IBD New Year's Resolutions

Resolutions for People Who Live With Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis

Every year, at the beginning of the year, there is a flurry of activity around New Year's Resolutions, and the habits to break or the habits to start on January 1st. Many people vow to lose weight, eat better, stop smoking, or exercise more. Many of these more common resolutions are probably not what is first and foremost in the life of people who are living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). For people with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, there may be other priorities having to do with the daily battle against these digestive diseases and how it affects one's life. For that reason, here are some other suggestions that people with IBD can use to help themselves live healthier lives.

1
Be Kind to Yourself

Woman reading in the tub
Westend61/Getty Images

It seems strange that we should need reminders to be nice to ourselves, but many of us do. Having IBD is a hard road, and it's not one that anyone would choose for themselves or for someone else. Give yourself a break, and try to do something special for yourself, every so often. That could be as simple as taking time for a bath or going to a movie, or even going to bed early once a week to catch up on a little sleep. You deserve to make time for self care, so why not bake that right into your weekly schedule for the coming year. This could look like making time for small, daily self-care ideas and of bigger, weekly or monthly self-care days.

2
Stay on Your Treatment Plan

Meditation
Hero Images/Getty Images

Your treatment plan is individualized to you: it's not meant for anyone else. It could include medications, diet, meditation, exercise, or alternative and complementary treatments. Whatever your treatment plan includes, sticking to it is the best way to prevent future flare-ups. Keeping up with your plan and your schedule is not always going to be easy, but it's the best way to stay as healthy as you can. When you're tempted to go off your path, remember what happened the last time you didn't take your medication or you didn't stick to your diet. When everything gets off track, try to turn it around and get back to what's working as soon as possible and move on.

3
Keep Your Appointments

Planner
Patrick NG/Moment/Getty Images

It's tempting to skip appointments with your healthcare providers, especially if you are feeling well. You, of course, will want to see your healthcare professionals when you are sick, but seeing them when you are well is also important. In this way, you can discuss what is working for you right now, and your doctors get to see you when you are feeling good, which is important so that they have that baseline to contrast to when you aren't doing as well. Having your eye exam, teeth cleaning, or other routine tests at a time when you are not experiencing a flare-up is going to be much easier on you than it is when you are flaring. Get those recommended vaccinations, cancer screenings, or bone scans too!

4
Stop Denying Your IBD

Doctor talking to patient
Shannon Fagan/Taxi/Getty Images

You don't have to like your IBD, or all that it brings, and you shouldn't stop looking for better treatments. You also shouldn't accept being sick with flare-ups all the time, or accept being treated as a second-class citizen when it comes to your medical care. You deserve proper medical care, and you deserve to achieve remission. However, stop denying that you have IBD. Your IBD brings some realities with it, and while they are not pleasant, it's better to acknowledge this part of your life, and work towards bringing yourself to overall better health.

5
Manage Your Stress

Woman getting a massage
People Images/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Stress didn't cause your IBD, but it sure doesn't help you feel better, either. Everyone has stress in their lives — and stress can be both from good and bad events, though we tend to think of it being more closely associated with the bad. The trick is to find an outlet to release your stress. It doesn't matter so much what you do to tame the stress monster, just that it is effective. There are as many ways to manage stress as there are types of stress, so take your pick of relaxing activities, such as meditation, yoga, exercise, or time with friends and family, and resolve to make it a priority.