We all have bad days. Some days are worse than others. You either know when the bad day is coming or it just sneaks up on you. Whether you’re stuck in the bathroom for most of the day, canceling plans you were really looking forward to, or spending a day with Netflix when it’s absolutely beautiful outside, our bad days tend to get the best of us. And sometimes it can feel like there’s no end in sight. The bad days latch on to us, making us wish we were different; better, happier, full of energy. And I’ve definitely had my days where I feel sorry for myself.

But we can’t always let our bad days consume us. And I’ve struggled with  bringing positivity back into my life. I mean how do you chin up when it’s so much easier to just rest your head? I’m no expert, but I have some personal habits, or what I like to call my “go getters,” to help bust me out of a bad day, or week, rut.
When I’m having a shitty day or a shitty week (haha see what I did there?), I use one of my go getters to take on the day, or the evening that I just canceled. And sometimes it takes a lot, and I mean A LOT, of forcing myself to get up and do things. So here’s what I do:
Talk/vent to someone who gets it.
This means a fellow IBD-er. Your parents, siblings, friends, and family may not always “get it.” I’m not saying don’t talk to them, because they can totally sympathize with you. But they may not be always able to empathize with you. Not to divulge into a vocabulary lesson, but sometimes they just don’t get it. And maybe on your bad day you don’t want the sympathy. You would rather just vent. And your fellow gals get it. Now, chances are if you’re reading this blog, you’re already connected to some awesome women know about IBD and dealing. And if you aren’t, reach out or expand your IBD network. They are some truly great people out there who are willing to listen. I met a fellow GWG over coffee and we talked about everything and yes, of course, we bitched about IBD. It was beyond uplifting. I felt awesome after our four hour conversation. We chat pretty frequently now and I cannot tell you the difference it makes to have someone that you know you can go to who isn’t tired of hearing about your symptoms, or your bad day, but they listen because they’ve been there too.
Rock out.
I’m a music junkie. All genres and all different kinds of artists. I definitely don’t discriminate when it comes to tunes. If it’s a banger I have to listen to it. I’m always asking for music recommendations and buying CDs. It’s like so early 2000s – retro, vintage, rad! Anyway, when I’m having a date with my apartment because I’m having a bad day, listening to music is a great way for me to escape. I’ll put on a playlist or pull out one of my favorite CDs (currently the new The 1975 album) and sing along loudly and off-key. I’m sure I annoy my neighbors, but I don’t care. Listening to music is distracting and emotional, and oddly freeing. You can get completely lost in an album. Dance around if you can muster it! Pull out those moves you’ve been dying to try or just do the Twist. And remember, there is nothing wrong with listening to that Justin Bieber track on repeat for a solid hour. I actually highly encourage it.
Take a bath.
Yeah, even if it’s the middle of summer. Sometimes having that warm water on your belly and feeling a little bit weightless can make a world of difference. I’m a big fan of Epsom salts, lavender oil, and bubbles to boot. Or use one of those insane Lush bath bombs? I don’t know. I’m not THAT fancy. When I feel super fancy, I might even light a candle or two (I live on the edge).  Maybe you like your bath without any of the frills, maybe you like sitting in the dark while you soak, or maybe you’re above baths and jump in a hot tub instead. It all works. I usually have some music going (combining some efforts here) and I just try to get myself to relax. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but either way you’ll at least leave the bath smelling great.
Drink some tea.
Now this is coming from a coffee addict. I am usually repulsed by tea. Seriously. I think it’s vile stuff. Now if tea is your thing, I’m not judging…., but that’s great. I usually go with a ginger tea to help calm down my unruly belly. It’s not my favorite but there is something super soothing about curling up in bed or my favorite chair with a book or a magazine and some ginger tea. Also, tea just warrants reading of some sort, doesn’t it? Tea is sophisticated. So grab a book or your favorite magazine, find your comfy place with a table nearby (for the tea!), and get lost in the world of today’s pop stars or some magical land.
Yeah I know, it’s the new craze. I’m a sucker for all things pop culture. But seriously, do it. I have two coloring books as of right now. One with cats, because I’m slowly turning into an insane cat person, and one with mandalas. But there are coloring books for EVERYTHING. And you don’t have to get these 12-dollar “adult coloring books.” If you want to get a Dora the Explorer coloring book for ages 2 -4, you do it! You go, Glen Coco! There is absolutely, positively, not a thing wrong with that.  I am such a perfectionist that sometimes coloring a single page takes a couple of hours. But hey, in that couple of hours I’m not thinking about the shitty day.  I’m focused on making every line and color look amazing so I can claim I have some kind of art skills. Because I don’t.
Treat yo self.
I warned you before, Parks and Rec is just my favorite. Whatever you see as treating yourself, I fully support it. Sometimes for me it’s binge watching Spongebob Squarepants. Or sometimes it’s buying a new pair of sunglasses, because I want to be conscious of the sun and those UV rays, but also look fabulous. Or I’ll treat myself to two grilled cheese sandwiches with Kraft American Singles on white bread. And I eat these without guilt. Sometimes it’s allowing myself to fart and fart loudly and proudly. It just got real. But whatever it is, I’m owning it. There is nothing wrong with being selfish on a bad day.
In the end, it all actually matters.
Overall, the important thing to realize is that this is about YOU and what YOU can do to make yourself feel better, even when you’re feeling your worst. And be okay knowing that it will change based on how you’re feeling.
Maybe you’re having a bad day, but you’ve got enough strength and energy to take a walk. Or maybe you can’t get out of bed, so you decide to watch every episode of Making a Murderer and start pursuing your law degree online. Whatever it is, and even if you have to force yourself, find your own go getters. It can be as simple as finding a reason to smile.
And if you’re a beautiful, brilliant musk-ox, you have every reason to (yes, this applies to everyone who just read this).
What Goes In Must Come Out Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month

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  1. Anna Antoniou says:

    This made me smile after having my half hour of intense crying like a baby session in the loo before bed. And, yes, these are exactly my getters, though I need patience as I had to stop working and had my first surgery. Ahhhh menstrual hormones and Crohn’s make for a funny sight indeed! Thank you.

  2. Janice says:

    I love all of your advice. I live in the Chicago suburbs and would love to find someone local to talk to. I completely agree with what you said about the difference between support and empathy. Do you know a good way to find someone local to meet up with? Any suggestions? I have UC and now have a j-pouch, but still struggle a lot.

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