How To Prioritise Your Wellbeing With A Stoma

Katie May Feb 2021

Wellbeing and wellness are terms which get thrown around a lot but rarely do we actually look at what they mean, and what they mean to us. Often associated with skinny, wealthy, white, able-bodied yogis who drink green juice, the wellbeing industry can feel daunting to anyone who doesn’t fit that criteria.

Wellbeing is important to us all and covers a lot of different areas. Looking after your wellbeing isn’t just beneficial for your physical health, it’s also incredibly important for your mental wellbeing.

So, what is wellbeing?

The dictionary defines wellness as; the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.

But what does that mean if you’re not in good health? To me, wellness isn’t just being in a state of good health. It is a state of mind and a way of living. The overall ‘aim’ of wellness is to achieve happiness and joy and to be ‘well’. However, there is more than just physical health to consider.

Why is your wellbeing important when you have a stoma?

It’s safe to say your wellbeing is important no matter what your health is like. However, when you have a stoma, or any kind of chronic condition, looking after your wellbeing is a really useful management tool. A lot of people who have major surgery experience some kind of medical trauma. Whether that’s from a negative experience in hospital or the fact that you’ve had a massive surgery which stoma surgery is.

Using wellbeing tools and prioritising your overall health is essential for recovery. Wellness is such a huge term and embodies so many different things. But there is so much you can do on a daily basis to aid your mental and physical wellbeing.

Simple wellbeing tools to boost your daily wellbeing:

Journaling is a tool I’ve used for years. It helped me a lot during flare ups, surgeries and recovery. Use your journal to document how you’re feeling, what you’ve been doing and to simply vent. It’s a really therapeutic tool and also very handy to look back on. I sometimes read my journals from when I had my surgery because I can’t remember much now!

Keeping hydrated is something ostomates know is important, but we can sometimes forget about it. Hydration is really important for both physical and mental wellbeing. So, make sure you’re drinking enough water (unless restricted for any reason) and if you’re struggling, use hydration treatments or speak to your Stoma Care Nurse for advice.

Exercise is really important. As National Wellbeing and Workouts week is on my mind, I couldn’t not include exercise as a tool. Since having my ileostomy, I’ve tried a lot of different ways of exercising to see what works well for me. Exercising with a stoma is definitely possible. If you’ve recently had surgery, make sure you discuss exercise with your healthcare team before doing anything major. Walking is a great step into moving and exercising. A 30-minute walk outside is a great boost for your wellbeing; releasing endorphins and getting your joints moving.

Being outside is another essential for your wellbeing. Having a relationship with nature has so many benefits, it positively impacts your mental health and helps reduce stress levels.

When it comes to prioritising wellbeing in your daily life, it can feel daunting. But the key to wellness is aligning with what makes you feel good. Prioritise that feel good feeling and intentionally choose to do activities that make you feel good, both inside and out.

“Prioritise that feel good feeling and intentionally choose to do activities that make you feel good, both inside and out.” - @katieemay1

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by Katie May Chesworth

Katie May Chesworth

About the author

Katie May is a health and wellness advocate living with a stoma, IBD and arthritis. You can follow her on Instagram for regular updates related to both her health and travels.

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