What NOT To Say To a Sick Person

Sharing this post with you from my health coaching heart today….but also from my own painful journey as a “sick person.”

I’m going on 3 years now of living with a painful, chronically EXHAUSTING and generally soul-sucking illness called Hashimoto’s Autoimmune. And close to 15 years now with a chronic spine condition I was born with (spondylolisthesis) that creates daily pain and massive physical limitations (including an unattractive bent-over-look that is hard on a girl’s self-esteem!)

One hidden blessing of living with chronic disease and pain - my COMPASSION for others INCREASES.

My understanding of “invisible illnesses” has greatly expanded.

And my desire to share this awareness with you is on fire!

So today, I’m sharing some heartfelt advice for us all (OR, what NOT to say to a sick person!)

Right before my spine correction surgery in Oct 2016…I was so scared! So very, very scared. But God was with me! The whole time!

Right before my spine correction surgery in Oct 2016…I was so scared! So very, very scared. But God was with me! The whole time!

The statistics (which haven’t even caught up with the reality) on chronic disease, especially invisible disease like autoimmune and pain conditions, are frightening, to say the least. What they confirm is that we are each most likely touching the lives of someone who struggles with one or more…or are sur-thrivers of them ourselves.

Knowing this, we’ve got to come out of the stigma-influenced mindset of judging, demeaning, pitying or patronizing those who suffer.

The only way to even begin to understand, let alone bring healing to someone in this situation, is to admit we might need to change our viewpoint.

We've got to remember that people who are struggling with an illness or disease or life-issue DO NOT WANT to be sick. 

I repeat: NO ONE WANTS to be sick.

It's just SO hard when you are in the midst of sickness or some struggle and peeps give "pat comments." (Even IF their hearts are to help, and you know it, it still stings and sucks.)

Please be kind.

Be sensitive.

LISTEN instead of TELL.


* You are healed, you just need to receive it (yes, I get this one A LOT) as if I've actively CHOSEN to not receive it for the last few uber-painful, uncomfortable years of my life.

Um, just trust me on this, kay?

I DO want to receive it and you can be assured Jesus and I have conversed as such on more than one occasion.

* Have you tried THIS FIX-IT or THIS JUICE or THIS OIL or THIS PILL or THIS.... 

#1 Yes, I continue to keep an open mind, and I will try just about anything ONCE however, #1 money don't grow on my tree in the front yard, and

#2 my poor body needs a breather from "trying stuff" for a bit, thank you very much. (Not to mention the bank account.) PLEASE don’t offer me anything unless you wanna buy it for me?

“Oh, I know exactly what that feels like, from when I had *insert whatever ailment here* “

NO. Just no.

NOBODY knows exactly what another person’s struggle, pain, issues, or circumstances feels like.

It’s impossible.

You may be able to relate, but validation that you DON’T know what it feels like would be nice, then you can get into the relating piece after that.

Especially because now, I’m feeling CARED ABOUT by heart is now wide open.

Example of what would be better to say: 

“Gosh, friend, I have NO idea what that feels like, you are one tough cookie to deal with that! A while back, I had *insert whatever pain I had* and I could barely handle that! I’ll be praying for you.”


* Aw, I'm sorry friend. You're in my prayers (or, if you're not a person of faith, you can say, "best wishes for healing")

* I can't imagine what that feels like, you must be so tired of this (oh sweet validation - it's like medicine)

* What can I do to help? (they're probably NOT gonna take you up on it, but it's that whole "thought that matters" thing)

* SEND THEM A QUICK MESSAGE with a song, a quote, an inspiration, or better yet, a sweet card in the mail with encouragement

OH and another quick tip: Don't forget about the "strong ones" - the friends or family who AREN'T COMPLAINING - they need those check in messages too! They need the thoughts and prayers and care - but they may never ask for it.

Post-surgery in 2017 but very sick with Hashimoto’s - Kissing my hubby on the beach at our Family getaway spot in Mexico. We are taking this life one day at a time, and trying to find joy in every moment.

Post-surgery in 2017 but very sick with Hashimoto’s - Kissing my hubby on the beach at our Family getaway spot in Mexico. We are taking this life one day at a time, and trying to find joy in every moment.

