My Holistic Approach to Self-Care
Last updated: June 2018
What's good for the goose is not always good for the gander...but sometimes it is :-). From reading the forums here on IrritableBowelSyndrome.net, I’ve noticed so many similarities in people’s stories, but at the same time seeing so many different so many different people with such unique details. Therefore, as I’ve said time and again, what works for me, may not work for you, but it may provide an outline or inspire a holistic approach of your own. I truly believe, that in order to manage IBS responsibly and give yourself as many comfortable days as possible, that a Total Care approach is the only way to go.
So, just for the sake of clarity, let us define HOLISTIC. I get a pretty good definition, right off the bat, when I Google HOLISTIC:
HOLISTIC: characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the physical symptoms of a disease.
What does this mean to us that suffer with IBS? In basic terms, it means taking into account all of the things that the stomach, intestinal, physical stuff affects. It also means taking into consideration all of the stuff that affects the stomach, intestinal, physical stuff. Clear? Clear. OK, so here’s what I have on my IBS management checklist; you can compare and contrast. We’ve got, in no particular order:
- Medical (doctors and medication)
- Psychological (therapist and support groups)
- Physical (diet and exercise)
- Emotional/Intellectual (meditation, spirituality, reading, research)
Now, you notice that I didn’t mention anything about jobs, relationships, family, financial or any of the other stuff that I recognize as part of my life. That’s because my IBS MANAGEMENT CHECKLIST is just for me, myself and my IBS. These are the things that need to be included as a constant part of my life to keep me as healthy as I can be. Without one of these parts, the management is incomplete. I’m not playing with a full team. I NEED THE WHOLE TEAM, SEE? Sure, I could get by, eating like a monk and keeping current with my GI doc. I don’t want to JUST GET BY. I want to make sure my mind is right, so that I can make good decisions. I want to make sure that my body is strong, so that it can handle the trauma of the IBS and whatever else I may get sick with over time. I want to make sure that I am spiritually alive, as a reminder that I am never alone in this and that I am not the center of the universe. Perspective. Perspective.
Depending on your wiring, degree of IBS, past medical history and many other factors, your IBS checklist can look very different. You may have a much more severe physical manifestation of IBS than I have, but perhaps don’t struggle with the psychological factors that I do. You may be spiritually and emotionally alive, but struggle with the diet piece. Depending on the person, we have to be mindful of our own experience and allocate our energy appropriately. All that said, being aware of yourself as a complex being with many different interconnected needs is paramount to dealing with IBS in a holistic manner. Hopefully, you can find the path that is best for you.
Which of the following symptoms of IBS do you experience most frequently?