Feelings of anxiety never evoke pleasant experiences. I must admit, recently I haven’t been feeling at ease within myself.
Stress, whilst having Crohns disease or any other inflammatory bowel diseases is a whole different scenario. Every hospital appointment I am religiously reminded to make sure I try not to stress out. Why is this important? There is a strong correlation between stress levels and Crohn’s flares ( When symptoms are experienced). I have tried my best to suppress these unwanted emotions – lets face it there’s a cycle when it comes to stress ; you get stressed – it slows down your productivity , you end up not completing tasks you’ve set for the day – which leads to more things that need to be done – WHICH LEADS TO MORE STRESS!!
So.. How do I control my stress whilst having Crohns disease ?
It’s not easy and I do not claim to be a master of this by any means. But I do have a few tips and tricks up my sleeve which I would love to share with all of you ; not just those with Crohn’s and other inflammatory bowel diseases !
- MEDITATION. Meditation is not just all about sitting in a fetus position and making sound effects. It’s all about self reflection , spending a few minutes in UTTER silence with yourself. I’m a newbie to meditation so I’ve set myself to do 5 minutes a day ( which I don’t always achieve tbh ). I have found this has helped tremendously in my attentiveness. My mind wanders less , I find myself being present in the moment which leads to my next point..
- CUT YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA USAGEEEEEE. Now this is a big one for us millennials. Our phones are a necessary commodity,we have the ability communicate with anybody at any given time on those little magical devices. But think about it ? How much of that time are you spending in productivity? I always refer to social media as the nemesis of confidence. It is easy to get sucked into this whole comparison stuff. I’ve been there and done that. But what you have to remember is those people are only portraying themselves as they would want the world to see them. Comparing yourself to how other people look or what other people have will only create more dissatisfaction in your life. Put the phone down. I use an app called Moment which is accessible on both android and Apple,it tracks how much time you are spending on your phone from hours to minutes. So, Log out. Pick up a book or something. Breathe.
- Talk to your support network. Let your loved ones know how you’re feeling. There is no shame in vulnerability. What I have learned over the past year is , you find your strength during your darkest hours. Don’t be crippled by the fear of being a burden to anybody. Allow yourself the benefit of sharing your experiences with those that love you. Allow yourself the benefit of having a shoulder to cry on. Allow yourself the benefit of not being alone in this. Especially when you’re first diagnosed with Crohns. I personally found it difficult to communicate with anybody. I had my amazing Mum to get me through my darkest days – going above and beyond to ease my pain – emotionally. Which I believe aided me in moving forward.
- JOURNALING. If you’re like me, and do not initially want to speak to anybody. Journaling is another great way to move your thoughts to another source. It’s simple – all you will need is a notepad and a pen. Journaling also serves a double purpose , reading back through what you’ve written can always help with self reflection.This is one my favourite methods.
- CLEANLINESS. OH this is a BIG ONE. I don’t know about you guys. But I can’t be happy in a messy room. Make sure you keep your things neat and tidy. It always helps to change around the structure of your furniture and give your space a new canvas.
- LOOKING GOOD IS IMPORTANT , BUT SO IS FEELING GOOD. When you have a chronic illness like Crohn’s you may not always feel so beautiful. With all this stress and change that comes with it its very very easy to lose yourself. I’m going to use myself as an example in this case. Before Crohns I took much pride in my appearance. Upon receiving my diagnosis , my appearance did not matter to me at all. My hair was constantly messy and I was rotating the same clothes although I have an extensive range of things to wear. Although, this is justified. ( I mean my appearance was literally the least of my problems this stage). We all know feeling good also stems from looking good. But is so important to find time to make sure you care for yourself physically ; Go on a walk. Do a facemask. Get your hair done. Drink some waterrrrr. *drip drip*
Despite so far having a very stressful week, I’ve got things to look forward to in the upcoming week :
- I will be celebrating my birthday on the 26th and all that comes with it !
- A colonoscopy 😦 However does mean I will be receiving better treatment 🙂
- I’ll be joining the Crohns&Colitis UK group as an offical volunteer.
I hope some of my points were of use to at least somebody. Remember if you find yourself stressing. Like stressssing. Sit back and take the deepest breath. I promise it works. And remember circumstances change in the blink of an eye.
Thank you for reading.xx