A man wearing a backpack stands in front of the magic castle at disney.

Recovering and Resetting After Vacation

Vacations are wonderful. If you are able to, I encourage you to go places and explore as much as you can. They are a great way to relax, recharge, and rejuvenate yourself. But for many of us here, they can also be stressful. We are often walking around with the voice in the back of our heads asking us, "What can we eat? When can we eat? Where's the nearest bathroom? How can I take care of myself while not inconveniencing others?"

Lessons learned from travel with IBS

I recently got back from a weekend trip to Disney with some of my best friends. I am so grateful I was able to go and spend some desperately needed time with them. But I was worried. I thankfully was able to make it through the weekend without any incidents that derailed our plans. My friends are pretty accommodating of my pescatarian diet and I was able to make adjustments throughout that kept me safe. But I did pay somewhat of a price. I was nervous about my stomach and when that happens I tend to not be "hungry," even though I can tell my body needs it. I was not eating enough and what I was eating was certainly not the healthiest. 

I managed to get a couple of good meals in but for the most part, it was small snacks (albeit mostly sugary, but I did what I could) throughout the day to keep some food in me. I knew my digestion was off but I decided I'd rather deal with it when I was home, rather than while waiting in line to fly the Millennium Falcon.

Tips for vacation travel with IBS

Well, I'm home now, and I am paying the price. My digestion hasn't been awful, but it's not as consistent and predictable as it can be. I don't feel my best and I can really feel that I did not get the nutrients I needed. My stomach is still having trouble being hungry again and can only handle very simple foods in small amounts. Even a PBJ sandwich turns my stomach a little bit. Some of this comes from the lack of sleep and constant stimulation for two days straight-it's exhausting! But I do have a plan in my pocket that I will be following to get back on track:

1. Hydrate and sleep

Hydrating and rest will be the biggest tools to use here. How can I expect my body to regulate if I'm not giving it the rest it needs to do that? It can be very difficult to keep up with these 2 things, but making them a top priority will be extremely beneficial.

2. Eat fresh foods

When my body gets like this, it craves both simple and fresh foods. Some of my go-to foods include carrots, spinach, kale, apples with peanut butter, and avocado and egg on toast. I usually make a spinach and kale salad with carrot slices and roasted chickpeas to eat throughout the week. For breakfast, I go between overnight oats or these cute little egg muffin bites with spinach and tomatoes. They fill me up just enough without feeling like I'm going to explode.

3. Limit or eliminate caffeine

Big oof. Caffeine really messes with me. It played a critical role in surviving the weekend but I could feel its effect in other ways too. Especially coffee. Something about it really rolls around in my stomach. I recently have been drinking matcha instead. While I miss the taste of coffee, matcha isn't too bad and sits much better with me. I am drinking a coffee as I write this and I have already regretted that decision. Prepping some matcha for the next couple of days is on the docket for the night.

4. Consider probiotics

I try to take a probiotic pill daily-try being the key word. That, coupled with kombucha, seem to be a pretty good combination to help with my gut microbiome. Yogurt is also a great source, but I try to use that intermittently because of how my body reacts to dairy.

I know my limits

As someone who needs a lot of time to recover, trips and other fun things can be fun but also exhausting and frustrating to deal with in the aftermath. But knowing my limits during vacation and having a good plan of action to help my body recover afterwards has eased some of the anxiety. My next step is to figure out a plan for the "during" to make the recovery a little bit easier in the future and to hopefully sustain me throughout my endeavors.

What do you like to do to help your body get back on track? I'd love to know of any that work for you and maybe steal some ideas for myself!

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