Last week, after finishing my IBD healing morning start for the umpteenth time, I had a realization of just how powerful these 5 gut healing steps have been in my life.
And once that hit me, the power of setting yourself up for the day (mind, body, and soul), I realized I had to share my powerful morning start with you.
I hope this behind-the-scenes look at what I do to engage IBD healing and keep it going all day long sparks an “a-ha” or a “hmm…” moment for you to create your own IBD healing rituals, no matter what time of day you do them.
We’re talking about:
And so much more!
After the episode, you’ll be ready to put your very own IBD healing morning start into practice in the way that best fits your symptoms and your lifestyle.
Episode at a Glance:
Mentioned in This Episode:
Additional Resources from the Episode:
INTRO: You are listening to The Cheeky Podcast for Moms with IBD, a safe space for moms with Crohn’s and colitis, connect, explore powerful tools for healing and transform our lives to thrive in motherhood and in life. I’m your host, Karyn Haley, IBD health coach, integrative wellness enthusiast, and mom to three outstanding kids. After having Crohn’s disease for 30 years and working as a health advocate exclusively with IBD clients for the last 10 years, I know it’s time to bring the types of candid conversations I have with my clients out into the open. It’s our time to go on an IBD healing journey and do it like only a mom can. Let’s do this.[music]
[00:50] Hello dear one and welcome to the podcast. How’s your day going? I want to take just a moment to send out some healing energy your way, especially if you’re struggling today. I feel you mama. I’ve had those lots of those days myself. I have to say though, for me, today is going pretty well, considering a lot of chaos that’s out of my control going on around me and I know that’s because I started my day in the best possible way for my IBD. I started today with my 5 step IBD Healing Morning Start. I’ve been starting my day this way for a while now, not really absorbing just how important it was for my health, and one day last week it hit me just how crucial my morning start was and when I realized that, I knew I had to share it with you. If the behind-the-scenes of how I start my day with my IBD in mind can help you move the needle in a positive direction, even just a little, I knew I had to share.
So today, like I said, I’m sharing the behind-the-scenes of what my typical morning looks like, my 5 step IBD Healing Morning Process, but I have to start by saying that sharing my 5 steps is not about you copying the way I do it. It’s about sparking a-ha’s and hmm’s for you so that you can create your own IBD healing rituals.
And my rituals take place first thing in the morning. I’m at a place in my mom life where that works best for me. My youngest is 10 and I’ve got two late in teenage years adults still living at home who love to stay up past midnight every night. My nighttime of putting the kids to bed early and enjoying some quiet time with myself or my hubby are definitely a thing of the past. These days, if I want quiet ME time, it’s got to be when the kids are still asleep in the morning.
When you’re listening to my 5 Step IBD Healing Morning Start, instead of thinking “I can’t” or tuning it out because this time of day doesn’t work for you, I challenge you instead to think about, where could I fit that in for me?
WHERE CAN I PRIORITIZE ME TO HELP MY IBD?
If you have nappers, could you commit to this during naptime, or maybe schedule it with your partner when you’re both at home with the kids? If you’re kiddos are older than nap age, but still go to bed relatively early, could you squeeze it in after their bedtime? And if you have kids my age, trust me, they are fine on their own for a bit. I promise, they won’t burn down the house—most likely. And if you’re like lots of mamas and you feel like your whole day is a zoo and 1 hour all 5 steps takes isn’t possible—what about some 20 minute chunks of time where you break up the 5 steps?
Bottom line, let my behind-the-scenes be the catalyst for you to create your own IBD healing rituals that you can do daily. And if you can’t do all 5, which 1 or 2 can you do?
THIS ISN’T AN ALL OR NONE APPROACH, IT’S ABOUT FIGURING OUT WHAT WORKS FOR YOU.
You do you mama! But I’m not buying, I don’t have any time. Like a wise professor told me once when I told her I don’t have time… she said we all have time and we make the choice what we do with it. Right now, healing your IBD needs to be right up there with your top priorities like keeping your kids alive. If you stick with this, it’s not your forever, it’s your now. And when you feel better, you’ll pour all that love back into time with the ones you love.
You deserve this time mama. You deserve health mama. Make this your priority and you will reap the rewards with IBD health.
And at the end, we’ll recap the steps and I’ll show you how to make each of these steps your own when you Do it Like a Mom.
[06:10] It’s time to dive into my 5-step morning start. For this part, I’m going to give it to your straight. How the 5 steps work for me. And at the end, we’ll recap the steps and I’ll show you how to make each of these steps your own when you Do it Like a Mom.
