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Hobbies and Activities To Do At Home

We all know how awful a Crohn's or ulcerative colitis flare-up is. A flare leaves us stuck at home and in pain, among other things. Community advocates shared the hobbies and activities that they do at home when stuck inside or unable to do much.

What are your favorite hobbies or activities while at home or during a flare?

Find a meaningful activity

Matt: My favorite activities when at home during a flare are writing—poems, stories, novels, screenplays—and watching movies. I find getting entranced in another world can help me disassociate from my pain and take me into new realms. This can be a terrific escape. It can also help me process my own feelings and emerge from the flare recharged and ready to go.

I recommend you find an activity like the above—that is meaningful to you. This will serve you well with this condition. The reason is that, during a flare, you can focus on that activity, that form of behavior that is meaningful, and, in so doing, distract yourself from your problems. It is important to keep the focus external, as much as possible, as this is a great way to not let the disease get the best of you. It also takes you out of your head and makes the time when you are ill less stressful. Good luck!

Self-care and keep distracted

Amanda: When I’m at home in a flare, you’ll find me in the softest clothes I own, with a nightstand or an end table full of drinks (water, gatorade, tea, drip drop). Hobbies and activities during this time look like finding a good show to binge on Netflix, printed out pages to color (I have a love for using thin sharpies to color in intricate mandalas or my swear words coloring book).

When I have the energy, I’ll take a bath to soak. Sometimes I’ll read a book. Other times I’ll do some electronic organizing - of my inbox, my folders, my photos, saved documents, etc. Whatever I decide to keep occupy my brain and keep me distracted during a flare must follow suit with my self-care goals - gentle, patient, and without expectation.

Focus on rest and healing

Sahara: My focus during flares has always been just to rest and give my body time to heal, so activities are usually the same as the ones I do when taking time out when stressed (above). I spend more time online supporting others during my downtime, so I at least know that I have done something useful and worthwhile that day!

Activities for both mental and physical health

Julie: I thoroughly enjoy reading and writing. Getting lost in a good book is quite enjoyable, and I like journaling or writing down important thoughts and words of inspiration before going to bed at night. These are both great activities to participate in while suffering through a flare since they require very little physical activity, and can do wonders for the mind.

While not in a flare, my favorite hobbies are cooking and working out. As a Certified Health Coach, I have found that cooking healthy meals and working out not only helps me physically but also mentally and emotionally, as well. It is therapeutic for me to attend a barre class or make my favorite meal for dinner. I find that the physical benefits of these hobbies come secondary to the emotional benefits I receive through these activities.

Keep distracted and relax

Paul: This is a great question. When I have a flare, I try to keep my mind off of it. I usually will binge-watch a funny show or genre of movies. Laugher does take my mind off of a painful flare.

Another activity that I do during a flare is to sit in the bathroom. I know what your thinking... but no it really helps. It really relaxes my anal muscles, stomach muscles, and the rest of my body. It allows my body to calm down. I don't stay there long, as it can cause dehydration. Bring a book in with you and take your mind off of the flare. Twenty minutes does the trick. Give it a shot, you will thank me later!

Crocheting and staying creative

Jackie: Right around when I was diagnosed with UC, I taught myself to crochet. Now my go-to winter activity is crocheting because it helps to keep my hands and my mind busy. What I appreciate about it is that you don’t need to spend a ton of money to do it, there are always new techniques to learn and patterns to follow.

It’s an endless source of creativity and it’s something I can do while I watch TV or when I’m getting an infusion. I find that it’s really rewarding too because I make a lot of cool things and I always have great ideas for gifts! Crocheting makes me feel like I’m actually doing something when I’m not going out or not feeling well.

Relaxation and hot showers

Elizabeth: While at home during a flare, I tend to lounge in comfortable clothes and watch Netflix. That is the most comforting thing to do when I am not well. Again, napping is so helpful for me during a flare and I nap whenever I can. I like to create a spa-like environment at home when I am flaring.

I light candles and have essential oils diffusing to help ease the feeling of stress and pain. I also love hot afternoon showers. There is something about showering in the afternoon light that calms me. I play calming music and turn the water scorching hot because I am often anemic when I am flaring, therefore, I am typically always freezing. The warmth from the water is so soothing and I stand there as long as I can to warm up. I even put some drops of oils on the shower floor to give the shower an amazing aroma—it’s pretty dreamy.

Gardening brings me peace

Kelly: As I've mentioned before, I love to garden. I can do it from the comfort of my carpeted or kitchen floor for easy cleanup. I think all of the different sensory components really affect me in a way I never knew I needed until I started planting and gardening. The smell of the dirt, the texture of the wild plants and (soft) cacti and succulents I have planted or grown bring me peace.

I've never been a person that's been able to keep things alive, but the feeling when I do and something starts to bloom is a proud feeling for me. Feeling proud of some of the things I've planted has brought me a lot of happiness. I love when a plant blooms and I can share and split some of them and share them with the people I love.

TV, podcasts, and time with my dogs

Marisa: My hobbies really depend on how I am feeling. I enjoy binge-watching a TV show like Desperate Housewives. It is a nice reprieve to be distracted for a little bit. Being outside or spending any time with my three dogs is something I can never get enough of. I also find enormous inspiration in certain podcasts. One example I think a lot of you would like is Unf*ck Your Brain by Kara Loewentheil.

Reading and writing

Jenna: I really love reading. My local library has a scheme where you can get free ebooks so I'm making the most of that at the moment. And of course, writing! As well as writing for inflammatoryboweldisease.net, I have my own blog. While writing and sitting on a computer screen is quite an energy-sapping activity, it can feel really cathartic and is a great way to build your own support network too. All my favorite things to do at the moment seem to revolve around a screen so I really need to find a non-digital hobby for some screen-free time. Any suggestions?

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