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
- 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.
- Symptom Reduction. Have a list of go-to symptom soothers for your Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis. Examples: medications, medical marijuana, ginger tea, meditation.
- 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.
- 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.
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.