Many people feel stress around the holidays, but for those of us living with IBS, this time of year can be especially brutal.
It’s a season of social obligations, travel and gift giving – all of which can be stressful – coupled with a near onslaught of delicious – although dangerous foods.
With that in mind, we’ve put this list of tips for managing IBS and stress this year.
1. Make a plan
A little preparation can go along way when it comes to managing IBS and stress at the holidays. Going to a party? Try to eat a small meal before you get there so you don’t show up hungry, thus keeping you from over-indulging.
And if you’re traveling or out shopping, download a smartphone app that helps you map out public restrooms in case of emergency.
2. Prepare for travel
Talk with your doctor before you travel. Make sure you’ve packed any over-the-counter or prescription medications you might need.
If you’re heading to a country where you don’t speak the language, learn how to ask the location of the nearest restroom. Try to sit in an aisle seat if traveling by plane, train or bus, and let traveling companions know you’ll need an extended bathroom break when you reach your destination.
3. Be aware of your body
When you live with IBS, you learn to tell what your body is up to. If you already feel constipated or bloated on the day of a holiday party, try to take things easy, gastroenterologist Dr. Lawrence Schiller, told U.S. News and World Report.
“You need to be very aware of your body,” said Schiller, of Baylor University Medical Center in Texas. “One of the things we try to do as gastroenterologists is help people identify triggers for symptoms, whether it be food or stress or other things going on in their life."
4. Keep yourself hydrated
Staying hydrated will prevent constipation, and drinking more water helps fend off IBS-related pain because fiber absorbs liquids. Avoid coffee and carbonated beverages, and opt instead for herbal tea, which can keep you hydrated while soothing intestinal inflammation.
5. Don’t keep it to yourself
You’ll be spending the holidays around family and friends, who are likely to be more understanding of your condition than you might expect.
Just let them know you might be spending longer in the bathroom than usual. You don’t need to go into explicit detail about your condition. If the conversation takes an embarrassing turn, ask a close friend of family member to steer the discussion in another direction.
6. It’s ok to stay home
Our friends and relatives can often be a source of comfort when dealing with conditions like IBS. But for some people, spending the holidays around families is a huge source of stress. And if that’s the case, it’s okay to stay home this year. Stick to your routines, and your stomach will thank you.
Managing IBS and stress can feel like a full-time job. Let Proper Nutrition help you take a holiday break.
Our protein-rich whole-food supplements have been shown to relieve the effects of conditions such as IBS and IBD.
Visit our product page to find a supplement that’s right for you. Consider it a gift to yourself.