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7 IBS Tips to Preserve Your Sanity and Enjoy the Holidays

staff2Bruce loves the holidays. And he dreads them, too.

Every year, Bruce gets anxious about the trip to visit his family for the holidays. Will he get there without an embarrassing incident? Will the drive be miserable because of his constant worry of finding a bathroom when he urgently needs one?

And then there is the problem of what to eat while he’s away from home. Family dinners and fancy restaurants are supposed to be fun, but Bruce can never be sure if they will end well. While catching up, reminiscing, and joking with loved ones, the thoughts in the back of his mind are about whether he’ll have a sudden need to rush to the bathroom and if it will be available when he is desperate.

Bruce doesn’t want to be rude by being picky about what goes on his plate, but it’s hard to tell which dishes will trigger an episode. Plus, dining at restaurants always seems to bring out the worst in Bruce’s digestion issues. He can’t figure out why restaurant food should be worse on his digestive tract than a home-cooked meal, but it often causes him problems. The unpredictability of dining out is stressful for Bruce.

For years, Bruce’s doctors told him that being anxious makes his irritable bowel condition worse. For many people, it’s actually the other way around.

It would be easier for Bruce if he just stayed home alone. But no one should have to forsake the holidays because of digestive problems. Your friends and family are an important part of your life and it is especially nice to be with them at this time of the year.

Fortunately, Bruce has developed some tactics that make the holidays less nerve-wracking and more enjoyable.

Here are 7 tips to help you not only survive, but actually enjoy the holiday season.

1. Shop For Gifts Online

You can get just about anything online these days. And what better way to relieve the anxiety of venturing out than by getting all your shopping done from home? This is an easy one that can make a big difference.

2. Get a Bathroom App

Your smart phone is smarter than you think. It can locate the nearest bathroom just about anywhere you are, and you can read reviews about its cleanliness and comfort ahead of time. This is great for planning your travel route and will help you feel more confident on the road. And while you’re sitting there, why not add your own review? It’s better than scratching your favorite prose on the stall wall! Some of the most popular apps for both Androids and iPhones are Toilet Finder, SitOrSquat (by Charmin®), and Flushd.

3. Be a Giver

This works if you already have some idea about how to manage your diet to minimize your episodes of bowel distress by managing your diet. When it comes to dinner parties, bring or prepare a dish or two that you know won’t
cause you problems. And make it tasty so everyone will enjoy it. You don’t need to tell them your dish is special or different. Just tell them it’s something you wanted to share.

4. Eat Before You Go

This is a simple and effective idea that can make the difference between feeling good and rushing out of the
party. If you know what is safe for you to eat, then eating ahead of time will help with two problems. First, you’ll be more confident about venturing out of the house. Second, you will already be full so you won’t be as tempted to consume other things that could cause you trouble.

5. Research the Restaurant

Once you know where you’ll be dining, call ahead to find out what your options will be. Can they accommodate a
special request if you ask for a modification of a menu item? Or can they make you something that would suit you better? Even looking at the menu online before you go can help you plan. Doing a bit of research means you won’t have to ask your server as many questions to learn about your options, and you won’t have to work as hard to communicate your needs.

6. Be the Host

Hosting the party allows you to control all the variables. You decide what food is available. Your own, comfortable bathroom is nearby. You don’t have to travel anywhere. And it’s fun! Invite your friends and relatives over and enjoy the
holidays by relaxing at home.

7. Decorate Your Bathroom

Yes, you read that right. If you’re going to be spending some extended time there, why not make it more
festive? Put something fun in the loo to commemorate the season.

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