Life in lockdown has been somewhat difficult for all. For those with Crohn’s and Colitis, there have been further challenges such as confusion over conflicting advice, locked public toilets, long periods of shielding and getting used to virtual consultations with IBD teams.
The recent Life in Lockdown survey by our partners, Crohn’s & Colitis UK, found that over half of people with IBD said that their mental health has been negatively impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. In the height of the lockdown, we also asked our My IBD Care community how they were feeling. Notably, 71% of our users felt moderately or highly anxious about the situation.
As the government guidance has been updated this week and there are questions around whether we will go into a full lockdown again, we have gathered some words of advice from our medical representatives behind My IBD Care.
“Looking at Covid-19 admissions this past week, we are seeing a change. More patients are testing positive, this as per latest news might mean we are heading into a second wave. However we have reasons to be more confident, we understand more about the virus and the treatment possibilities. We have more data on how patients with IBD get affected by Covid-19 and what to do in different circumstances.
Communication between the IBD service and you is fundamental, we will continue to see service changes like the implementation of telemedicine, video appointments, self-administered therapies, home testing biomarkers and mobile applications to maintain our care delivery and safe IBD management. Continue to follow the government advice on new measures to come in the next few weeks and do not forget that your IBD team is still working hard and available for you to answer queries and help you with any problems in relation to your IBD.”
Dr Gareth Parkes, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Co-founder of My IBD Care…
We can see that stress and anxiety around lockdown and the pandemic are heightened for those living with IBD. Many people find that managing stress and anxiety with Crohn’s and Colitis is important to keep flare-ups at bay. There are many things you can try to keep on top of your wellbeing. Here’s an example for you to try today…
Ratio Breathing focuses you to take a longer out-breath than in-breath. This helps you to switch the body’s nervous system from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic – thus having a relaxation effect.
Your breath is always with you and it is a really effective tool to use when you feel you need to re-balance, relax and de-stress. A small study of 29 people with IBD found that meditative techniques, including breathing, body postures, movement, and elements of mindfulness, were associated with reducing an inflammatory biomarker (CRP). Although we cannot be clear which intervention component was responsible for the effects, research has shown that the use of the breath is effective for relaxation and stress reduction in the general population.
Subscribing to the My IBD Care free trial gives you access to all of our expert-led courses and activities. These can help you to look after your wellbeing and health outside of consultations.
We recommend our Life in Lockdown courses, Relaxation and Meditation course and Sleep and Anxiety course as useful places to start when looking at reducing stress and anxiety during lockdown.
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