Nothing beats an great weekend surrounded by your favourite people. My world revolves around my family and friends, and I am lucky enough to have many. So naturally, being surrounded by the people I love in a large social setting is kind of my jam. This summer, I was lucky enough to be part of not one but TWO weddings! The hair, the makeup, the dresses, the dancing, the food, the drinks, the laughter – what more could a social butterfly want in an event?
Unfortunately, the very things I love so much about a good party are the same things that can wreak havoc on my body. A weekend packed with eating, drinking and late nights can take out a completely healthy person, but for those of us who suffer from some health issues, it can potentially be disastrous. For me, I am at my best when I am eating a healthy balanced diet, keeping super hydrated with lots of water, exercising and getting lots of sleep. While there is no set list of “do’s and do not’s” for people with Crohn’s Disease, and no instruction manual for how to keep symptoms at bay, there is a little thing called common sense. I have learned, time and time again, that I need to listen to my body above all else – it will tell me what’s going on before it even happens.
And yet, here we are…
This summer’s celebrations were a whirl wind of fun, laughter and dancing. I’m afraid my incredible ability to ignore the signs has led to a bit of a crash and is putting a damper on my plans for fall. While I sit here plotting my recovery and return to the land of the living, I figured I could help someone else avoid this situation.
Learn from my mistakes, my friends. In the spirit of sharing from our experiences, here are a few tips I’ve picked up over the last few years…. and selectively followed myself!
- Sleeping Beauty had the right idea… for real. Proper rest is the difference between a great time and a full on melt down. I’m not saying you have to keep a curfew, I’m just saying plan accordingly. Get plenty of rest leading up to the big day to keep your tank full and make sure you leave time the day following to relax. It’s not being lazy, you NEED to recharge, don’t feel guilty. Give yourself time to recover so that you don’t spend the next week feeling like you can’t get caught up. Exhaustion opens the door to infection and flares, and we get hit by it much quicker – keep yourself from getting run down and catch a few winks.
- Be a picky eater… I am NOT saying avoid the appies going around, or stay away from the buffet table and I am the LAST person that will tell you not to take seconds. This is coming from the girl that ate like 6 tray buns on Saturday. What I am telling you is this is not the time to disregard your sensitivities or pretend you don’t know what that giant scoop of sour cream dip you are about to put on your plate is going to do. Take a bit, take your time, weigh out your options – is the bloat, discomfort, pain (and food baby that’s gonna make that dress or suit more uncomfortable than it already is) going to be worth it? For the record… 5 buns was, the 6th… maybe not.
- Raise ’em up… Confession time! I know I said there was no list, no book of rules, but that’s not entirely true. When it comes to standard Do Not’s, alcohol is at the top of the list. That said, I do still indulge, I’m an adult and I make my own choices. However, I am very well aware of my limits and certainly pay the price from time to time. If you are like me and enjoy some wine or a few pints now and then – a few more at a party, then you have to make a choice. Water is your friend, at least a glass of water for every adult beverage, and a few more every now and then. Try to stick to sipping drinks, avoid sugary or fizzy pop mixes, and try to pick one type and stick to it. And of course, the dreaded “shot” should be limited. Hang overs aside, a night of drinking can really set me up for days or even weeks of stomach upset and discomfort.
- Come prepared… At the end of the day, you know you are going to need a little bit of extra support. In my party clutch, you will find the basics of cash, ID, lipstick, gum, bobby pins and possibly a spare pair of shoes/flip flops. But, I also keep a few extra vitamins, especially Omega Fish Oil, chew-able pepto pills and a scoop of BCAA’s in a baggie. Just a few little things that can help me extend the night and time with my loved ones.
- Know when to throw in the towel… The biggest thing I have learned in the last few years is to not be afraid to be the first one to leave a party if I have to be. It pains me to do it every time, but when I ignore the urge to go home and crawl into bed, I pay the price. When you surround yourself with people that understand your condition, you never have to explain and it makes all the difference in the world. If you catch a bad time for heading home at 9pm then you need to find a better group of people to chill with. If you can make it until the wee hours, all the power to ya, that’s the goal, but if aren’t feeling like you can make it, do not fight it.
That’s it, that’s all, just a quick one… mostly common sense, all of it pretty basic. IBD or not, we could all stand to take better care of ourselves. Be it a night out or a full weekend of celebrating, take a moment to think about it, weigh out the consequences and then live and learn from your choice. Accept that from time to time you aren’t going to do the right thing, sometimes you are going to have one more whiskey pickle shot instead of a glass of water. Sometimes, you are going to eat the fries even though your dress is already so tight you can barely breath. Take your vitamins in the morning and start again.
Enjoy your week!