Self Care Tips for When IBS Symptoms Flare Up
When my IBS symptoms flare up it can be so frustrating! To make it worse I am always extra hard on myself for allowing it to happen. I have a tendency to tell myself that it’s my fault and I should have prevented this.
However, preventing symptoms isn’t always easy because there can be so many triggers. Sometimes its hard to prevent stress from occurring in your life and it’s hard to watch what you eat every single meal of every single day. While I have reached a point when I am relatively symptom free for most of the time, occasionally something will happen and when that does, I now know that I need to take extra care of myself. If I don't take care of myself then the symptoms usually get worse and stick around for longer. So here are a few techniques I use to practice a little self-care on those tough days.
I talk to myself like I would talk to a friend.
If I’m being tough on myself, I stop and think, if a friend came to me and told me that this had happened, what would I say to them. Would I yell at them? No. Would I tell them off? No. Would I listen without judgement? Yes! Would I give words of encouragement? Yes! Then I change the dialogue in my head and tell myself things like; “you’re doing the best you can”, or “come on, don’t be so hard on yourself” and I'm always amazed at how it can change the way I feel for the better.
I say no.
I begin to say no to things that I know won’t help me. An invite to a late night party. A date to go running with a friend. An ice-cream. Or anything else that I know will make my symptoms worse. Instead I explain to my friends and family that I just need to practice a little self care at the moment because my IBS symptoms have flared up and I offer an alternative suggestion or a raincheck.
I initiate my favorite ways to reduce stress.
There are certain things that I know I can turn to that will help me reduce stress, such as a relaxing bath, a good novel, yoga or just some time out for myself. Even if I am not experiencing any stress at that moment, the return of symptoms can cause stress, so I implement ways to reduce stress as soon as possible.
I get more sleep.
Being tired and grumpy doesn't help me manage the situation well so I go to bed a little earlier than normal. Sometimes I add a couple of drops of lavender oil to my pillow, turn off the TV and read a book before going to sleep. Just waking refreshed in the morning can have a huge impact on my state of mind and my stress levels.
I reach out.
If I am struggling with a flare up, I really find it beneficial to talk or interact with people who understand what it’s like to have IBS. This could be a Facebook page, an online forum, a Tweet or a chat with a family member or a friend. Sometimes just venting instead of bottling it up can help me immensely.
Do you have any techniques that you use to practice a little self-care? Share your ideas below because they just might help someone else!
Do you avoid using seasonings or spices on your food?