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My IBS Calendar

I am one of the many people that finds journaling to be a very important part of my wellness routine. That said, while I did keep a very detailed IBS journal for the first couple of years after my diagnosis, I began to feel that the very detailed aspect of this journal was doing more harm than good. I began obsessing over details I thought I could improve and become anxious and depressed about the details that I knew I couldn’t do anything about. So, I gave up the IBS journal and just kept the journals dedicated to my mental health.

Types of journals to manage IBS

I am by no means suggesting that an IBS journal is a bad idea. It just wasn’t right for me. I am the obsessive type, not the objective type. Journaling, as part of your IBS management plan, might be absolutely great for you. For my emotional wellbeing, I keep 3 journals. One is a standard diary-type journal, the second an artistic or fun journal (I like to write poetry and lyrics) and the third is my “rant” journal. I say what is bothering me, expletives and all and then I trash the page or pages when I am done, so as not to sit down the following week and relive the pain I might have been experiencing at that moment. There are other types of journals as well, that I have discussed in other articles. Nevertheless, as helpful as the journal has been for my mental health and mindfulness practice, it just wasn’t working in the same way for managing the IBS.

My IBS calendar idea

For some reason, I still felt as though I wanted to track my IBS in some way. I thought about it for a long time, and as I said before, I realized it was simply the intricate detail of the journals that were causing me trouble. I should say at this point, that I think the IBS journals were very helpful for me in the beginning after my diagnosis before I had any sort of game plan at all. So what could I do to keep track of the IBS without all of my self-imposed drama? I thought about an Excel spreadsheet for a minute. Nah…too clinical. What about a whiteboard…? 😉

Then it dawned on me. How about a simple calendar, where I broke down my symptoms or feelings in the most basic way I could think of? The calendar would not be hung on the wall but kept in a drawer. I didn’t want to be looking at how bad my IBS was last week while looking forward to meetings or happy things for this week.

So, this is what I decided on. An X on a day means ‘IBS’ day. Meaning, I have had symptoms and didn’t do very well. A big red X means a day that is part of a flare. A black X is the aftermath of a flare when I am fatigued and finally, a blue X is when things are starting to subside and I am getting back to normal. This simply helps me determine severity and frequency and whether or not I need to be making any changes in my IBS management routine. This may not work for you, but I sure do like to see all those days where there is nothing but the day of the month on the calendar. 🙂

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • ldonne
    1 week ago

    I to do this @tmholland . Ive actually found it helpful to figure out triggers as well as making sure I’m eating enough. I’ve changed it around this year to make sure I’m getting enough of the required daily servings of fruits, vegetables, meats etc.

  • Elizabeth Alvarez moderator
    1 week ago

    This is a great idea. I also like that you keep it in a drawer so that you don’t have to be staring at it all day.

    I tend to just keep notes on my iphone and used to use an app called Cara which I could track bowel movements really easily.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Elizabeth (team member)

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