Explaining the Invisible Battle: How to Talk About IBD with Your Co-Workers, Friends, & Family

Living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) takes a physical and emotional toll.

It's a constant battle, and one of the most significant challenges is explaining to others what you're going through. Unless they’ve been there, they just don’t get what it’s like to be in your shoes.

And because it’s so hard to connect with others who have IBD (I mean, how many people do you personally know with the disease?), it leaves us out in the cold, grasping at straws, searching for miracles on the internet, and yearning for “the answer” to our problems. But the truth is, there is no one size fits all approach to healing Crohn’s or colitis and the biggest thing I’ve learned over my 35 year journey with IBD is that healing takes a village.

And your IBD healing village is a multi-pronged approach that keeps your IBD in long term remission.

Those who've found lasting success in managing their IBD are the ones who have developed this multi-faceted approach to healing. This approach enables you to delve deeper into the root causes of your individual disease to maintain longer, healthier periods throughout your life. In this article, I’ll be introducing you to the concept of your "Wheel of Wellness," your personalized IBD healing framework that provides multiple angles to tackle Crohn's and colitis effectively.

Why Healing IBD is Never About Just One Thing

The human body is incredibly intricate, and IBD is a complex condition where the healing modality that fits one patient is different from the healing modality that fits another. Relying solely on medication or a single method like a one-size-fits-all dietary change makes IBD healing out to be a problem with a simplistic solution when it’s really a multifaceted problem. 

It's like trying to build a house with just a hammer – you need an entire toolbox.

The beauty of a multi-faceted approach to healing IBD is that it addresses the condition from multiple angles. It acknowledges that IBD manifests differently in each person and recognizes that various factors contribute to its onset and persistence. By addressing these factors simultaneously, you have the power to create an empowered, badass mom, comprehensive action plan that’s always at your fingertips to help you achieve remission.

That’s where your Wheel of Wellness comes in.

Your multi-faceted, mom-centered approach to healing IBD is what I like to call your "Wheel of Wellness." Imagine it like a bicycle wheel with various spokes, each representing a different aspect of your healing process. These spokes encompass various elements, such as dietary choices, exercise, mental health, treatments, and lifestyle adjustments.

For instance, your Wheel of Wellness spokes might include:

  • Following a specific diet like the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD).
  • Regularly practicing yoga to reduce stress and promote physical well-being.
  • Attending therapy or counseling sessions to address the emotional toll of IBD.
  • Incorporating alternative treatments like infrared sauna sessions into your routine.
  • Taking prescribed medications like Stelara.
  • Prioritizing quality sleep with a consistent 9-hour nightly schedule.
  • Practicing breathing techniques twice a day to reduce stress.
  • Including a daily probiotic supplement in your regimen.

Wait a minute, I have to do all that to help my IBD?

The good news is that all of these example spokes may not be necessary for you. Everyone’s Wheel of Wellness will look different, and you only need on spoke to get started today

Starting small, adding one spoke at a time.

Don't feel overwhelmed when thinking about building your Wheel of Wellness. Rome wasn't built in a day, and your Wheel of Wellness doesn’t need to be constructed overnight. The key to long-term success is adding in one new spoke at a time.

Begin with a single element that resonates with you or aligns with your current needs. Once it becomes a habit, you can focus on introducing another spoke. Don't rush the process, and don't worry about creating the perfect Wheel of Wellness from the start. Your personalized approach will evolve over time, reflecting your ever-changing needs and lifestyle.

If you find yourself unsure about what to add to your Wheel of Wellness, consider my "5 Pillars of Gut Healing," which I refer to as my F.L.U.S.H. Formula Framework:

  1.  Food: Focus on dietary choices that support gut health and minimize inflammation.
  2.  Lifestyle: Incorporate practices that reduce stress, improve sleep, and enhance overall well-being.
  3. Unconventional Treatments: Explore alternative therapies like infrared sauna sessions or acupuncture.
  4. Supplements: Include supplements specific to your symptoms or probiotics that promote gut health.
  5. Higher Mindset: Cultivate an insightful mind/body connection and engage in relaxation techniques that speak to you.

Using these five pillars as a guide can help you brainstorm ideas for your own personal Wheel of Wellness. Remember, there's no rush, and there's no need to stress. Building your Wheel of Wellness is a gradual, ongoing process.

The role of motherhood in your healing journey

As a mom living with Crohn’s or colitis, it's vital to recognize that your journey may progress differently from others due to the demands of motherhood. Embrace the pace of the tortoise, slow and steady, as you work on developing your Wheel of Wellness.

It’s the tortoise who wins in the end.

Find creative ways to incorporate your kids into your wellness routine. Perhaps they can join you for meditation sessions or help you prepare nutritious meals together. Seek help and support from your spouse, parents, or friends to ensure you can maintain your Wheel of Wellness amidst the responsibilities of motherhood. Don't hesitate to ask for assistance when you need it, whether it's getting a babysitter for some much-needed self-care or delegating tasks to lighten your load.

It’s Time to Put This Baby Into Action.

If you're eager to begin crafting your personalized Wheel of Wellness to boost your chances of healing from IBD, you're in luck. Right now, you can grab my free resource, the "Guide to Your Personalized Wheel of Wellness." This comprehensive guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of creating your own Wheel of Wellness, tailored to your unique needs and preferences.

Grab Your Very Own Wheel of Wellness Builder Today!

Remember, your Wheel of Wellness is a powerful tool that will evolve with you over time. It's a reminder of the hard work you're putting into keeping your body at its peak. With your Wheel of Wellness, you're not just managing IBD; you're thriving with it.

Don't wait any longer – start your journey towards a multi-faceted approach to healing and embrace the vibrant, well-balanced life you deserve.

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