Chronic illness often seems to go hand in hand with negative self-talk. I struggle with the same inner dialogue during a flare up that goes a little something like this:
“I have SO much to do and all I am doing is watching Netflix.”
“It’s 10:00am…I should be at Crossfit right now, but instead all I’m doing is laying down.”
“Everyone else is being so productive out there in the real world and I’m stuck here.”
“I can’t believe I slept until 9:00am — I am wasting the day away.”
This is so destructive! We need to combat these negative thoughts and self-talk as soon as they pop into our mind. Forgive yourself and give yourself permission to rest. Tell yourself, “ I am not lazy – I have an autoimmune disease and I am doing exactly what I need to be doing at this very moment to make myself better and allow my body to heal.” Say it multiple times a day if you have to. Negative self-talk does nothing but inhibit the healing process and continue putting added stress on the body.
“I am not lazy – I have an autoimmune disease and I am doing exactly what I need to be doing at this very moment to make myself better and allow my body to heal.”
Two important reasons why you are NOT lazy:
Rest is one of the best things you can do for your body during a flare up. The cells in your gut are inflamed, causing diarrhea, pain, and blood. So, no, you are not crazy to think you are always tired – your immune system is working overtime fighting itself and needs the body to rest so that it can recover.
I have always been told I sleep too much. The fact of the matter is that my body just needs more hours of sleep to function properly than the average person. Sleep can actually be quite elusive during a flare up when your gut keeps you up all night. However, sleep is essential to repairing the body and is actually when the body does the most healing. Try to get at least 8 hours each night. If you are able to, try sleeping until your body wakes you up. I try to do this a few days a week to make sure I get all that my body needs to heal.
According to a study by the Expert Review of Clinical Immunology, sleep can negatively affect the gastrointestinal system, as well as alter the progress of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases like Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis.
Overall, rest and sleep are essential to recovering from an IBD flare up and preventing future flare ups. You are not lazy- you are doing the best thing you can possibly do for your body by taking time to rest.