Tips For Working From Home With IBS
This year has overhauled how people work. It’s forced most individuals to transition to a home office and drastically change their lifestyle. The home has taken on the role of workplace, daycare, school, relaxation area, and everything in between. With these boundaries getting blurred, setting health goals at home can be challenging. Whether it’s trying to reach a step-count goal in a tiny apartment or do an at-home workout in a crowded house, it may seem like there is zero separation from work and personal life.
This lack of boundaries might increase anxiety, sedentary lifestyle, and altered eating habits, for some people, all of which may increase unwanted IBS symptoms. Check out these easy ways to overhaul your at-home lifestyle to better manage your digestive habits and help you live your best life.
It’s time to get moving!
If your body does not move enough throughout the day, neither will your digestive system. Sedentary behavior is often a contributor to constipation. If you have IBS-C, push through your workouts (with good hydration) to help minimize the need to push in the bathroom.
Working out does not have to involve a fancy at-home gym, outdoor space, or expensive equipment. In fact, it doesn’t even have to require a ton of space. With a little creativity (and motivation), you can make the most out of your sweat sesh from the comfort of your own home. Remember, working out doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing affair. If it better suits your schedule, incorporate physical activity in 15-minute increments throughout the day. Or, if you are new to exercising, it’s also a great place to start! After all, you can convince yourself to do anything for 15 minutes. Here are easy ways to get moving!
Work it around your work!
Schedule your exercise breaks in between your meetings. Break through the mid-afternoon wall by scheduling a 15-minute walk around the neighborhood, a quick jump rope or dumbbells workout, or crush it with bodyweight exercises. Over time 15+15+15+15=60 minutes of exercise. If your work schedule has some flexibility, request an earlier start time or later finish to enable your fitness success!
Use a health app or set alarms
Use health apps or set alarms on your phone every hour as a reminder to stand up. Minimizing the number of hours that you are seated can help stimulate your digestive tract. Getting up helps push it down!
It’s easy to say and hard to do! But your brain is not the only part of your body that is tense when you are feeling anxious. It’s critical to take time for self-care to minimize feelings of anxiety and prevent unwanted symptoms of IBS. Check out these soothing ways to keep stress levels to a minimum for a happy mind and gut.
Write down all your thoughts at the end of the day. Allow them to escape your mind and get
t left on the paper. Then, tear up the page as a symbol of you releasing your inner stress.
Read a book
Disconnect from technology and drift away to a whole new world.
Grab the bath salts or colorful bombs, and soak away your stresses. Dim the lights and add a scented candle for an extra relaxing environment.
Too tired to work out? Get on the floor, and stretch! When sitting, your intestines and all the surrounding muscles get stuck in the same position. If your job keeps you glued to sitting at your screen, then it’s key to reverse those postures. I recommend using a half foam roller or lying on your pillow length-wise, then extending your arms over your head, laying them back.
Set limits and create boundaries
When working from home, it may feel as though office hours are all-day-every-day. This constant state of being technologically connected can wear on your mental well-being and physical health. Here are ways to disconnect from work to minimize stress, keep energy for your workouts, and improve sleep to help reduce triggers of IBS.
Work shouldn’t be 24/7
While people are asked to stay home, it doesn’t come with the expectation to be constantly available. If your typical office hours are 9 am to 5:30 pm, it should be similar while working from home. It’s essential to create a cut-off time for work—allowing yourself to unwind from the day. Emails and work texts can wait till tomorrow. To help yourself disconnect, use strategies such as investing in a traditional alarm clock to keep your phone out of the bedroom room.
Designate a work room
Transforming every room into a workspace can make it challenging for the mind to differentiate between the need for productivity or relaxation. Avoid doing work from the bed since it increases sedentary behaviors and transforms your sleeping sanctuary into a stressful space—ultimately affecting your sleep quality. By creating these boundaries, it can help reduce overall stress and improve IBS symptom management.
Don’t let your work-from-home environment be a trigger for your IBS. For a more individualized approach, consult with a dietitian.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to IBS?