A big part of my journey with Crohn’s is finding the right balance for my health. Taking care of myself is not just about what I put in my body but also about how I mentally focus and decompress. The mind and body connection is essential for both healing and prevention of further damage. Life is busy and it’s a constant struggle of trying to do too much in too little time. I mean, how does one work, cook for oneself and significant other, look good, work out, get your nails done, see friends & family, etc. etc. etc. without feeling a little drained?! Here I’m sharing my tips for how I stay balanced and specifically in relation to how it affects my Crohn’s and stress levels.
- Reading – I’m always reading for pleasure and educational purposes. There’s only so many hours I can veg out to Hulu & Netflix so I might as well use my time wisely. I joined a book club to keep me on track with my fiction and we meet once a month. For health purposes, I’m currently reading Controlling Crohn’s the Natural Way and The Secret Life of Your Microbiome. In short, everything is related back to your gut so take care of it!
- Goal setting – I recently underwent a Breathwork workshop (a specific type of belly breathing to alleviate anxiety) and the teacher used The Desire Map book as a part of it. This book invites you to get in touch with your inner self and set some “goals with the soul”. I enjoy checking back in with my thoughts at that time and amending my goals as I achieve them or as I change them. I carry around a small piece of paper with my core goals in my wallet at all times!
- Journaling – I used to journal all the time in my younger years: “Dear Diary – I have a crush on Chris, do you think he likes me?” In all seriousness though, journaling helps me put my thoughts down and relieves my mind from continuously bringing them back up. My entries are very different now and focus on gratitude. Every day I write down something I am grateful for, the way I’d like to feel that day, and something I’d like to let go of. I like to do it in the morning to set my intention for the day and keep me grounded.
- Meditation – I use Insight Timer app on my phone. I love that it offers guided meditations you can listen to for as little as 5 minutes or more as you need. The app has categories and groups them accordingly so it’s super easy to find what I am looking for. I bookmark my favorites and either do one in the early am, afternoon, or before bed.
These four tools allow me to feel focused and help alleviate a lot of my anxiety. Anxiety and stress can exacerbate any auto immune condition like Crohn’s, so it’s important to try to let go of that as best as I can! When I combine these 4 practices with diet and exercise, I feel like my best self. What tools do you use to destress? Anything I should add to my regime?