Thoughts on my current health situation.

As you may or may not know, I have Crohn’s disease. This causes a lot of problems for my day-to-day activities and lifestyle, especially when the symptoms worsen like during a flare-up.

Now I can’t control what my body does as far as my Crohn’s goes and I can’t always control how it affects my life; that’s something that just is. I can, however, control my treatment and choose to make the best of the situations in which I find myself. That’s not always easy. Especially during and after extended periods of turbulence.

This past summer has been one of those extended times, and in a lot of ways it’s still happening. But I’m fighting to get out of it or at least take some control back.

An evolving treatment plan.

Because many of my symptoms worsened over the summer months, the decision was made to alter my treatment plan. Going forward I will be taking biologics on a regular schedule. This means that for the rest of my life, unless something changes, I’ll be injecting my medication every few weeks.

So that’s a pretty big change. Hopefully it’s one that will lead to a more stable state of health for me. That would be amazing and life-changing!

Wow. I reread that last sentence and it’s kind of… it’s a weird concept to wrap my head around.

More than just a physical problem.

You see, for the past year especially, my mental health has also taken a big hit along with my physical health. It makes sense for many reasons, but it’s something that needs to be treated promptly just as any other health issue.

Luckily for me, I was able to start seeing a counsellor and they’ve worked with me to help get me back on track. Doing simple tasks can be a challenging and that messes with my head a fair bit. I mean, I’ve been living with Crohn’s for several years now, but only recently have some of the problems really caught up with me.

I’ve always had a huge issue with energy levels. Often I’ll wake up with less energy than I had before I went to sleep, so it’s hard to do anything in a day. I’ve lost my sense of passion for doing things– for living life. Creative moments are far and few between. My drive to do things and complete projects or tasks is non-existent most days. And it’s easier to count the days that I…

Let’s pause here for a moment because I’m trying to remember where that last sentence in the last paragraph was going and I can’t recall what I was going to write. It’s one of the other things that’s been happening to me quite frequently; short-term memory loss. Which is scary and annoying. Sometimes mid-sentence I’ll just completely stop because I’ve forgotten what I was thinking about and thus what I was saying.

Anyway, the point is that I’m doing my best given the circumstances, but I don’t feel like it’s enough or that I’m keeping up with the demands of modern life. Everything is a drain on my well-being. I can’t heal fully in this environment. Which probably means I need to adjust my environment to help facilitate healing.

Yeah.

In conclusion…

While I’m trying to manufacture hope and optimism, I’m going to probably start posting my thoughts on here a bit more. This blog is meant to share my adventures, and the biggest adventure of my life is also currently my only adventure. Well, it’s my only big adventure at least. I have been having little adventures as I am able.

I don’t know if there was a point to this post. I just started writing because I wanted to and I actually pushed myself to do it. Which was difficult. But it doesn’t have to be… does it?


Edit: I forgot to mention that I added support to my blog for dark mode. So if you’re on a supported device with dark mode turned on, my website will now match the colour of my soul a bit better. 😹

Four things to encourage a healthy mind.

I struggle with fatigue, pain, motivation, and bunch of other things on most days—a lot of which is related to my Crohn’s disease. Over the past couple of years I’ve discovered and developed different tools and methods to keep my mind in a good place. It’s not easy, but it is doable!

One of those tools is to have a handful of things that I try to do every day, however good or bad I’m feeling. I once made a list of those things, but I kept adding to it until it became too much. Your everyday self care list shouldn’t contain everything—you can’t do everything all the time.

After some time, I came up with four main things to do every single day, especially when I’m not feeling so great. These are some of the most basic things that you need to focus on so you can feel better. Using this list as a starting point, you can develop habits and find simple ways to help yourself actually take care of you.

Here are my top four tips to help maintain a healthy mindset!

1. Move your body!

Fun fact! Your body needs to move—a lot. That’s what keeps you in working condition. If you don’t move, then you’re body isn’t going to work properly.

I’m not sure where, but I remember reading about some research that suggested your body can’t keep completely still for very long. Some part of your body needs to move at least every minute, even if it’s a simple blink, twitch, or breath. If you don’t move, your body will try to make you! Otherwise, you’ll die…which isn’t good. 🙁

So get moving! It’s not always easy, I know. But once you start moving, you tend to keep moving. The trick is to take small steps and move your body in smaller ways. If you’re not feeling great you don’t want to add pressure. So start small; get out of bed. It’s as simple as that!

If you do have the energy and drive, then do more! Take a shower, go for a walk, play Just Dance! Everyone needs a workout of some sort. Your workout can be anything you’d like! Just get moving! Let go, and your body will do the rest.

2. Go outside!

The inside is nice, I get it. Most days I don’t want to even peek my head outside let alone go for a walk or get that ingredient I need from the market. The thing is that you need a stimulating environment to get your mind going. Every one of your senses need to be activated. That’s not gonna happen if you stay inside!

You want to feel the movement of air around your skin, take in the warm rays of the sun, look at the colours of things around you… Maybe even interact with some people! Who knows? Just get yourself outside somehow.

If you don’t have the energy to actually go outside, then you can open a window or sit on the porch. Even opening the door and stepping outside for a minute to see what the weather is up to is better than nothing.

3. Engage your mind!

You need to do something that takes some sort of thought or requires your creative thinking. Something to express yourself or be passionate about. Your mind is a powerful system and needs to be stimulated and engaged so it can do its thing.

Maybe you call a friend to talk about you lives, or put together a puzzle that you have on the shelf. Mayhaps you pull out the finger paints! Whatever you do, get obsessed with it and really get into it.

Engaging your mind will help focus your thoughts. It’ll give your brain time to process things. You’re looking for points of disconnect where you’re not just letting your mind veg. You want your mind to actively wander while you focus on completing some sort of task. (If that makes sense… 🧐)

4. Eat flavourful, whole food!

None of that processed stuff…just good, whole food to wake up your taste buds. That could be as simple as having a banana, apple, or other ready-to-eat fruit. Dried fruits are especially good and just like candy!

Eating anything is good because your body needs energy and nutrition. So if you can’t get the best, most fresh foods, that’s okay. You need to eat something at the very least. But try to have at least one meal item that’s not just a packaged edible food-like substance.

Make banana bread, or fry up an egg. Make oatmeal and top it with PB&J! Get creative and try new combos. And when all else fails, just grab a jar of pickles. Nothing wrong with that. Eat!

Anything else?

The best part about these tips is you can combine a lot of them. Put your mental focus into making a little picnic for yourself, then take a short walk to the park and enjoy the outdoors. If you’re having a good day with lots of energy, that might be the perfect solution! If it’s a harder day and you just can’t muster up anything, that’s fine. Do what you can. Maybe just take a shower, doodle in your notebook, grab a slice of bread, and open a window. That’s all you need to do.

While there’s a lot of things that you have to do to take care of yourself every day, these four things are some of the most important areas to cover. But that’s just my advice… What are some of your own tips for taking care of your mind when life is challenging? Do you have your own priority list for self-care? Let me know in the comments! 🙂