Wellness means different things to different people at different times. And while no single path leads us definitively toward or away from wellness, investing time in the things we love, making supportive connections with friends and family, and caring for ourselves can have an impact. PAC members – Becky, Linden and Quint – share their thoughts on wellness, creativity, self-care and community in this post.

Do you have a hobby or creative outlet that you prioritize time for? How does this affect your wellness (mind/body)? Is there something creative you want to try?

Becky: I really want to get into photography! I've never done it before, but it seems like a creative outlet that allows the photographer to express a lot of feeling.

Linden: Show Choir! It’s tiring both mentally and physically, inherently having Crohn’s and going through flares make it difficult. Especially during the winter, peak Show Choir season, the side effects of a limited immune system shine through.

Quint: I love taking photos, drawing and painting! It effectively grounds me when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I’m up to try anything!

Do you regularly practice self-care? What does it look like/feel like? Do you believe self-care has an effect on your wellness? If you were going to recommend a self-care activity to another patient with IBD, what would it be?

Becky: For me, self-care is knowing my limits and taking care of myself so that I don't max myself out. I see a therapist every week and that really helps me remain calm and happy. Meditation is also really helpful and only takes a few minutes. My favorite forms of self-care are working out at the gym, engaging in a creative activity, and spending time with a small group of intimate friends.

Linden: Sometimes, my version of self-care is simply taking a nap when I feel as if I need it. Or if I don’t need to take a long nap, just mentally relaxing for at least 15 minutes a day without worrying about the other things happening in my life and around the world. I genuinely think taking care of yourself has a positive influence on wellness.

Quint: I practice self-care by making sure I get the food and sleep I need. If I’m particularly in need of support I will reach out to friends and/or take photos, draw or paint.

What does wellness mean to you, at this exact moment?

Becky: Wellness to me is feeling happy and comfortable with my friends, having a good diet, maintaining good exercise, and feeling well medically. Friends+family+healthy lifestyle+healthy body+happiness=Wellness

Linden: Being connected with people who lift me up, taking time for myself, etc.

Quint: My friends and social support means a lot for my self-care, playing games (card/video games). Boundary setting in terms of those around me has been incredibly important recently. Just making sure I listen to myself and eat/relax when I need to and reaching out to my friends to let them know I could use some extra support.

How does your participation in PAC/ICN affect your wellness? Your creativity? What effect do you think your participation has had on PAC/ICN?

Becky: Being a part of PAC and ICN has opened up a lot of avenues for creativity for me. In the PAC, I think of new ideas, projects, and perspectives that I never would have considered otherwise. My work with PAC and ICN constantly challenges me to deliberate perspectives and ideas: what ways I can communicate this message? How can I target my words towards specific audiences? How do I show how this affects me? It has definitely broadened my creativity. Furthermore, being a part of ICN and the PAC makes me feel like I have a purpose and a home. That sense of belonging and reason is very helpful towards my wellness!

Linden: Although my recent participation has not been as active due to school and extracurricular conflicts, being in a group like the PAC improves my creativity and wellness as I know there are people I can both reach out to and work with to further patient care.

Quint: Currently as I’m getting involved again in the PAC/ICN I don’t think it has a large effect as of right now! I can speak better to this in the future.


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Connect with Becky, Linden, Quint and the PAC at improvecarenow.org/patients

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