The simple truth is stress exists everywhere. Unlike your diet, it’s harder to control but that shouldn’t stop you from trying. For sufferers of inflammatory bowel disease (IDB), higher levels of stress can often mean they experience a greater number of flare-ups. So in the name of curbing both stress and IBD symptoms, we’d like to remind you of something very, very important: pampering yourself is a good thing.

Sure, it’s hard sometimes to justify ‘me time’, but allow us to do that for you. With a little bit of R&R, you’ll be in a better frame of mind (and your insides will thank you for it too).

Identify your ‘go to’ stress relievers

Not to state the obvious, but you already know which activities calm you down the most – make sure you do them! The funny thing about being human is that we often don’t do the things we know are good for us (a true mystery of human nature).

Let’s say you know a foot massage will 100% put your mind at ease. Next time you’re feeling the pressure of work, don’t just think about it – make sure you actually book yourself in. If anything, having IBD is an extra incentive to make sure you treat yourself. Remember, it’s not just about pampering, it’s about keeping cramps and other IBD/stress-related symptoms at bay and keeping your energy and wellbeing up.

Embrace new things

But what if you don’t have any guaranteed stress relievers? Well then it’s definitely time you got out there and tried new things.

There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that acupuncture can help alleviate the symptoms of IBD by bringing about a sense of harmony and relaxation within the body. Meditation is also a favourite among reformed stress-heads. The act of quieting the mind can have a flow-on effect to the rest of the body. For some people with IBD, this can relieve muscular tension and calm the stomach and bowel.

It’s important to keep trying new things in search of an effective calming strategy. What will relieve your stress really comes down to the particulars of your personality. Some people find that video games will help, whilst others will find they only end up more frustrated when sat in front of the TV. But if you’re open to new ideas, sure enough you’ll find a solution eventually.

Look to the IBD community

The online IBD community is a great source of inspiration and support. Plenty of people have documented their efforts to manage their symptoms via stress-reducing activities, freely offering these insights to the world as a way of helping the greater IBD community.

It’s in these support forums, blogs and websites that you may find your best stress buster yet. Natural pool swimming, retail therapy, knitting – all of these have worked for people in the past. And while you’re at it, why not help give back to the community by charting your own journey? You could participate in forums, or even start your own blog. You never, know – your stress-beating solution may help someone else out there.

19/09/2014 IRIS number AU-REM0326

July Post 10 Pampering Yourself