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 By Scott Lippman

As I write this, it’s a little after 10 in the morning and I’m sitting on my couch. I had big plans for today. I was ready to hit the ground running with a morning stretch and a new exercise plan.

But as so often happens with Crohn’s disease, things didn’t go according to plan, and I woke in the middle of the night feeling terrible. The workout I was excited for was the last thing on my mind.

It was time to activate my “IBD Save-The-Day Game Plan”.


What is the IBD Save-the-Day Game Plan?

The IBD Save-The-Day Game plan is a list of activities for me to do on days when I feel like crap. It’s designed to help ease mild symptoms, keep momentum, and make progress when Crohn’s tries to hold me back.

Before the plan, all I wanted to do on days like today was ride it out. I’d lay in bed feeling guilty about all the things I wasn’t doing that day, and as the number of bad days added up, I’d feel guilty about the life I wasn’t living thanks to my Crohn’s.

The Save-The-Day Game Plan was a tool that helped me take back control. I found that having a plan of action ready-to-go helped me stay focused even when my symptoms were monopolizing my attention.


The Four Steps of the IBD Save-The-Day Game Plan

  1. Movement. Light exercise boosts mood and quality of life. I’m not saying it’s easy to move when your Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis is active, but it’s worth it.  Examples: walking, yoga, swimming, stretching.
  2. Symptom Reduction. Have a list of go-to symptom soothers for your Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis. Examples: medications, medical marijuana, ginger tea, meditation.
  3. Safe foods. Know your “safe” foods and have some of them ready to go at all times. The last thing I want to do on a bad day is cook. Examples: these will be different for everyone but mine include congee (I keep a batch in the freezer at all times), chicken, rice, cooked zucchini, cucumbers.
  4. Productive Distraction. Choose mindless activities that make you feel useful and distract you. Examples: listen to an interesting podcast, watch a documentary, pay your bills. In my younger days as a video game tester, I used to save up the easier tasks for Fridays when I was more likely to come in hungover. While those days are long behind me, Crohn’s hangovers are not. Ever notice how a bad IBD day feels an awful lot like a hangover?


My IBD Save-The-Day Game Plan For A Crappy Crohn’s Day

On this bad day, here’s how I put my plan into action:

First, I made a cup of ginger and turmeric tea to help soothe my gut. While my tea was cooling, I meditated for 10 minutes. The meditation decreased my heart rate by 8 bpm. I felt less frantic and the throbbing in my gut slowed down. I skipped breakfast because I didn’t feel my gut was ready to eat. Then I took out some congee from the freezer to de-thaw for lunch and went out for a walk, staying close to home in case I needed to rush back.

The walk plus an entertaining podcast distracted me from my Crohn’s. I came home, finished up a work-related project, and ate congee for lunch. By now I was feeling better. I didn’t have the day I was planning for, but I rebounded.

Feeling beaten down as soon as you wake up in the morning is exhausting and disheartening. IBD, both Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, has a knack for that. My IBD Save-The-Day Game Plan is a powerful tool that helps me make the most of a tough situation.


Create Your IBD Save-The-Day Game Plan

I’ve shared an example of my Save-The-Day Game Plan. Now it’s time to create yours.

Here are your categories. Add at least 3 activities for each step.
1. Movement:
2. Symptom reduction:
3. Safe foods:
4. Productive Distraction:

Share your IBD Save-The-Day Game Plan in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!

Disclaimer: This website is for informational purposes only and is in no way intended as medical counseling or medical advice. Results may vary.

1 Comment

  1. Paulette

    1. Yoga stretches, walking up and down the stairs at least twice.

    2. Drink 2 glasses of water, first thing.

    3. Prepare brunch bowl of blueberries, avocado, finely diced; cucumber, (sometimes banana as well), ginger (5 cubes of preservedginger washed under cold water to remove excess sugar), pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, turmeric/black pepper mix and half tsp of cinnamon, (salad greens sometimes), walnuts and 4 Brazil nuts. Topped off with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (which I never used to be able to tolerate) and plain greek yoghurt, or kefir, or coconut milk.

    4. I like to play Freecell on my phone, or solve the Codecracker while I’m eating my brunch bowl.


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