just had surgery and I picked my head up and got super dizzy so she did her thing.” — Alexis M.  woman laying on bed with small dog next to her
  14. “I pretend it isn’t happening. I tell myself that I’m not actually fainting. It doesn’t stop the episode, but if I let my anxiety take over, it’ll only make the episode worse.” — Cassandra B.
  15. “Compression stockings are a little too much for me, but regular crew socks actually make a huge difference in my foot and leg pain.” — Lauren P.
  16. I exercise. I know it sounds counterintuitive but working out, specifically riding my bike, was very therapeutic for me before I got sick. Now, I can’t ride nearly as far or as fast but I still love to just try and get out there because it helps me mentally cope with being sick.” — Carlow D.
  17. “I take ‘business cards’ with me with an explanation of POTS, which I hand out in situations where I quickly need to explain why I need to sit with my legs up. Because when I’m without my wheelchair, people have no clue that I am disabled, and nobody has ever heard of POTS, so it’s nice to hand them a card instead of having to explain everything with a brain foggy mind.” — Tamar D.

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