Let's talk about hypnotizing our gut, drinking strange magical plants from Borawhoranora, finding ways to write off a stress free maintenance free beach villa as a health expense and other fun ways to manage and reduce stress colitis flare ups!
Stress + colitis = the f word.
Flare ups are a painful, brutal return of your symptoms. In the middle of a flareup you feel like there is no end in sight! Will it last days or weeks? Who knows! It's a surprise!
Some surprises aren't that great.
"Hey glad you've been doing and feeling great and following every rule and eating every food you should. I've decided to send my love."--your colon
Flare ups are painful reminders that our colon likes to be in charge...not us! Many things can trigger a flare up but most commonly flare ups may be caused by:
- Overreaction of your immune system
- Not taking medication
- Pain medications like ibuprofen, aspirin or naproxen
- Overreaction of your immune system
- Being off schedule (not sleeping as well, time changes, schedule changes)
- Just because! --I'm adding that one because sometimes there is NO reason at all and you are following everything you should and then your colon decides to send it's love! With a not so pretty bow.
"I've just changed my eating status to 'it's complicated.'"--meme
There are times that you probably have a good idea of what caused your flare up.
And it starts with an S.
Stress is the ugly dirty word of the day.
But just like being told to exercise through a colitis flare up (advice from someone I'm prettttty sure has never had colitis)...the advice for dealing with stress and colitis is about the same.
"Trust me, this ancient mango looking thing from deep in the forest of Borawhoranora will immediately cure your stress AND colitis."--my own personal quote
Hurray for stress! Finding the root of a flare up can cause you stress enough! And there are times during a flare up I would take ANY magical potion to stop a flare up. Being told to "relax" or "do deep breathing" can almost seem like an insult. Kind of like being told to exercise when you've been renting the bathroom for the entire day. You need relief NOW.
Can your write a stress free maintenance free beachside villa off as a mandatory health expense?
There are some BETTER realistic ways to manage your stress during a colitis flare up when stress is not going away anytime soon.
Yes please colon! Hit the snooze button! Gut directed hypnotherapy uses guided imagery and relaxation techniques that have been proven in reducing stress and flare ups. Some living with the big "C" have found it to be effective.
Cognitive behavior therapy and other types of therapy may help to reduce stress...especially if you are going through a very difficult time that doesn't have a current end date in mind like a divorce or family member who may be ill. It can also help if you are experiencing anxiety or depression. Multiple back to back or frequent bouts of flare ups can really really do a number on your mind. Talking it out and practicing things that will help may be a great step in reducing stress overall.
We found that with my son (not diagnosed with colitis but something similar) would wake up with horrible horrible stomachaches in the morning for many years throughout his childhood. After many trips to the doctor, labs drawn, samples taken and a colonoscopy and endoscopy a doctor finally said that basically his anxiety would manifest while he was sleeping, and do a number on his stomach! It might be worth exploring with your doctor if things like anxiety or depression might be causing or exacerbating your stress. Medication might be helpful for a time to reduce these symptoms and help reduce stress. Consult your doctor first.
When you're in the middle of a stressful situation, it might be good to utilize and know some deep breathing, mindfulness, or distraction type reduction techniques to help reduce the stress. Also talking to yourself helps. Well, talking to that annoying part of your brain that's insistent on keeping you stressed is helpful. Calling out your own thinking as false can be beneficial.
in the moment, you might need to pep talk yourself and say "I've gotta allow myself to feel this stress right now. (Maybe you're heading into court with an ex). Let yourself feel the stress and emotions you need to then start dealing with it once you've given yourself an allotted amount of sufficient time. "I allowed myself to stress and I've allowed myself to analyze what happened. Now I'm getting to a point I need to STOP...I'm starting to feel sick...so I'll table this for awhile until I'm feeling better or to a point I can explore it again."
You have to at times give yourself a break. Easier said then done depending on the life stage you're in. Telling toddlers to stop screaming and getting into everything was always a super productive activity. During those years going out with friends or trying to book a week long vacation without the kids wasn't always possible. So I resorted to finding those moments. Maybe it was hiding in the bathroom for ten minutes. Or taking the dogs for a walk. It could be that those sweet moments you rock your baby to sleep or read the kids a book before bed. Booking a massage or facial might be on the list if you have more time. Or booking a trip somewhere. It doesn't have to be fancy, but recognizing that you need breaks and utilizing them when and how you can depending on your stage of life IS important and good for helping to reduce stress overall.
What are the best ways you've found to reduce stress and colitis flare ups?
You know you.
And that means you know what is working (and not working) for you.
So shoot me a DM and let me know what's working for you. We're all here to support each other!