STEP #1: WAKE UP EARLY AND GET SET UP FOR AN IBD HEALING MORNING
This is the most important step even though there’s not much in terms of helping your IBD because if you wake up late and get a late start, whatever time late means for you—for some mamas 5:30am is a late start, for others 9am is. So, whatever early is for you, try for that if you’re planning on doing all 5 steps IBD Healing Morning Start. The whole healing journey takes about 1 hour. To make sure I get up on time, I try (notice the word try there cause I’m far from perfect) to get a good night’s sleep. For me, that’s 8-9 hours. Ever since I was diagnosed with Crohn’s, (and that was over 30 years ago) I’ve noticed that I need more sleep than some people. I just know that my body needs it. My hubby seems to thrive on 6 hours. Everyone is different.
So, once I walk up early, I immediately turn on my far infrared lamp. What’s a far infrared lamp and how does it help IBD? That’s a whole other conversation and one we had back in the last episode of The Cheeky Podcast. Episode #26: Far Infrared Light Therapy: A Hidden Gem for IBD. If you didn’t listen to that episode yet, it’s OK, you can go back and take a listen after this one. I go into everything you need to know about infrared light therapy and how it can help if you have Crohn’s or colitis.
In the meantime, just know that for IBDer’s, far infrared light therapy in the cliff notes version (if cliff notes are still a thing) is all about detoxifying your body, decreasing inflammation, increasing your immune function, and balancing your gut flora. Really important stuff for us IBD moms.
So, I turn on my far infrared heat lamp first thing because it takes 10-15 minutes to heat up so I want to get it started right away. And if I’m being complete in my behind the scenes take, next up is a quick trip to the bathroom for a #1. Normally, I wouldn’t classify that to just anyone, but in IBD land, the difference between #1 and #2 land is a big deal. We’re always keeping track aren’t we?
[10:15] I grab a cup of herbal tea that’s already brewed, waiting for me, from a little nook in by bedroom. Weird that I brew tea in my bedroom, I know. Well, it’s the perfect place that’s close by to pick up my tea before heading back into bed. Tea is a huge part of my healing regime. Herbal tea boasts gut healing benefits ranging from decreasing inflammation, to helping with bloating, gas, nausea, aiding in digestion, energy, immune function, depending on the type of herbal tea, it can provide us with antioxidants and nutrients like vitamin C and iron… and so many more crazy cool benefits. And my herbal tea is waiting for me to wake up because in my bedroom is one of my absolute favorite things in the whole world. An automatic, programable tea brewer.
Trust me, I know it’s the absolute definition of a true want and not a necessity, and I thank my lucky stars every time I sip tea made from it. One of the only perks of having IBD (and we deserve some perks with all we go through) is truly appreciating everything we put in our body that supports health and healing. Most people mindlessly eat without thinking about what it’s doing to their body. We, on the other hand eat and drink with intention because we know just how powerful it can be on our healing journey.
And getting that tea brewer, if I’m being really honest with you, had a lot to do with feeling jealous of coffee drinkers who could set their coffee maker at night and have perfectly brewed hot coffee waiting for them in them in the morning. So, I searched far and wide, for years really, for a tea maker that did the same thing. Finally, last year I found it. An automatic, ready for you in the morning, tea brewer by Breville and I asked my family to get it for me for Mother’s Day. Next to my Vitamix, my fantastic high-speed blender that I’ve had for 10 years, it’s probably my most favorite small kitchen appliance. I’ll link to my tea brewer in the show notes in case you’re a tea fanatic like me and want to indulge in this fancy newfangled contraption. Mother’s Day is coming up again you know.
So, I quickly grab my cup of herbal tea and settle back in bed where my infrared red heat lamp is heating up and sip my tea while I read the morning news on my phone. Gasp, phone by my bed? Yep, guilty. Well, actually, I don’t feel so guilty. Right now, I’m kind of feeling unapologetic about my phone being next to me while I sleep. Maybe I’ll feel differently a month from now, but today I like it there. It’s on do not disturb all night, I turn the wi-fi off at night so I’m not using it, but I like my morning news emails when I wake up. Katie Couric and The Skimm. Two quick email recaps of the what’s going on in the news with a little light and fluffy thrown in. Perfect to get my morning news fix.
Now, I have to give you a word of caution here, and this is definitely from personal experience. Try your hardest not to get sucked into your other emails. That’s a rabbit hole that will suck you in and never let you out. It’s into the news update emails and right back out again for me. Just some friendly advice from an ex-email addict. News fix done and my infrared heat lamp is ready to go. So how it always takes me exactly the right amount of time to finish with the news for my news fix lamp to be ready for me.
