Moments Of Self-Care: The Best Remedy For IBS
IBS has ruined so many moments for me. Social gatherings, workdays, holidays, almost every morning. There were so many things I wasn’t able to do because of the illness, so many times I couldn’t enjoy something because all I wanted was to be at home, close to the bathroom, by myself.
But there are situations when IBS happens and it’s not so bad. When you can focus on self-care instead of apologizing to people or being embarrassed about your symptoms.
When you wake up sick but don’t have to go anywhere
Isn’t it the best when you have a flare-up and nowhere you need to be? I mean, realistically, the flare-up still feels miserable. But I have so much less anxiety when I get to just wait it out, calmly, in my own safe space. And less anxiety means fewer symptoms since those always get heightened as soon as I worry about them!
This is the main reason why I love working from home so much. I’m sick most mornings, but if I don’t have to worry about it, it doesn’t get as bad.
Whenever I have a calm morning at home and IBS hits (as I said, this happens pretty much all the time), I’ll just stay in bed with a heating pad and hot tea, try doing some work on my computer and listen to calming music. Yes, I still have to get up every couple of minutes to go to the bathroom. But I don’t have to explain myself, don’t have to delay bathroom breaks so people won’t notice, don’t have to feel bad about it.
Even as this has become my usual morning routine, I’m still so thankful for every single time I get to relax through my morning IBS. I’m grateful that I don’t have to leave the house, be in public transport for over an hour, and constantly worry about not finding a bathroom in time. That I don’t have to pretend that I’m feeling okay when I’m really not. And that I don’t have to debate every morning whether I would be better off with a sick leave today.
When no one expects you to eat
Does anyone else like to fast during and after IBS flare-ups? Or even just on days with rather mild, but uncomfortable symptoms?
Whenever I feel the slightest bit sick, I just don’t want to eat. Not only am I simply not hungry in these cases, but I also don’t want to do anything that could upset my IBS even more.
However, not eating isn’t always that easy. When I still worked at an office, I had the hardest time explaining why I didn’t want to join my co-workers for lunch. Whenever we have guests or are invited somewhere, people do not understand why I won’t eat anything.
Even people who know everything about my IBS still tend to find it weird or insulting in some way.
So, I always appreciate the moments when I can just avoid eating, without having to explain myself or feel bad about it! This is another reason why working from home is so great for me: no one cares if I skip breakfast and lunch, but then eat three times in the afternoon because my symptoms have passed.
When your baby sleeps through your morning flare
Ever since I became a mom, I’ve reached a new level of difficulty in my IBS journey: taking care of a baby and nursing in the morning. Since I have terrible IBS in the mornings, this is not easy!
Most days, I’ll just try to make it through feedings and diaper changes with as few interruptions as possible. But sometimes, my baby will sleep right through my flare-up. I’m always so relieved when my IBS hits exactly during nap time!
Whenever this happens, I can focus on self-care during a flare-up just like I used to before becoming a parent. I’ll lie down with my trusty heating pad, go to the bathroom as soon as I need to, and don’t have to feel guilty about it.
When you get to relax and wait until you get better
No matter when IBS hits, dealing with flare-ups is so much easier when you get to relax and wait for it to go away.
It’s easier to watch your favorite TV-show or some YouTube videos instead of trying to work while feeling miserable. It’s nicer to lie on your couch or in bed instead of sitting at a desk, on a train, in a meeting. The pain and discomfort of an IBS flare are always bad, but not nearly as horrible when you get to use the bathroom as soon as you need to.
Whenever I’m free to focus on self-care during a flare, or a bad day IBS-wise, I don’t have to deal with anxiety or embarrassment. And for me personally, that takes away a big part of the misery.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to IBS?