While there have been lots of articles about suffering from IBS or other ailments around the Holidays, I thought I’d touch a little bit on the subject of The Holiday Blues. For one reason or another, many of us face the holidays with a feeling of mild to severe dread as to how this holiday season will treat us; mentally, emotionally and physically. While a mild case of Holiday Blues is completely normal and nothing to worry about, it’s important to be mindful of your emotional state as you go through the holidays. Many of us who suffer with IBS have some sort of anxiety and/or depression issues and it’s very important to keep ourselves well.
Holiday Blues typically start with the expectations associated with the season. Money, money, money for gifts. The trips to relatives houses we can’t stand. Memories of when the holidays were carefree and special, when you know that things just might end up that way this year. Couple that with worry about what you eat and drink at gatherings and throughout the season and you have a perfect storm brewing. Just last night I realized I couldn’t have my eggnog while we put up the Christmas tree. What? No eggnog with my Elvis Presley Christmas album? Humbug… Worry and anxiety will often put us into a funk that perhaps we can shake in couple of days, but with so many stressors thrust upon us during holiday time, we can get lost in the expectations and corresponding maelstrom.
I know that many of you are all too familiar with the signs of a true depression. Feeling listless, not enjoying things we normally do, eating too much or too little (big one here), low sex drive…the list goes on. If at any point during the coming days you notice yourself sinking into the hole, please take action immediately. Get to that therapist you’ve been putting off, see your doctor about possible medication options, practice your yoga, meditate…TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Your wellbeing is more important than any Christmas tree or fruit cake.
When we are feeling blue we often don’t have the strength to do the things that make us feel better. When you have IBS, if you don’t do the things that most people do to ‘feel better’, you will most likely feel much, much worse. The "I don’t care because I don’t feel good" can have pretty serious ramifications for the IBS initiated. I don’t care, so I’ll have Grandma’s cheesecake. I don’t care, so I’ll eat the rest of the chips I bought for my kids (yes, that was me). I don’t care, so I will drink myself into the gutter on Christmas day. That one was a bit extreme…my apologies.
Realizing this article is not the most uplifting or encouraging, let me say this. The holidays are SUPPOSED to be about spending time with the people you love. So, empower yourself, practice self-advocacy. If you don’t want to go to Aunt Bettie’s because you HATE her…don’t go. You’re sick. If you are stressing about money, make a budget that you are comfortable with or don’t buy presents at all. If the people you usually give gifts to don’t understand, well maybe you shouldn’t be buying them presents in the first place. Above all, do what you need to try to feel as good as possible. If you feel good, maybe this holiday season will be fun, joyful, loving…or at the very least tolerable. Peace on Earth and goodwill to all.
Do you have a good understanding of what triggers your flares?