a toilet with a clock and car keys being flushed down

IBS Makes Me Late for Work

Having IBS affects our daily routines and responsibilities greatly, and one major task that typically gets pummeled by this syndrome is getting to work on time in the morning. Before my diagnosis, I had no problem showing up to work, school, or other events on time. Granted I was never the one there 15 minutes early, but I was always considered prompt.

Sadly, things have changed drastically since being diagnosed with IBS. I am late to practically everything. Why? Major urgency!

There are days where I am a total slave to the washroom and it is something that I have learned to adjust to and not beat myself up over. What can we do? It is the nature of the game, folks. But believe me, I know how frustrating it can be when you just can’t seem to escape the room filled with tile – yes the bathroom.

Mornings always start off the worst for me. I have repeatedly asked my doctor, why the morning? I’d rather deal with it at another moment, but not being able to start my day productively and efficiently gets old fast.

My doctor said that after a full night’s rest, you almost have to imagine the morning as the time your intestines are also waking up. And because ours are not working properly, it needs extra time to begin functioning. Here’s an analogy, it’s like beginning a race with a sprained ankle. You can’t get your proper jump start but with time, you warm up and are able to run with less discomfort.

Ugh. Not the answer I wanted to hear but it does make sense. So over the years, I have come up with little things that have helped me manage my mornings to the point where I am mostly on time to work. Let’s take a look:

Wake up earlier

This seems to be the biggest help. When I was working my 9-5, I would literally wake up about 2.5 hours early so that I had plenty of time to sit in the washroom and allow my gut to adjust. Honestly, there were still some days that it just wasn’t enough. There always seemed to be days where right when I am about to leave the house, the urgency hits, and I have no choice but to run back inside and deal with it. But overall, it is a good idea to wake up early and allow your body proper time to deal with multiple stops to the bathroom.

Eat safe foods for dinner

Don’t ever try a new food the night before you need to head to work. A rule I have for myself is if I am feeling rebellious, always rebel for lunch. Therefore, if things go bad, you have the rest of the day to deal with the consequences, and usually, by the time you hit the hay, the worst has passed.

As weeknights are concerned, I suggest eating only your safe foods for dinner so that the next morning doesn’t end up in agony. It will help keep the urgency to a minimum.

Use peppermint essential oil

This tool has become my best friend. I use a high-quality therapeutic peppermint essential oil that I keep in my bathroom and purse at all times. In the mornings if I am having the feeling of urgency, cramping, nausea, or really any digestive discomfort, I apply the oil on my abdomen. It helps to get things moving which helps get me out of the restroom sooner and off to work at a more timely pace. Just a side note, not all oils are meant to be applied topically, so make sure you do your research if this is something you are interested in using.

Lay out your clothes the night before

Since most of us are dealing with the non-stop visits to the restroom in the morning, it is imperative to make all other tasks ready to go. So layout your clothes the night before so dressing is quick. I also suggest having your lunch packed the night before if you bring your lunch with you, so all you have to do is grab and go. The fewer tasks you have to complete in the morning means less stress and rush which helps keep symptoms calm.

Go to bed early

Due to the fact we are waking up earlier than usual in order to fit in bouts of urgency, it’s important you get your proper rest. So head to bed at the proper time so you get 7-8 hours of sleep. I don’t know about you, but not getting enough rest also triggers symptoms for me and of course, only adds to the dilemma of being late.

What tips or tricks do you use to help get you to work on time in the mornings? Share below, we love to hear from you!

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