The Stress of Spring Cleaning with IBD

The spring is definitely upon us and with that often comes this idea of “spring cleaning.” What is that really? I guess it is a time when a lot of people throw out or donate old clothes, kitchen appliances, and other stuff hanging around the house.

Some people have yard sales. Other people just dedicate a weekend or so to really going through everything in the home and see if it is still needed. A lot of actual cleaning tends to get done around this time as well (ex, vacuuming, dusting).

...but when you suffer from a chronic illness like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, it can be difficult to get in that mindset.

Living with Crohn's or UC is unpredictable

With inflammatory bowel disease, there is no on or off season. There is a ton of unpredictability. With that unpredictability comes never knowing when or if you will need certain clothing.

For example, I actually still keep and oftentimes wear a pair of old sweatpants from when my brother was in the 5th grade (he is 27 years old now). Why do I do that? Because they are baggy no matter what size I am and the waist part always feels good on my stomach regardless if I have an ostomy, am recovering from surgery, or am distended.

Sping & spring cleaning are tough for someone with IBD

The point I am trying to make is that this time of the year is often tough for people with IBD. We want to be part of the family. We want our rooms and homes to look nice and be as clutter free as possible. We want to donate things so the less fortunate can have something we might have outgrown. We want to help with the vacuuming and dusting and scrubbing and {maybe} painting.

We want to be part of things! And we want the environment around us to be as nice, clean and up to date as possible for ourselves and our loved ones! We want all of those things!

Sometimes we are able to achieve them but oftentimes, we may not be able to. Just remember that it is not your fault if you are unable to get into the “spirit of spring cleaning.” It is just a season. You can clean anytime. You can go through old things and donate them all year long. You can de-clutter your environment as soon as you are physically able.

Just because it seems to be that time of year does not make it the ONLY time of year for this stuff. And, you are not lazy. I feel that way so much I had to write an article about it here.

Body changes and varying types of clothing

I can also empathize with those of you who are afraid to throw anything away because you never know what size you’ll be. Not to mention, body alterations occur at random, so it is best to keep certain items so you don’t have to spend money and energy buying it again if needed. I am truly petrified to throw anything away and have become a true clothes hoarder. And ya know what, there are worse things in the world!

While spring can be a time for renewal, if you are in a bad flare up, recovering from surgery, are dealing with abscesses, strictures, obstructions or any of the other millions of things that can come alongside an IBD diagnosis, please don’t add in this extra layer of stress. I know it is easier said than done and between societal pressures, the pressures we put on ourselves, and wanting the best for those we love, it can be very difficult not to have some anxiety around this time.

I get it. So many people in our community get it. You are not alone.

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