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How My Living Space Affects My IBS

Last updated: December 2019

I was so excited when we finally moved from a tiny 2-bedroom apartment into an actual house 2 years ago. Granted, it’s a small house, but it’s just so much better than a flat! I imagined finally being able to have guests while maintaining enough privacy when it comes to dealing with my IBS. I love having people over, but that just wasn’t going to happen in a small apartment.

But as it turns out, having more space is not enough to make me (and my IBS) feel comfortable.

I live in a small town in France, and our rented house is as typical as it gets for this region. We have 2 bedrooms, one living room, and a kitchen, all on one floor that runs along a hallway. The bathroom and toilet, separated as usual in France, sit somewhere in between the other rooms. It’s nice that none of the bedrooms is next to the toilet – but unfortunately, everyone passes it whenever they go anywhere.

Not enough privacy, if you ask me (or my IBS)! Whenever we have people over, I’m constantly anxious about my digestion flaring up, since I feel like everyone would witness everything. Now, I can’t change the way the house we rent is constructed. But when we decide to buy our own, I’ll definitely make sure that it fits my requirements as much as possible.

The ideal bathroom placement

If I could choose, I’d have a house with a master bedroom that has a separate bathroom inside. One that only I (and my boyfriend) could access and that would prevent people from keeping track when and how often I disappear in there. Bonus points if it’s far away from the other bedrooms or living room for some added privacy. Imagine not having to worry about using the bathroom when you have people over? That’s something I, for now, can only dream of.

That being said, the typical French separation between the bathroom and toilet is actually so practical. Especially when multiple people need to get ready at the same time. Or when one of your friends takes 45 minutes to do her hair.

The bedroom situation

Of course, it’s important to have a separate bedroom so no one will have to sleep in your room. If they do, the whole idea of a master bathroom doesn’t make much sense anymore.

I honestly love the way the two bedrooms are situated in our little house since they share no common wall. That’s quite nice if you want to talk before going to sleep without waking up your guests. Or when you have cats that meow every morning because they’re so happy to see you.

Another thing I love is that our house has another room in the basement. It’s not the coziest one, but it’s perfect for when you want to lie down (like when you’re experiencing a flare-up) while other people are still partying.

A workplace – just in case

I keep mentioning how much I love working from home, and that’s because it prevents so much stress for me! I don’t have to leave my house in the morning when my IBS is at its worst, don’t have to deal with other people when I don’t feel like it. Basically, it’s introvert-with-IBS heaven.

But even when you don’t work from home, a small workspace is really nice to have. How about those days when you don’t feel good enough to leave the house, but could still get a couple of things done? Even though a couch works as well, I find that it’s sometimes nice to have a desk. Clearly, it’s not a necessity if you work at an office, but for me personally, I need my dedicated workspace. Preferably in a separate room.

Personally, I will definitely be looking for all of these criteria when we finally decide to buy our own place. If the floorplan of my home can reduce the anxiety related to my IBS in any way, I’m certainly going to try!

What are your criteria to make your living space as practical as possible for your IBS?

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