Find A Reason: Celebrating Small Moments Helps Me Live Well
It can be really hard to be happy when living with an autoimmune disease. Debilitating symptoms, isolation from friends, food anxiety, chronic pain and fatigue and other aspects of our lives can leave a huge storm cloud hanging over our heads for days (or weeks, months or years) and can make creating happiness in our day to day routines very hard.
Crohn's disease takes over and impacts life
I know because I've been there. There have been times in my past (and more recently as well) where I've let the daunting diagnosis of Crohn's disease take over. I drew away from doing things that I loved to do (read about health and wellness, write, exercise, do yoga, etc) and instead chose to dwell on what living with Crohn's disease has taken from me.
However, with help from a growing community founded here in my hometown of Portland, ME, I've learned about how important it is to find and celebrate small moments in my day that make me smile and how it positively impacts me and my illness. This community, called Flex Your Face, shares inspiring and uplifting daily content online that urges people to "find a reason to flex your face" aka SMILE!
Focus on the positives
Focusing more often on things that make you smile rather than the intensity of your symptoms is a great way to invite a new perspective into your life. It is one of gratitude for the little things, which makes living through the big (tough) things a little easier. Even though the big picture is one that includes tough, scary and heartbreaking days, those days also include moments of joy, love, happiness, and triumph. As chronic illness patients, we may just have to look a little closer to find them.
Tough days with Crohn's disease
There may be days where all you do is watch movies. Celebrate the fact that you got to watch that childhood movie that you haven't seen in years.
There may be days where the farthest you can walk is just up the street. Celebrate putting one foot in front of the other and pushing past your limits, despite the pain.
There may be days where you have to cancel plans with friends, but they come see you instead. Celebrate having quality friendships with people who support you and care about your well-being so much that they come to see you anyways, even when you aren't feeling your best.
Celebrate the small stuff
Trying to focus on the celebration when faced with the obstacles that come with a chronic illness is tough when trying to do it alone.
Having people around you who can remind you to celebrate the small triumphs that you do have is crucial to help make this lifestyle habit stick.
It was hard for me at first, but I've decided to lean on people who are determined to "find a reason" every day just like I am and it has helped so much. Now, while I still have my tough days (or weeks, etc.) I am more likely to find a reason within those hard days that makes me smile. It lifts my mood and has the chance to turn my day around, which has been life-changing. While some of the negative thoughts are still there in my head, I am more focused on the positive ones and that has made a huge difference for me in terms of living well with my illness.
If you feel called to "find a reason" during the hard days and need support, the Flex Your Face community (including me!) is waiting for you with open arms and tons of inspiring + loving people.
Reach out. Gain support. Find A Reason :)
Does the change in weather impact your Crohn's or colitis?