IT’S TIME FOR STEP #2 AND STEP #3[15:06] Great, now it’s time for Step #2, where the real IBD healing power begins—mind, body, and soul. Step 2 begins with the infrared heat lamp that’s now all warm and ready for some gut love. I focus the heat lamp 12 inches above my belly, make sure the timer is set for thirty minutes. With step 2 happening in the background, I can quickly move on the step #3. And step #3 begins with either Option A: My Long Visualization Plan, or Option B: My Short Visualization Plan.
Neither plan is better than the other, they’re just slightly different, depending on my mood and what I want to accomplish with my IBD healing start that day. Both plans do involve some sort of visualization. If this word is new to you, you can think of it like a meditation, but this meditation is specifically designed for moms with IBD who want all the gut healing benefits meditation can bring without the fear or annoyance some moms get from the complete stillness of meditation. I see it like this: meditation is about quieting the mind. Visualization is about focusing your mind on healing.
In option A: my long visualization, I spend about 20-25 minutes in a guided visualization through a free app called Insight Timer. Have you ever used this app? It’s truly incredible- just in the sheer volume of visualization/meditation options available. There’s visualizations based on time from 5 min to 60 minutes and longer. There’s visualizations based on the benefit you are looking for like pain management, healing, relaxation, anxiety, sleep and motherhood. There’s filters by type of practice like guided imagery, mindfulness, or grounding.
There’s even a parent section you can use with your kids. Visualizations for relaxation and sleep, all packaged in a perfect kid sized box. My 10-year-old loves Insight Timer!
I’m not even scratching the surface here of all that Insight Timer offers. And did I mention it’s free? You just have to check it out. I’ll leave the link to Insight Timer in the show notes.
For my option A long form visualization, I pick a 20-25 minute session from my book marked visualization list based on my gut healing needs of the day. There’s several Insight Timer contributors to Insight Timer you might want to check out are Sarah Blondin and Davidji, but my favorites are the gut directed contributors like Michelle White and Ruthie Hanan. Ruthie even has visualization sessions specific for all of us with Crohn’s and colitis. How cool is that?
This 20-25 minutes of focused energy on the health of my gut, my entire body, and my mind are more powerful than anything else I do for my gut health through the day. These moments set me up with the right mindset to move through my day with confidence and clarity. Visualizations like the ones in Insight Timer have lots of relaxing breathing built in. And studies show this specific type of meditation has great benefit for IBD sufferers. One study I’ll link to in the show notes showed outcomes of those with IBD who had a mindfulness practice had lower CRP or C-reactive protein and lower calprotectin levels—both measures of inflammation and active disease in those with Crohn’s and colitis.
Super powerful stuff.
TIME FOR THE KEGELS!!!
With my infrared lamp still gently warming and soothing my abdomen, and my visualization complete, I spend my last 5-10 minutes with a round of kegel exercises—we can’t neglect our kegel muscles mama! It might just come back to haunt us in our old age. I remember my mom needing surgery on her pelvic floor later in life after, well let’s just say things were hanging out where they shouldn’t be, and since I know this can genetic, I’m not taking any chances. The more babies you have vaginally, the more you need those kegels my friend.
Kegel exercises complete, it’s time for a prayer of hope for my family, my loved ones, our Gut Love Community moms, our world and for all I want to conquer for that day. Your prayer or offering to the world can take whatever form prayer takes for you.
And that’s option A: the long visualization plan.
SOMETIMES OPTION B IS JUST AS GOOD AS OPTION A
On an option B day, my short visualization plan, it starts very similar to option A, but I choose a much shorter visualization on Insight Timer—5-10 minutes. I follow that with 20 minutes of my morning pages. This is a free form of journaling that just helps me feel centered, grounded, ready to give my all to the day ahead.
Have you ever tried journaling before? People either love it or hate it. Before I started this practice I used to think I would hate it. But now that I’ve made it a priority, I really have taken to my morning pages. Morning pages, for me, might be a brain dump of whatever is in my head that morning, it might be a brainstorm of ideas for the podcast, it might be a rant about one of my teenagers… right now, it’s been about my mom who passed away a couple months ago. I’m writing down lots of stories about her life. Stories I want to remember from her final days, stories I want the kids to know about her after I’m long gone. It’s been really cathartic.
I like to journal in the morning, but I find that lots of my clients like to do this at night. They might have trouble sleeping and free flow journaling helps them get everything out, and literally then set aside their worries for the night so they can sleep. You pick the way that works for you. Try it, even if you go into it like me thinking you’re going to hate it. I bet you’ll like it more that you think.
Option B ends just like option A with some kegels and a prayer of hope.
