How To Manage Your IBS When You’re Way Too Busy
A busy and hectic life is almost a badge of honor in today’s world, with so many things going on in your life that you have little time to spare for looking after your health. Since managing IBS often requires making efforts to slow down, especially if stress is a major trigger, or if you need to spend more time in the kitchen to avoid food triggers, a busy life can seem counterproductive for IBS management. So when I’m asked how to get IBS under control when life is super busy, here’s what I suggest…
First, work out how important is it to get your IBS managed
This may seem like a strange way to begin, but it honestly is essential. The fact is that IBS presents differently in everyone, with it being incredibly severe in some people, moderately severe in others, or relatively mild so that it’s an annoyance only a couple of days a week.
If your IBS doesn’t have a major impact your quality of life or your daily activities, then making major changes to your life isn’t necessary. But if your IBS stops you from doing your job effectively, affects your personal relationships, or makes you miserable, then making change is the only way you’re going to get your symptoms under control.
So that’s why you need to ask yourself how important it is to get things under control. And then if you decide that it’s important, the next question to ask is whether you’re prepared to make your health a higher priority than it is right now. If you’re not, there’s no point reading further. If you are, then here’s some simple strategies.
Next, if you’re prepared to make some changes, start where you need it most
This next step involves doing a triage process on your life as it currently looks, while cross-checking against your known IBS triggers. For instance, if you’re not stressed, then managing stress is irrelevant, even if it’s a big trigger for you. On the flip side, if you know that certain foods trigger your IBS, then food preparation matters a lot.
These are the places where small changes can make the most difference, along with some easy strategies to help get them working quickly:
- Food: Plan a cook-up day and make big batches of easy to cook meals that you can freeze. Also plan out snack items and make sure you have lots of non-perishable items available. Lastly, stock up on some convenience items that you know you can tolerate, so if you need to make a fast meal, you can.
- Exercise: Don’t ignore exercise completely. Even if you can only take a 15-20 minute walk during the day, it will do your gut wonders.
- Stress management: There’s no one right way to manage stress, so you need to do whatever works for you. Maybe a short yoga video, a 5-10 minute meditation, or focusing on your breathing for 10 breaths.
- Sleep: Don’t underestimate the impact of lack of sleep. While you may not be able to get all the sleep you need, even 30 minutes more each night can go a long way to improving the resilience of your body and mind.
Lastly, don’t make tons of changes at once
If you’re super busy, making any change is going to be hard. So pick what needs the most attention and start there. Then, add in another change. And so on until things are working for you. While you won’t get instant results, the little things will add up to slowly improve your IBS.
Do you have a good understanding of what triggers your flares?