It’s Love Your Gut Week 2017 and Love Your Gut partner The IBS Network tackle the issue of going back to work after the summer break…
Summer is over and many of us are looking ahead to autumn with all the challenges that it brings. Going back to work, school or university after a break is often difficult for people, adjusting to having to get up with the alarm and a fully structured day ahead. But for the 12 million people in the UK who are living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, (IBS), this time can be particularly difficult. Even travelling to and from work and to meetings can be very challenging.
However, if you are one of those 12 million, there are a few tactics which might help you adjust to your new routine.
Talk about your IBS with someone
Although it might be embarrassing, talking about your IBS with your line manager or someone you trust might help relieve the pressure a little and break that vicious circle of stress and anxiety about visiting the toilet. Explain the effect that additional stress can have on your symptoms. Keeping it a secret is more likely do you more harm than good. Your colleagues cannot help or support you if they do not know or understand what you are going through.
Take care of yourself
Everyone’s IBS symptoms and triggers are different however, remember, you are not on your own. The IBS Network charity has created the IBS Self-Care Programme to help you manage your IBS http://bit.ly/2w6WM1Q .
Having spoken with your employer you might like to discuss flexible ways of working that will fit better with your condition. Sometimes simple changes to your work environment will make a really positive impact on the way you feel. Eg. moving where you sit in the office which allows you easier (and maybe more discreet) access to the toilet might help you feel less anxious and result in fewer visits. Negotiate regular breaks with your manager and talk about your work load if that is one of your worries.
Your eating routine
Your diet and eating routine can make your IBS better or worse. Even though it might be tempting, try not to miss meals. It’s important that you keep to a routine and eat and drink (non-carbonated and decaf drinks) regularly. If you need some ideas of recipes for a sensitive gut have a look at our website http://bit.ly/29QO78P . Or see Love Your Gut’s new recipes here: http://bit.ly/2xiFPTO .
By having everything you need to hand help you feel more in control. Keep a supply of your IBS medication, along with some wipes or anything else you might need during an attack, like spare underwear. You could purchase one of our emergency kits or maybe make one up of your own.
Practice mindfulness to manage stress
It’s impossible in this fast-paced world to avoid stress altogether. But as you start to understand your body better and your own triggers you will be able to put things in place to minimise their effect. Many of our members say that managing their IBS holistically is key to them taking back control of their lives.
Alison Reid, CEO The IBS Network