Mind, body, spirit energized and ready to start the day. Almost.
With the relaxing, introspective part of my day behind me and my morning herbal tea drank, it’s time to get the energy and juices flowing.
[24:24] STEP #4: 15 MINUTES OF MOVEMENT
What type of movement speaks to you? Is it CrossFit and kettlebells, jazzercise, or is it yoga, Pilates, or walking in nature? Whatever type of movement calls to you, do it, especially while you’re in IBD healing mode. And while you’re healing and not feeling well, it might be just going outside and breathing the fresh air. I have a client who does this. Right now for her, movement is just getting outside and getting sunshine on her face. Thankfully she lives in the part of the country where it’s sunny most of the year and walking in the sun, feeling it on her face, is reenergizing and it sets her up for a positive day. I have another client who’s a weightlifter and if she doesn’t get her reps in in the morning, she just doesn’t feel ready to start the day.
When it comes to IBD we’re all different. Find the movement routine that works for you.
For me, right now, my movement routine is a combination of yoga and light aerobics with weights. Several months ago it was Pilates. It’s also been barre class, before that just getting outside and walking my dog. Some days I don’t want to do it at all, but 6 days a week I commit. Even when I don’t want to because I know in the end, I’ll be happy that I did. And more importantly, I’ll have a better IBD day when I get my bodily energy flowing.
COMMIT TO 15 MINUTES EVERY DAY
Some days I even have more time and I’ll get in a longer workout, but I always commit to a minimum of 15 minutes.
And let me also give you a couple recommendations when it comes to movement. #1- when it comes to yoga at home, there’s no better yoga instructor than Leslie Fightmaster. Her free YouTube videos are stellar and for every level of yogi. I am not skilled at yogi by any means and I love her 30 day beginners yoga sessions. She’s got 2 complete 30-day programs for beginners that take you from never doing yoga to feeling like you could hold your own in an in person class. Sadly, Leslie recently passed away. I’ve been told that her family plans to keep her yoga videos up on YouTube so please check her out. She’s awesome!
SHOUT OUT TO MY FAVORITE FITNESS APP
Also, I want to give a shout out to my fitness app called Workout for Women. Best $9.99 I spend every month. 100’s of workouts to choose from. So many, I’d never complete them all. From catchy workout titles like Lazy Girl, Couch to Fit, Pelvic Rehab, Office Collection, Night Stretch, Ab Shred, Summer Butt, and even F is for Family workouts like HITT with Kids and Fam Jam, this app is well worth the price.
[28:40] Around this time of the morning, my youngest usually wakes up and strolls into my bedroom and I usually can get him to join me for a workout. Remember, we have to figure out how to fit this into our family’s life. We have to prioritize ourself and our health while we are in healing mode and make time for IBD Healing, but we also have to work within the parameters and constraints of our life.
I often got the kids to workout or do meditation with me when they were younger. I opened their world up to meditation and visualization so it would benefit them and so that they would understood when I needed 10 minutes to give that time to my mindful practice. And if you can get them involved too, even better.
Even teatime has rubbed off on my kids. Every Saturday morning, I brew an extra big pot of my bedroom tea and a couple of my kids will wander in an grab a cup. On days like this, I might skip my morning start in favor of a cup of tea and some connection with them. This IBD morning start isn’t about being militant with your time. It’s about setting you up for IBD success in whatever way works best for you. That tea and chatting time with my kids, especially with my usually not so chatty teenagers, it’s precious time and it’s good for my IBD too.
THE LAST STEP, STEP #5
OK, we’re in the how stretch of my IBD morning start. Step #5. The last step. And that step is heading into the kitchen and making my morning detox drink. After all that I’ve done to support my body, getting enough sleep, my far infrared lamp, my morning visualization, morning pages, my kegels, my prayer time, my movement time… it’s time to get my digestive juices flowing and detoxing any toxins that have built up during the night. My detox drink is full of immune boosting, inflammation busting nutrients. And it’s just what my body needs to get ready for breakfast.
My morning detox drink starts with room temp or warm purified water, and adds in gut loving fresh squeezed lemon, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, black pepper, manuka honey, and MCT oil. Now when I was just starting out with this morning detox drink, I didn’t include all of these ingredients. I started out slow with just water and worked my way up adding in one more ingredient at a time. Even water, first thing in the morning, before you eat breakfast, as simple as that sounds, is incredibly helpful for your digestion. If you are able to tolerate water, it’s time to add the fresh squeezed lemon, then the manuka honey, and so on. The last thing to add is the apple cider vinegar. I don’t recommend it to those in an active flare or those with ulcers in their mouth. It’s just too acidic. Add it when you’re ready no rush.
