Words of Wisdom From The Women in My Life

Last updated: May 2018

I wanted to share some of words of wisdom and advice that I have heard from some of the important women in my life. All of this has helped me cope in some way, shape or form with my inflammatory bowel disease.

Break It Up

My mom has really taught me how to not only focus on one day at a time (which is still a huge work in progress) but how to break the overwhelming days up. For example, taking a shower and getting dressed becomes one part of my day that I try and focus on. Once I “accomplish” that (I feel pathetic saying that is an achievement but I know for a chronic illness patient, it can be,) I move on to the next part. Maybe the driving or finding the place I am supposed to go has me worried? So that becomes part two. I think you probably get the gist. I usually try and break my days in quarters and even put reminders in my phone so that I can feel good about myself when I can mark it as completed. These ideas my mom has shared with me based on how she gets through some of the stressful days in her life has definitely helped me feel a lot less overwhelmed on so many occasions.

Get Out & About

My grandmother (aka “Gran”) always talked about the importance of getting out everyday because it takes you out of yourself. At that time, she was caring for my grandfather who had severe Parkinson’s Disease and needed to get away from the seriousness of life, understandably. She would go shopping to find sales, talk to other shoppers and people working there. The simple act of talking with other people who had nothing to do with what she was going through at home gave her strength to continue the good fight. I haven’t been able to master that because getting out is usually an ordeal for me, but when I am not home alone and don’t have the added pressure of having to drive, I really do try to get out more because of her. Even just to get coffee or a soda. It forces me to get dressed, brush my hair, and look somewhat human since I will be seeing other people.

Powder and Paint Make You What you Ain’t

Gran also always used to say “powder and paint make you what you ain’t.” She always wore a lot of makeup and that has never been my thing. I wear it if I am going out for an occasion or out of the house in general (only sometimes, though) but most of the time, I won’t have any on. I do feel better about myself when I am wearing make up and have my contacts in. I love this advice because it isn’t about masking serious issues or being fake, but rather making you feel as good or as much like a human being as you can. A lot of the things we go through as inflammatory bowel disease patients don’t exactly scream dignity. And talking about your digestive system a lot, dealing with bowel movements, ostomies and other things doesn’t typically make a person feel very attractive. Although difficult when you aren’t doing well, I always feel so much better when I do something small like force myself to get my eyebrows waxed. Or, take off my nail polish and clean up my nails a bit to make them look a bit different.

The Bed Will Grab You

My mom always used to tell me her grandmother (my great-grandmother aka Great Gran ) was famous for saying “the bed grabs you.” Stay in bed for a day or so but eventually, it kind of gets a hold on you and becomes increasingly hard to get out of it. I know laying in bed is sometimes the only thing we can do, but it is because I have heard this a lot that I try to move myself to the couch if I will still be comfortable. That way, at least I am breaking things up a bit, and my bed isn’t being associated with my 24 hour hangout.

Physically Healthy and Mentally Strong

A family friend once told me that she has learned to go back to what has helped her cope in the past when things get stressful. I always found comfort in routine and knowing I was doing everything I could to keep myself as physically healthy and mentally strong as possible. It is because of this advice that when my body allows, I make myself do some form of exercise. It has always proven to be life altering for me when I was able to maintain a semi-regular fitness routine. It is and always has been far the best mental health medication for me. It just stinks when your body won’t allow you to exercise. Still great advice though.

I think women are so incredibly strong, wise, and have great insights. Well, most women that is. :) I am incredibly blessed to come from a long line of amazing women who I hope I can measure up to one day.

Do the women in your life offer you words of wisdom, encouragement, and/or advice that has impacted you in a pretty significant way? Tell us about it in the comments!  We always love to hear from community members!

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