Ways to Cope

Practical tips

Here are some tips for everyday life that may help you maintain your mental health and wellbeing: 

  • ​Taking care of your body through healthy meals, regular exercise, and plenty of sleep
  • Establish a daily routine 

  • Connecting with others such as family and friends

  • Helping others if you can

  • Taking breaks and doing activities you usually enjoy

  • Get outside every day

  • Avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs

  • Try volunteering for a cause important to you if you can

  • Practicing mindfulness, relaxation strategies or another form of therapy

  • Getting professional help if needed. Mental health professionals include counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrics, and nurse practitioners. Talk to your health care provider about how to get a referral to a mental health specialist in your community. Some of these specialists may be able to provide virtual therapy using tele-health or video conferencing. 

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Be prepared

A little preparation can really help alleviate anxiety before going out in public. Here are some tips to help you cope with IBD:

  • Before leaving the house, have a plan for episodes of gas, diarrhea and pain. Your doctor may be able to suggest some strategies

  • Learn your trigger foods so you know what to avoid

  • Know where the restrooms are located in shopping malls, restaurants, and public transportation.

  • Always carry extra clothing and toilet paper in case of an emergency.

  • Plan travel itineraries in advance so you are prepared for the journey.

  • Pack an “emergency travel kit” with your own supply of toilet paper, tissues, wipes, ointments, a change of underwear and clothes, plastic bags for disposal, odour spray, and hand sanitizer to keep with you.

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Don't sweat the small stuff

Try to embrace your strength and focus on the things you can do, instead of focusing on your disease and the things you can’t do. Putting life’s issues into perspective is helpful in reducing stress.

Take some deep breaths and try not to let the small stuff get to you. Keeping a journal can help you focus on the good parts of your day and what went right.

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Problem solving techniques

A healthcare professional can teach specific problem solving techniques to help identify triggers and barriers to a high quality of life, and help you generate creative ways to deal with these barriers and make effective decisions. It’s also important to be accepting of problems that can’t be solved.

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Plan ahead

Planning how you will manage stress will help when a difficult situation arises. Know the importance of time management and organization. Be proactive and work around deadlines, exams, a new home move, and other life events. 

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Create a Wellness Plan

Here are some important things to keep in-mind when developing a plan to maintain your mental and physical health. 

  1. Things I need to do every day to maintain my wellness: What are the things that help you feel good that are important for you to remember to do every day?

  2. Things I should think about doing once in a while: What are the things that you don’t need to do every day, but you should remember to do more regularly?

  3. Things I should avoid doing: What are some things you tend to do to when experiencing difficult emotions that are not really that helpful?

  4. Knowing Early Warning Signs: What are some signs that you are experiencing elevated levels of distress and may need to pay more attention to your wellness

  5. Improving Distress Action Plan: What are some specific things I can do when I am feeling distressed? Is there a specific order in which I should do these things?

  6. Crisis Action Plan: What are some specific things I should do if I’m experiencing a mental health crisis?

To download and fill-out an action plan developed by Dr. Erin Johns a Clinical Health Psychologist from the University of Manitoba, please click here.

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Know your limit

Know how much (and what) you can eat, how much you can exercise, how much sleep you need - and how far can you stretch the limits. Learning what works for your body can minimize stress when your body hits fatigue.

Talk to a health professional: If you’re struggling with stress, anxiety, or depression, ask your doctor for a referral to a mental health professional who can teach you useful coping techniques.

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Learning more about your disease and how to positively re-evaluate stressful experience are also effective coping strategies.

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