This got me thinking about how I handle stress, and how stress impacts me. Obviously, managing stress is important for everyone. But it's especially important when you're suffering from illness. Stress can aggravate certain symptoms of illness, and even cause a relapse for some illnesses. You definitely don't want that. The last thing you need when you're under a bit of pressure is a pain flare up or bowel problems. This is why learning how to manage stress is probably one of the most important things you can do to manage your illness.
My most important stress reduction technique is relaxation time. Everyone relaxes differently. Some people will be active relaxers. This means the best way for you to relax is to be doing something enjoyable, exercise, cooking, art. Others will be more passive relaxers, these people will favour reading, taking a bath, getting a massage or watching TV. Or you could be like me, and prefer to mix it up and do a bit of both. No matter what style you prefer, it is crucial that you set aside some time each day to just relax. You deserve it.
Another important aspect of stress reduction is prioritising and time management. Setting priorities will help you to assess what you need to get done immediately, and what you can take a more relaxed view to. Write a list of all the things you need to get done. Next rate the importance of each activity. This way you can get the most important things first, and tasks of a lower priority can wait until tomorrow if you get overwhelmed. Time management is also really important. You need to make sure that you're not trying to squeeze too much into the day, but also that you're not sitting around stressing instead of doing something. Write out a timetable from when you get up to when you go to bed. First allocate the activities you can't change: classes, work, appointments. Then fill in your top priority activities. Then fit in the rest. Make sure you have relaxation time in there!
It's also a great idea to talk to someone you trust about what's stressing you out, and come up with some ideas about how you can address this.
Also, please don't procrastinate. It will only make the stress worse. And remember, things don't always go to plan. Staying calm is the best way to deal with this, it will make your life so much easier.