How Working from Home Has Made my Life Easier
My IBS journey started at the very beginning of my career, and at the beginning of a new job, too. Not only did I have to adjust to a new workplace, new responsibilities, and new colleagues, but I also had to learn how to live with my IBS all at the same time.
Unfortunately, I don’t think I managed to deal with it all that well. I don’t know how I would have felt about my job without IBS. But with the illness, I did struggle with massive anxiety every single morning and felt uncomfortable around my colleagues. Maybe I just started associating my workplace with flare-ups, anxiety and feeling miserable. But anyway, I didn’t like it there.
The whole situation impacted other parts of my life, too. I was constantly anxious, ate the same food for 2 years, and refused to go out because I was scared of making my IBS even worse.
So when my boyfriend found a job in a new city and I got the opportunity to move and start over, I knew that I wanted a change. I had always wished to be able to work from home, and so I decided to give it a go.
I don’t worry about IBS in the mornings anymore
When I worked in an office, I mostly struggled with IBS in the morning. Even when I had found a routine that worked for me and got up 3 hours before having to leave, mornings were a struggle.
For one, I had to get up extremely early, and the lack of sleep took a toll on my gut. So even though I was able to deal with most flare-ups at home, I still felt dreadful and anxious every single morning. I lacked energy throughout the day and had trouble falling asleep at night because I was scared of the next day.
Since I started working from home, all of that went away. I still get up early, but I always make sure that I get enough sleep. I don’t have to wait for my symptoms to go away before I start my day because no one cares how many bathroom breaks I take. The fact that I don’t worry so much about my flare-ups anymore has made my life a lot easier.
My flare-ups have decreased
As you can imagine, the decrease in anxiety and stress has had a tremendous effect on my IBS. There are days when I don’t get flare-ups at all!
Before, IBS occupied a good 60% of my overall thinking, maybe even more. I was constantly anxious about it, always looking to prevent symptoms as best as I could. Even though I knew that this anxiety was only making it worse, I just couldn’t turn it off.
Nowadays I don’t think about my IBS nearly as much. Even when I get a moderate flare-up, it doesn’t stress me out as much. I’m able to relax and wait for it to pass. I used to hate my body for doing this to me, and I don’t really get that feeling anymore.
It’s also been quite a while since I had a very bad day. My days now mostly range from no symptoms to moderate symptoms, and I’m very happy about that!
I am able to eat healthier and experiment with foods
When I worked at an office, I was so terrified of upsetting my IBS that I stuck to 3 foods I knew worked for me: sushi, potatoes, and red berries. Vegetables always left me bloated, and I couldn’t deal with that at work. So I barely ate any.
To be honest, bloating is still not fun even when I’m at home, but I decided that I needed to eat somewhat healthy, even if it meant working with a heating pad on my belly.
I’ve been experimenting with different vegetables for the past couple of months and found a couple of things that I can eat without getting symptoms. And I’m constantly working on a balanced diet that doesn’t make me sick but is healthy at the same time.
My anxiety has gotten so much better
I used to be anxious all the time. Not only when I was going to work, but every time I was leaving the house. Going to the grocery store, going out with friends, even going for a walk was a struggle. And while I didn’t let it stop me most of the time, I wasn’t able to enjoy my life like I wanted to.
When I started working from home, I was a little scared that if I didn’t constantly force myself to get out of the house, my anxiety would get worse in the situations where I had to leave the house. But the opposite happened.
Since I'm not as focused on my IBS anymore, I’m sometimes able to go outside without even thinking about getting a flare-up. And since there are so many situations that ended up being symptom-free, I’m less anxious even when I do think about it.
My anxiety is definitely still there and comes through once in a while. But it’s not every day and not even every week. Working from home really has made my life with IBS a lot easier, and I’m so grateful that I get to enjoy every day of my life again.
Do you have difficulties with setting boundaries and saying no?