Navigating Christmas with IBS

Navigating Christmas with IBS can be a tricky job. It’s the ultimate season of parties, festive tipples and food, food, food. This year I’m determined to take it at a steady pace to avoid triggering a flare and the dreaded fatigue.

These are the tips I’ll be swearing by.

Don’t be afraid to say no to things

This is an important one for me. I like having at least one evening during the week and one day at the weekend completely free of plans. However, in the build up to Christmas the invites stack up. There’s Christmas shopping to think about, all your friends to see, family days, festive parties, nipping here, nipping there and it’s exhausting. I sometimes feel like I have to say yes to everything but that’s not the case. If you’re not feeling up to it or just want to claim some time back for yourself, say no. Turn that invite down. People will understand.

Make elasticated waistbands your best friend

I live for an elasticated waistband. In fact, I’ve written about my love for them before. Never have they been more important than at Christmas dinners. I don’t know about your stomach but mine starts to bloat immediately after I’ve eaten and if I’m wearing something tight or restrictive across my tummy, I’m in instant agony. I don’t want to have to pop a jean button or roll down my tights, I just want to feel comfy while wearing a sequin or two. Better yet, insist that Christmas day is all about pajamas.

Get chewing

My eyes are bigger than my belly a lot of the time. My husband will attest to that. I love food and I love eating good food. My problem is that I only have to look at a plate once before inhaling my food in one mouthful. Obviously I’m exaggerating but I’m well aware of the speed I can consume a plate of food and I know it does nothing to help my digestive system. This year I’m reminding myself – and you if you need it – to pace yourself and to chew, chew, chew.

To drink or not to drink

As someone with IBS-D I know that alcohol can irritate my gut. I know that it’s different for everyone but the ante is upped during the festive season. If I’m going to drink, I tend to stick to one spirit and make sure every other drink is a glass of water. I’ll pace myself and stay away from mixing drinks and too much rum, which I love but it doesn’t always love me back.

Be kind to yourself

Schedule in time to put your feet up, snuggle in your pjs on the sofa, pop on a Christmassy film and relax. You deserve it.

How do you navigate Christmas with your IBS?

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