In any holiday season family and friends often celebrate around food. For someone with IBS this can build anxiety and stress around food choices and managing painful symptoms in a public setting. You don’t want to be wondering what can I eat, what can’t I eat or where is the closest bathroom? To do so, here are some tips for you to follow this holiday season.
Stress and anxiety can increase your IBS symptoms and make it more difficult for you to deal with your symptoms. It is easier said than done, however being prepared can greatly reduce your stress. Keep a diary or have reminders about your holiday events to decrease stress and make you feel more in control. Also, don’t be afraid to say no to events so that you don’t overextend yourself in these busy seasons.
Snack Before you Leave
Enjoy a small, possibly low FODMAP snack before leaving the house like carrot sticks and dip so that you avoid being starving when you arrive at an event. This will help ensure you have a clearer head to avoid some of the tempting treats that may trigger your IBS.
Drink Plenty of Water
Staying hydrated helps to soften your stool if constipation is a worry for you, otherwise it is also handy if you are prone to diarrhoea to rehydrate you. Alcohol is also not the best idea, it can cause dehydration.
Bring an Emergency Kit
Not the most glamorous, but it is the most practical. Holidays are a very common time to try new things, foods and drinks included. If this sounds like you, you may need to pack any of your regular medications that help you with constipation or diarrhoea, a change of underwear, and cleansing wipes. This can all be discreetly tucked into a handbag.
Bring Your Own Food
Sadly, this may be your only option if you are meeting new people in a new place. This will eliminate any stress about what to eat and you can go in with your head held high knowing you will enjoy yourself and minimise the likelihood of an IBS emergency.
The common goal is to try to avoid some common triggers such as alcohol, dairy and high-fat foods that are commonly consumed around the holidays.
Let yourself enjoy the holidays by following these steps and planning. Call your friends, read the menu ahead of time and communicate with your family about what your options are. To everyone celebrating the holiday season, have a wonderful time and contact me for any IBS concerns.