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Oh, Boy! The Holidays are Here

I’m sorry, did the title of this article seem a bit, uh, sarcastic? I really didn’t mean for it to, but I’ve never had too much luck around the holidays. Don’t get me wrong, I love Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. The family and friends, lights and songs, oh…and the food and drink. Who doesn’t love the food and drink? I am glad to play Mr. Grinch in this discussion about the pitfalls of this time of year, as it will probably be easier to agree with a cynic than to play one yourself. So, without ado, let me complain about the holidays.

Holiday anxiety, stress and IBS

Before IBS (yes, there was a before), the holidays caused me anxiety, stress and sometimes, some depression. I’m just being honest and I know I’m not alone. Does this mean I never had a nice Christmas or New Year’s? No, it certainly does not. I really do love all of the holiday stuff. Really. Unfortunately, as I got older and had more responsibilities, the stress got to the point where I wasn’t able to enjoy the essence of the season. By the time I started to realize that I needed to get a grip and try to be a little more positive about the whole thing, I was diagnosed with IBS. Really, are you serious? Now, not only do I have to worry about worrying, I have to worry about worrying about an illness that is made worse by worrying. Follow that? 🙂 Let me try again. Most of us with IBS believe that the illness is aggravated by worry, stress and anxiety. The holidays are famous for these types of emotions. What else are the holidays famous for? Food and drink, and drink and more food. I think we are all on the same page.

Trying to be good during the holidays

If you look at some of the articles I’ve written around the holidays in the past, you can see that I’ve really TRIED. I’ve worked on developing coping skills. I’ve worked on avoiding foods that could cause IBS flare ups. I’ve worked on moderation. Avoiding alcohol. Avoiding pie. Ugh. Have my efforts been in vain? The answer is no. But this is a marathon and not a sprint. I have been able to integrate much of what I’ve learned into my holiday experience. It’s just that there is work left to do.

I had planned to cook my own food for Thanksgiving, so as to avoid having trouble with the awesome, super fatty stuff that my sister makes. I didn’t take MY food with me and I got sick. But, I had a good time and drank no alcohol. Two very big wins there. It didn’t go perfectly, but what does? I also get another chance on Christmas, New Year’s and next year, too. I am grateful for the season. I am grateful for a lot of things. While I may have touched on a number of things many of us struggle with at this time of year, I would hope that we would all like to enjoy it. I know I do. Sometimes, it just requires a bit of extra effort. Happy Holidays everyone.

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.