Back when I was very, very sick with a severe seizure disorder that upended my life in my late 20’s (but since, the Lord has COMPLETELY healed my body of it!) I once heard a neurologist say… “we are ALL one breath away from a neurological disease or mental illness.” He was saying this to remove my own self-induced shame about the condition, essentially telling me that EVERYONE is capable of sickness.

Since then, I’ve realized this is true of ANY sickness or condition or disease - and of course, as a health coach on a mission to bring hope and healing to this world, I don’t want to think that way.

I want to see EVERYONE healed!

NO ONE sick.

But it is true that while walking this imperfect journey in this broken world, NONE of us is “safe” from pain, disease, sickness or struggle.

We don’t earn sickness by “being worse than others” and we don’t “earn our way out of it with great faith” - and YES I do believe in faith and supernatural healing, and even have numerous testimonies of it in my own journey (with more to come!) but NO we personally don’t get to choose when that happens!

God is SOVEREIGN ya’ll - He alone is God. I’m not about to tell Him how to do His job.

Maybe, when we realize our great vulnerability, we will plant good seeds for our own uncertain futures by serving those in our lives now who are affected.

Maybe our own compassion meters will fill back up, our thoughtfulness thermometers will be on high alert and our sensitivity sensors will be working well!

Who has God put on your heart to reach out to?

Get up in their private messages right now, and show 'em some love!

...and thank you for taking the time to read this, friend. Your care in reading it is an amazing gift to those in your life who need you and your love!

Huge hugs and belief in you ~ Coach Bess

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Get Through the Holidays Without Getting Sick

We’ve been talking about keeping ourselves on track with our health this season, and doing it without obsessing or worrying about what we’re doing to our bodies this time of year.

How many of you would LOVE to start the New Year without the extra 4-6 pounds that often “creep up” on our bodies?

You’re not alone!

Added to that, staying well through the holidays increases our enjoyment of family, friends and seasonal celebrations, doesn’t it?

Today I’m focusing on how to stay well and how to not get sick through this season. If we’re strategic and specific in our choices there’s no reason to fall into the usual colds and flus. And if we have taken care of our health well, when we do catch a bug we’ll be blasting through it quickly too! These tips apply for ANY time we’re building or boosting our bodies ‘stay well’ defenses too…not just during the holidays. Watch this quick 3-minute video for one of my top FRESH holiday tips for having more FUN this time of year WITHOUT GETTING SICK!

FRESH living during the holidays often means NOT getting sick!

Here’s a brief recap from the video:

Between parties and get-togethers, strategically boost your immune system! Do this by…

  1. Reserving treats for the parties & family get-togethers - Don’t keep a stash on the counter or extra less-than-healthy snacks around your own home. Keep those special indulgences for the special events! That way you can have the FULL experience at your weekend party or family meal without dragging your body down in the intervening days between each event.
  2. Prepare and drink the Berry Nutty Smoothie throughout the week as a super-nutritious detoxing drink daily!
  3. Add lemon (fresh-squeezed is best!) at least once to your daily water intake. Lemon is SO GREAT for cleansing your digestion and liver. It also adds a great zing to your water as you’re chugging down your daily quota!
  4. Make a veggie broth and drink in place of coffee or tea to infuse yourself with all the micronutrients and fresh-food goodness your body craves between the richer foods you eat at events or special occasions.
  5. Eat SUPER clean foods – quinoa, barley, brown rice, lots of fresh-as-possible veggies and fruits — these provide the nutrition our bodies need to build up our immune system, countering the extra sugar or richer foods we might have eaten over the holidays.

The reasons people typically get sick more often this time of year isn’t necessarily that there are more germs.

Rather, by indulging in sweets more often than usual, added to the stress of extra to-dos and loss of sleep we’ve allowed, our bodies to wear down. In many ways we’ve pushed ourselves past the limit of what our bodies need. It is vital to rebuild our body’s natural defense system with good clean foods and nourishing fluids.

Stop by our Facebook page and share your own best immune boosting tips OR shoot me a question! I’m always happy to talk with you on our shared journey to our BEST health.