We all know stress is a popular topic for everyone to talk about, not just those with health issues. Stress is an important part of life, both positive and negative. But the power of turning your negative stress into the positive kind can make all the difference, for you and for everyone around you. For people with IBD, stress is an important factor in how your disease is reacting. Just one small stressful situation, or a nervous feeling in your stomach is enough to keep you up all night into the early hours of the morning. Reading and practicing stress relieving activities are what take up a lot of my free time when I go to learn more about UC.
One popular habit that many indulge in when they feel stressed is eating. Eating plays such a major role in my life as I’m sure it does others in similar situations. Over eating, especially when I’m stressed can have serious backlash. Who doesn’t love a big piece of chocolate cake after a long, stressful day at work? I know I sure love a treat at the end of the day, as a matter of fact I have to have one. But is it a craving, or do I love my treats at night because they soothe me in a way. I know my day is over and it’s time to go to bed while I’m enjoying my choice sweet of the day. Even though I know it’s not good for my general health or my UC to have a treat EVERY night, a little never hurt anybody. Moderation, I’ve learned, is key.
That means stress in moderation too. Keeping tabs on what is making you freak daily can help. Writing them down or taking extra time to breathe when something or someone makes you irritated or stressed can help kick nasty habits that you might have to fix those feelings. Exercising, in my opinion, sucks. But I know that without exercise, I won’t feel good about myself, which therefore leads to stress. Exercise releases endorphins that help cope with stress. Last night was my first time back at the gym for a while since I haven’t been feeling very good lately. Even though I dreaded going, afterwards I felt so much better. It’s important to me to have a routine that includes exercising, even if some days I really don’t feel like going.
Personally, when I’m stressed to the max I love to hide out by myself. It may not be the best, but being on prednisone and having stress issues at the same time can lead to serious anger outbursts. Trying new relaxation techniques with my therapist and learning how to take a step back and look at the situation from a different perspective has helped calm my craziness a little, but it’s definitely something that I really have to work on daily.
I’ve developed an obsession with tea since I can’t really have my beloved coffee anymore. Tazo brand (Starbuck’s) has a tea called “Calm” that is seriously soothing and tastes pretty good too 🙂 I would highly recommend for those who cannot drink caffeine, or even people who just want to relax. There are also foods that have been proven to help ease stress. A handful of almonds, complex carbs such as potatoes or fruits like apples and bananas. I eat all of the above with UC and do not have flare issues from them. I also take B-vitamins every day, which supposedly help with stress as well.