Daily Life | IBD
A “busy” lifestyle is different for everyone- for myself “busy” means doing everything I want to be doing: maintaining relationships, exercising, and completing my goals/tasks successfully. Managing a busy lifestyle is hard enough, and battling IBD/any chronic illness in addition can be extremely overwhelming. Lately my life has been very focused on my career which means I am working a lot, getting experience, and trying my best to learn from my co-workers. I have been a nurse working in day/24hr surgery straight out of nursing school for about 6 months, and my area covers a wide variety of specialties that I have had to learn about very quickly! It has not been easy, in fact I often feel that I am striving for more from myself regardless of how I am feeling and how much effort I am putting in: my stress often manifests by telling myself I need to do more/do better. Regardless, I love the work I am doing and becoming a nurse gave me a sense of belonging. Providing quality patient centered care is my true passion, and I am confident in my abilities!
Recently I have been doing better at coping with stress and maintaining a good work/life balance, but the daily anxieties of doing a good job and keeping up have been getting to me. I started to flare mildly with my Crohn’s Disease after being taken off meds temporarily for other health reasons, so I have to manage my symptoms daily which is stressful. It’s a vicious circle; for many with IBD stress increases symptoms, and when symptoms are present stress worsens trying to keep up with a desired lifestyle. It is SO important to find ways to deal with stress and be able to keep commitments while fighting an unpredictable disease. People who don’t have IBD often do not understand that we ARE able to hold down full time jobs and be successful with attendance/goals, but it takes a lot more effort to get out of bed at 4:45 am when you have been sick the day before or even during the night. Here are a couple of strategies I have used over the last six months to help myself balance my busy lifestyle with my commitments:
It is OKAY to cancel plans after a full day of work/school
2) Keeping a planner/log of activities and commitments
3) Eating a healthy diet/cooking my own meals
I feel like I could list a million different things that work/don’t work for me, but even if I did there’s no guarantee that they will have the same effect on you. Remember that your body will often tell you what it needs. Listen to those gut feelings.
I hope for my readers with IBD that you remain goal driven, excited, and CONFIDENT in your life/career path and that you understand it is okay to take your health first. A year ago I was not able to work, let alone do activities of daily living by myself as my disease had become so severe and my symptoms were constant. Pain is temporary, remission is possible, and the way you handle stress can have a very influential impact on your overall well-being.
I happily take questions and comments VIA email and social media, and love connecting with other individuals affected by IBD:
Rhea Jenelle Dufault, is 21 years old and a surgical nurse in Calgary, AB! She was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in November 2018 after 3 years of physical and emotional agony. Many doctors wouldn’t investigate as far as she needed them to, so finding the right specialist helped get a proper diagnosis. In her spare time she enjoys being active, travelling, cooking, reading, and so many more amazing things that life has to offer.