person doing multiple chores at once

IBD & Serious Multitasking on Good Days

As someone who has had symptoms of Crohn’s disease for over 10 years now, I often think about my life in seasons or in chapters based on my health.

Necessary slow days when feeling sick from Crohn's

When I am feeling very poorly, those days and weeks and maybe even months look very quiet. They consist of self-care to the maximum, like naps and blankets and reading and binging TV series. Sometimes they involve coloring or writing or catching up with friends, but often they are filled with slow, quiet days. I don’t usually have a lot of strength or energy to expend, and my life reflects that. I don’t make a lot of plans, or to-do lists, or commitments (to myself or otherwise).

Optimal fast days on days I am feeling good

On the contrary, when I am feeling stronger and a little more like myself, I often charge ahead, trying desperately to accomplish all that I possibly can. These days or weeks are scattered with task lists, previously ignored responsibilities, practical requirements and as much as I can squeeze in without collapsing in exhaustion. Priorities for me usually start with laundry and dishes, grocery shopping, errands and/or returns, getting work done, cleaning my house, and doing any prep I can for the next period where I am less able to be mobile and/or productive.

I wrote about these days differences in a previous article titled “Between Surviving & Thriving, Still Looking for a Middle Ground” and I want to hone in on something I realized during a more productive day I had recently.

Juggling responsibilities and tasks with Crohn's

I was feeding my three-month-old daughter while also making a grocery list on my phone and responding to emails when I realized that when I am able, I sometimes taking multitasking to the extreme. I’ll throw in laundry, and before it’s even ready to be switched to the dryer, I will have done all the dishes, gone through the weeks mail, paid bills, cleaned out a drawer, filed things away, refilled containers with the pup’s treats and bones, and not sit down once during the entire 50 minute cycle. Add in meal prep or running errands, and I get to the afternoon without taking a breather from the morning. I feel completely productive and even grateful for my ability to power through things I hadn’t been able to do on slower days, but I started to wonder about what the balance looked like.

How does it affect my body when I do too much?

When I am trying to cross multiple items off my desired list for the day, I don’t stop to think about how tackling them all in a hurricane-like manner will affect me. I don’t slow down, or pay focused, detailed attention to each task. I just plow through. I reach the end of the day and may be exhausted, sore, or overtired, but I only think about how much I got done. I don’t think about how much my multitasking might affect my health or cause issues for me down the road. Does going too hard on my good days make my bad days worse or more frequent? Does the constant sense of rushing when I’m up and going add any anxiety to my internal feelings? I hadn’t previously thought so, but this is something I’m currently taking the time to revisit, both on my own and with my doctor and therapist.

As a Crohn’s disease patient, I’ve found I feel in better control of my life (and therefore my unpredictable disease) when I am strategic about most everything I am doing. I often wonder if other IBD patients have discovered this, and if so, how multitasking on good days affects them long term. Please comment below if you have any experiences to share!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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