Tips, Tricks and Tools for the IBS Sufferer at Work
Last updated: October 2018
For my previous job, I had the luxury of working mostly from home. Working from home can be the IBS sufferer's, chronic illness sufferer's, dream! I am an extrovert, though, so would have liked to be able to work from an office environment when I was having a good day. It is nice to stay at home when you have a flare! Now that I am back in an office environment, I had to reintroduce work tips, tricks, and tools for working in an office while dealing with IBS.
Stand up desks
Stand up desks provided by the work place are awesome! They say that, "sitting is the new smoking."1 Desks that convert to standing desks are best, because it's good to alternate sitting and standing while working. This is good for your overall health, and your digestive health! A lot of companies are working to provide more healthy lifestyles for their employees, so sometimes just asking for a standing desk can make it happen! Some companies also have treadmill desks where you can actually walk and work! COOL! We have standing desks at my new office, and I love having the option to sit or stand! My IBS loves it, too! Use an Apple Watch to help you remember to stand periodically, set an alarm on your phone, or a calendar reminder in your Outlook!
Go for a walk
I recently had an IBS flare at work. I ate something at lunch that just didn't agree with me, came back to the office, and I was absolutely miserable sitting at my desk. After going back and forth to the bathroom, I decided to go for a walk. Getting that fresh air (even though it's really hot!) and walking around for 10 minutes, released some of the tension and pain in my stomach. I was amazed to come back to work with less of a stomach ache, and more energy, too! Set appointments with yourself in your Outlook calendar, or a reminder in your phone, to go for a 10 minute walk, a few times a day. I was amazed at how much better I felt!
Sit near a bathroom if you can
As an IBS sufferer, you may want to ask your manager if you can sit closest to the bathroom. Most people are accommodating to these types of requests, if possible! It's also nice to have a flexible job that if you need to work from home one day, you can! That way, you can sit IN the bathroom to work if you really need to :)
Manager's & Passion Matter!
I have found that when I like my job, and my manager, my IBS symptoms are less prevalent. Even though sometimes we feel like we are being interviewed when looking for a new job, (which we are), it's okay to interview our interviewers! Find out what it's like to work at that company. Ask about your potential manager's management style. Ask lots of questions about the type of work you will be doing, and make sure it's something that you enjoy, and can be passionate about! Both of these factors can make a huge difference. Every job can be stressful at times, but I have found that there is a difference between good and bad stress! Good stress can keep you motivated, while negative stress can effect your health negatively, and your IBS.
Work and IBS can be hard. I have personally had to quit a job due to IBS, stress, and other chronic conditions. Take it from me, someone who has, "been there, done that," these things helped me dealing with IBS at work. Now, go get 'em!
Which of the following symptoms of IBS do you experience most frequently?