How to survive Xmas with Irritable Bowel Syndrome
So Wham! is playing on the radio.......you are considering if it is time to put up the Christmas tree, and there are sparkly lights to illuminate your drive home...... yes folks, the festive season is well and truly upon us.
This brings different feelings, experiences and challenges for each of us.
Some of us get a warm glowy feeling, and those familiar triggers create happy memories and the promise of good times.
For others, it can trigger difficult feelings, worries and present a whole set of Xmas specific challenges. For stress and anxiety - which is ever so closely linked to IBS flare ups, let's be honest, a week or two squished in a house with all your long lost family will do the trick in triggering higher levels of discomfort!
Or maybe not having those people to be around causes sadness.
Especially worsened if you suffer with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or struggle with your digestion system - bloating, gas, constipation, nausea, cramps, pain, low mood, low energy, diarrhoea are just a few of the symptoms. Not ideal when you want to fit in that sparkly dress at New Year, and your surrounded by yet more food and alcohol.
Recipe for disaster! Pun intended.
So what can we do about it!? As someone who suffered badly with undiagnosed IBS for years, I know how hard it is, and how it can affect your quality of life. Especially when the food, environment and stress levels change - like at Xmas . And even when my IBS was diagnosed, I still felt very much on my own to self medicate and figure it out, I knew I had to help myself.
So......here I am going to share with you my best tips, information, advice and knowledge that I have acquired in the years of healing myself and training as a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner so that I can spread the love and help others too.
!. The first important thing to understand is how connected the mind and gut are. Some call the gut our "second brain". When we have stress, worry, anxiety or emotional turmoil - we feel it in our tummys first!
If we are in a constant state of "fight or flight", all that adrenaline pumping around our bodies and the stress hormone Cortisol, the digestive system can not function properly. It gets sluggish and can't break down the food properly, causing the gas, bloating, discomfort. So ANYTHING you can do to relax, and manage your stress levels will contribute to lessening symptoms and preventing flare ups.
2. MAGNESIUM - This is a mineral which we naturally have in our diets and body's, but many of us our deficient in it through stress, poor diets, not being able to absorb nutrients efficiently because of IBS, and alcohol and caffeine consumption. I always shout this from the roof tops to my clients. It is a simple supplement you can get cheaply from any supermarket or health food store, it will neutralise over acidity in your stomach because it is alkaline. It is detoxifying, it really helps with anxiety, aids deep sleep, and will regulate bowel movements. Seriously it is magic. It is even great for aching muscles. Always check with your doctor against any medications. Top tip - I take them at night because they make me all calm and sleepy.
3. FOOD - Think of your body like a car- if you put the wrong fuel into it, how long before it breaks down and can't continue functioning properly! As a starting point, considering cutting out dairy and gluten could go a long way in helping you.
When our digestive systems are already struggling because of the stress I talked about above, we can not break down these foods as easily as others. Many IBS sufferers feel better when they avoid these foods. I would advise keeping a food diary and writing down everything you eat, what time, how you felt afterwards so you can start to have awareness of the impact. Top tip - cut one thing out at time so you can notice the different changes and how your body responds.
I remember the week I cut out wheat and dairy, I felt like my brain fog lifted. The drowsiness and low mood went and I could think clearly again!
4. BALANCE - Our bodies have thousands and millions of processes that all need to work in harmony for us to feel healthy and well - this is called homeostasis. One of the ways I keep my body balanced and working in harmony is self care. Enough sleep, rest, work life balance and REFLEXOLOGY. A treatment of the feet that balances your entire energy system and is deeply relaxing. You can have this treatment with me at half price for your first session! Come and try it out.
5. ROOT CAUSE - There was a time when you didn't have IBS. A time when you didn't feel sick. When you could eat what you wanted. When you simply didn't have to think about it at all. Your body just worked. So what happened? There may have been an event, a time in your life, or a series of circumstances. That were stressful, when you were unhappy, when you didn't feel safe in the world on some level. This may have been as a child or an adult, it doesn't matter.
The good new is.....you can get back to that time when you felt good, healthy, normal.
By accessing the subconscious mind, which holds and stores all of your memories, experiences, fears, worries, beliefs ( and by the way is also totally responsible for keeping you safe and regulating your digestive function.....funny that, isn't it! Coincidence? I think not) We can make it safe again, regulate your gut function back to normal balance and harmony, and clear any lingering root triggers and causes, so that you can get on with your life without these bothersome symptoms.
You can listen to youtube guided meditations at home for this, or you can come to my upcoming workshop in North Leeds, December 16th 2-4PM at HealthWise Leeds Therapy Centre in LS7. We will have discussion time to learn all about the mind-body connection, we will learn Emotional Freedom Technique to manage stress and we will have a group hypnotherapy session to access your subconscious and begin the healing process. You will also receive my IBS Hypno audio to continue the healing at home. All for just £30 - you can find more info and book on the events page on my website at www.kirstymarieelliott.com.
I also do courses of one to one sessions for IBS sufferers, you can come for a free consultation to discuss this with me and find out more about how I can help you. My treatment space is in LS8, and one to one sessions are available to woman.
Thanks for reading and I sincerely hope this information and advice helps you on your jounrey to self awareness and healing!
Kirsty Elliott Dip.Hyp