IBD and the Power of Routines

Patient Expert
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Living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can be like riding a roller coaster that never ends. Living like this makes it extremely hard for a patient to get into a routine that can improve his or her life. As soon as you think you have a routine and that things might be getting close to being on cruise control, BANG! Your IBD hits and you are back to square one.

Routines can improve a person’s mental and physical health, allowing him or her to be more productive, have a clearer mind, and much more. This is why a patient with any chronic disease must find a routine that he or she can stick with and that works with his or her body.

Before I get into the nitty gritty, here is one example: A normal person’s routine might start at 5 or 6 a.m. For many IBD patients, that might not be realistic as fatigue and insomnia come into play. This means we have to adjust to what our bodies will allow and start our routine when we can.

What goes into a routine?

First, we need to start with the easy things that are doable for anyone. It's incredible what can happen with your day if you start it the right way. Make these habits repeatable every morning, and you’ll slowly begin to see a difference.

Set your mind right before bed: Make sure you have the right state of mind and know what you’d like to accomplish the next day. You could even write it down, so you don’t have to remember or think about it. Have a positive mindset about the next day. Move your alarm clock away from the bed: This will force you to get your body moving and get you out of bed in order to turn it off. Once your body is moving, you’re on your way to starting your day. This is a big difference compared to rolling over and hitting the snooze button. Brush your teeth and splash your face with water: Sounds simple and you might even be saying, “Why is he telling me to do something obvious?" Because not all people do it. Sometimes you walk around, take the dog out, make a cup of coffee, etc. Walking into the bathroom and doing these two simple things will wake you up just a little quicker.

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Drink a cup of water: You’ve been laying in bed for six or eight or as many as 10 hours. This means you might be slightly dehydrated -- and one of the first signs of dehydration is fatigue. Drinking at least a cup of water will give you a little more energy to start your day. It will also help your skin, remove waste from the body, cushion your joints, and more.

Get moving or take a shower: Once you are up, either do some simple exercises or shower. Both will get your blood flowing and allow you to not only have more energy but also help clear your head for the day.

You’ll be amazed at how much your day will improve by doing these five things in the first few minutes of the day. They will jump start you into everything else that has to be done.

Having routines will help you stay on task and, most importantly, feel healthier inside and out. They will make everyday tasks go smoothly and allow your body to get into a flow with life. You’ll be astonished at how little changes throughout the day can add up and make life easier.

Routine resources

If you'd like to read a great book that can change your life, give you more energy, and allow you to jump start your day, check out the "Miracle Morning" series.

You can also sign up for a motivational or mentoring series that can be emailed to you every morning. I use Darren Daily, which is a free service. Each weekday morning they send out a short video or audio clip that will motivate you to start your day and push yourself to try something new to better your life.

Honestly, what do you have to lose? Start today and see what happens next!