Why Do You Need to Manage Your UC Stress?
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a type of chronic inflammatory bowel disease. It causes painful flare-ups of inflammation in your intestine — along with many other symptoms.
This can be very disruptive to your daily life and create a lot of stress. Stress — in turn — makes UC symptoms worse and increases your chances of having a flare-up.
So, try these 10 tips for managing your stress. If you succeed, you’ll end up improving both your symptoms and your mental health at the same time.
1. Be Positive
This diagnosis isn’t fatal. Many people with ulcerative colitis can lead full lives with long stretches between symptomatic flare-ups.
Worrying about your next flare-up only makes it more likely to happen. Instead, think about all of the good things that are in your life right now — like your loved ones.
2. Take It One Day at a Time
Everyday with UC can feel different.
Be aware of when you’re having a bad day and go easy on yourself. Keep in mind that there are bound to be good days ahead.
3. Plan Your Days in Advance
Save yourself from the extra stress of last-minute decisions and a disorganized schedule.
This also lets you plan times to rest and activities to look forward to. It’s hard to be too stressed when you’re well-rested and having fun.
4. Get Enough Sleep
A good night’s sleep is necessary for people to feel right — both mentally and physically. Working without enough sleep can make tasks more difficult and increase your irritability and anger.
These problems can interfere with your work and relationships and will only add to your stress load. So, do yourself a favor and regularly get a good night's sleep.
5. Try Yoga and Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
Yoga is a safe relaxation method for patients with UC.
You can also try another recommended de-stressing technique — PMR. This is when you move through the muscles in your body and clench one area at a time as tightly as you can for about ten seconds.
Relax them for 20 seconds then repeat the process.
6. Try Meditation and Breathing Exercises
Regular meditation can increase your mindfulness and decrease your stress.
Studies have shown that mindfulness techniques help reduce the symptoms of UC.
7. Express Yourself Creatively
Art can help you get in touch with your emotions and express them in a healthy way. To relieve stress, you can try:
Sometimes, it’s easier to express your emotions in words than out loud to other people. Try keeping a journal about how you’re feeling and your life with UC.
You’ll be a lot less stressed if you have a private outlet for your fears and frustrations.
9. Talk to Your Friends
You might be embarrassed about your diagnosis or some of the symptoms. Being open with your friends can relieve the stress of any perceived social awkwardness.
You’ll likely find that they’d rather support you than judge you for your condition.
10. Talk to a Professional
Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for recommendations of therapists and counselors.
Studies have shown that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help relieve symptoms. It can teach you to manage the stress and anxiety associated with all of the UC-based changes in your life.
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