How Routines Can Help
Last updated: July 2019
When I first developed IBS I was living the life of a chaotic college student. My schedule fluctuated dramatically from day to day. Sometimes I pulled several all-nighters in a row, skipped breakfasts and had dinner at all times of the night. When my IBS progressed to the point where I could barely function, I took a medical leave of absence to find a diagnosis and formulate a plan.
My routine in college to manage IBS
Upon returning to college the following summer and fall, I attempted to implement some semblance of order into my life again. Of course, this was difficult to do in college. But I tried to make sure I ate a small, benign breakfast every morning and ate lunch and dinner around the same time every day and evening. I also attempted some sort of sleep schedule, but that was harder to follow with all the term papers and assignments due every week.
My routine after college to manage IBS
Once I graduated from college, it became much easier to implement and follow a routine. I would wake up around the same, do some small stretches and exercises and eat the same small breakfast.
To this day, I usually have the same breakfast every morning: a banana and organic oatmeal (both low FODMAP and full of soluble fiber) with some decaf or herbal tea with a soluble fiber dissolved in it, followed up by a high quality probiotic. I try to have a relaxed morning and give myself an hour to really acclimate to being awake. Luckily I work from home, so I can do this. Occasionally, I teach in the late morning, so I make sure to try to get a good night's rest the night before and wake up at least an hour before I have to leave for work so I am not rushing. Setting this precedent helps set the standard for the rest of the day. Mornings can be particularly difficult for IBS sufferers, so I find creating a relaxing morning with beneficial food really helps.
Likewise, I still try to make sure to eat lunch and dinner around the same time every day and for lunch, I usually alternate the same couple of staples (often a sandwich of some kind). I make sure to eat dinner at least three hours before bedtime to avoid digestive issues interfering with sleep. I do not snack before bedtime. If the weather allows and unless I am very sick, I make sure to go for at least a 15 to 20-minute walk almost every day, which improves circulation and thus, IBS.
Having this routine also leads me to feel I have a better sense of control over my body, which in turn alleviates anxiety. It benefits not just my IBS, but my body in general.
Do you have a certain daily routine you follow? Does it help your IBS and how? Answer in the comments below!
Do you suffer from IBS-C, IBS-D, or IBS-Mixed/Alternating?