WANT THE FULL RECIPE FOR MY MORNING DETOX DRINK?
If you want the full recipe for my morning detox, you can get it by going to karynhaley.com/detox or by looking for the link in the show notes. I’m happy to share my recipe with you. In fact, there’s a recipe for normal healthy mornings and a different recipe if you’re feeling like a bug is coming on. Both morning detoxes will give your whole body support as you start the day.
So there you have it, 5 steps to build your own IBD gut healing morning start. It can set you up for a day that supports healing, strength, and confidence that you are on the right path.
Let’s quickly recap while I tell you how you can do it like a mom when it comes to these 5 steps. Hopefully, this will give you some last thoughts on how you can adapt any of these techniques to fit your lifestyle and your symptoms.
HOW ARE YOU GOING TO DO THIS LIKE THE BADASS MOM YOU ARE?
[34:28] Step #1- Wake up, turn on my infrared heat lamp, and grab a cup of herbal tea.
Ready to do step 1 like a mom?
Step #2- Position the heat lamp, relax and let the infrared healing wash over you.
Ready to do step 2 like a mom?
Step #3– Doing some form of visualization, deep breathing, morning pages, kegels, and positive thoughts or prayer
Ready to do step 3 like a mom?
Step #4- Movement
Ready to do step 4 like a mom?
And lastly step #5- Your morning detox drink
Ready to that like a mom?
PUT YOURSELF FIRST AND COMMIT TO GETTING STARTED
Well, where are you going to start mama? The infrared heat lamp? Are you going to download Insight Timer? What will you do today to set yourself up for IBD healing success?
I understand how difficult it can be to put yourself first when you’re a mom. We never allow ourselves to do that. We’re taught that it’s selfish. We feel guilty when we do it.
As a recovering guilt addict, I gotta call nonsense on that!
Twelve years ago, when I first started to take control and take the reins on my IBD healing journey, I made a conscious choice to put myself first. I declared it the healing year of ME. I really did. Of course, it didn’t mean that I neglected my kids, but I put everyone on notice, I’m going to do what I need to heal so I can be a better mom, wife, friend, daughter, sister, aunt, worker, teacher…
I fully committed to ME.
Commit to yourself now my friend. Find a morning or an afternoon or an evening routine that sets you up for success. 100% swipe my IBD Healing Morning Start and use it to your fullest advantage.
You’ve got this mama. Let me know how it goes for you.
Until we chat again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy IBD healing journey.
Thank you so much for joining me today and for listening to today’s episode. When it comes to IBD, I know there’s a lot of resources out there, and I’m truly honored that you chose the Cheeky Podcast to get your IBD information today. If you found this information helpful, please give us a rating and review. It helps other moms find the podcast and see what we’re doing over here to help IBD moms everywhere. And if you feel called feel a call to do it, share this podcast with an IBD mom who you know could really use an uplifting message today, ’cause that’s what we’re all about over here at the Cheeky Podcast.
[43:20] One last thing, if you’re still with me, and if you are, you’re definitely my kind of gal. We have to get to know each other better. If you’re tired of living on the hamster wheel of IBD with all the ups and downs between flares and remission, if you’re struggling to get control of your abdominal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea and other troubling IBD symptoms, go to my website. It’s karynhaley.com, and my mom had to be just a little bit different, she spelled my name with the Y. So it’s K-A-R-Y-N H-A-L-E-Y.com and schedule your very own free 30-minute IBD root cause trouble-shooting session with me where we discuss the challenges you’ve been having, we set goals to help you move forward, and we talk about how we can work together to help you get your life back. It’s a power packed 30 minutes. You don’t have to live in IBD status quo. There’s so much that can be done to transform your life so you can thrive in motherhood and thrive with IBD. I’ve seen my clients walk this path and it gives me so much joy to take that journey with them.
My entire coaching practice is run online, so you never have to leave your house and you never have to get out of your jammy or yoga pants for us to work together. You know I’m wearing them to. If you’re ready to take your first amazing step towards healing, I’m ready to chat with you. Schedule your free 30-minute IBD root cause trouble shooting sesh today at karynhaley.com. Click on the work with me tab and I’ll see you soon. It’s important to note that the information in this podcast and in this episode is for general information purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The statements made in the Cheeky Podcast for moms with IBD, either by me or my guests, is not intended to diagnose, treat, to cure, or prevent any disease. Before implementing any new treatment protocols, do yourself a favor and consult your physician first.
Thank you so much for listening, for being here, for saving this space for us to spend some time together. Until we chat again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy IBD journey.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This podcast, video, and blog post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.