I absolutely love the holidays! It is my favorite time of year. With that said, I can get really overwhelmed ahead of time. There is no doubt my gut feels the stress while I am frantically shopping for gifts, mailing out holiday cards, trying to maintain a healthy diet and exercise schedule, and anticipating the inevitable family drama.
The last thing you want is a Crohn’s Disease flare-up to kick off the new year. Here are six tips to help you stay flare-free this holiday season.
Take care of your mental health before anything else.
It’s no secret that stress and anxiety have an effect on Crohn’s Disease. Take a break from all the craziness to do something relaxing.This could mean taking time to meditate, taking a break from holiday shopping to get a massage, or staying home on a Friday night to watch a holiday movie. Also, make sure you write down a to-do list so you can get holiday chores off your mind and onto paper. Remember, nothing is worth extreme stress. Find time to put things into perspective if you are getting overwhelmed.
Avoid trigger foods and maintain a healthy diet.
Holiday food is so enticing with all the meat, gravy, pasta, eggnog, and desserts. If you have Crohn’s Disease, however, it only takes one time to indulge in a trigger food for you to never make the mistake again. If fried foods or dairy hurt you, avoid those dishes. Stick with what you know you can eat. If you’re going to a family or friend’s house for a holiday meal, bring a dish you know you can eat. You’ll be helping yourself and impressing the host.
Maintain your exercise routine.
If you run, lift, or maybe practice yoga everyday, it is so important to keep that routine through the holidays. This can be hard to do since your sleeping and eating schedule will be off. A fun way to hold yourself accountable is to plan your workout with a friend or family member. It’s a fun way to catch up with them, too. You’ll be doing your body and mind a huge favor.
Don’t overexert yourself.
You’re probably already more tired than everyone else because of the medicines you’re on. Be sure to give yourself lots of breaks, take naps, and get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Your intestines are already going to be on hyper-drive, so make sure your family and friends know when you are feeling tired. Don’t be ashamed. You have an autoimmune disease and need rest.
Drink more water and less alcohol.
If you are the lucky Crohnie who can drink alcohol, don’t overindulge. We all know how that ends! Be sure to drink plenty of water, too. It’s easy to forget when we’re busy and distracted, so keep a water bottle with you at all times.
Take your medicines on time.
You’re going to be waking up and going to bed at odd times over the holidays. Be sure you are planning your medicine accordingly. If you get infusions, take that into consideration before you book flights. If you use peppermint pills or other supplements to soothe an upset tummy, make sure to pack them with you on your travels.