IBS and stress – try these 3 practical tips

IBS and stress

Leading a busy lifestyle can worsen IBS and stress. There is no denying that modern day life is fast paced. Do you often feel like you cannot keep up with what is going on around you? You are not alone! This habit of always feeling the need to do something puts the body under stress. Evidence suggests that IBS and stress affects gut health. Continued exposure to stress increases IBS symptoms and prolongs flare ups.

Research shows that lifestyle and dietary changes help manage symptoms. Dietitians apply their knowledge of nutrition to identify IBS triggers. Dietitians also incorporate lifestyle advice to keep stress at bay. By making a few changes to your lifestyle you can improve how to deal with IBS and stress. You might also like to read my blog 3 tips about dealing with IBS.

People with busy schedules may struggle to find time to manage IBS symptoms. Try these 3 practical tips!

1. Plan meals ahead with IBS and stress

When you lead a busy lifestyle food often comes last in the list of priorities. It is easy to work through lunch and reach for something convenient. Similarly, if you work late or have busy evenings dinner can be an afterthought. Regularly planning ahead will form a habit and your gut (and you!) Will not be as stressed. An easy way to plan meals in advance is to cook in bulk (make extra) and have it for a few days. Ordering groceries online is another great way to save time for people with IBS and stress.

Stuck for time when meal planning

If you cannot plan your lunch in advance, options for healthier ‘on-the-go’ are available in supermarkets such as chicken and salad sandwich, halloumi salad, fresh vegetable soup etc. It’s better to skipp the dressing and take soms olive oil if you choose salad. If you have a busy evening coming up and have no meal prepared, you could buy an IBS-friendly ready meal like roast chicken with potatoes and steamed vegetables.

2. Mindfulness for IBS and stress

An effective way to manage IBS and stress is to become fully present in your day. Mindfulness is the practice of bringing your attention to the current moment and being aware of your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and surrounding environment. Setting aside time to unwind is really important for IBS and stress. Even 10 to 15 minutes is beneficial. There are many meditation and breathwork apps available that guide you through the process. Mindfulness improves IBS symptoms and quality of life by controlling stress levels.

Mindfulness at mealtimes – mindful eating

If you suffer from IBS and stress, mindfulness at mealtimes can also be very effective. Free up 30 minutes to eat your meals in a calm environment. Put your phone on silent to avoid distractions. Eating meals when distracted and in a rush tenses the gut and increases the amount of air gulped in through the mouth. This causes bloating, cramping and flatulence. Practice focusing on your meal and enjoying the flavors. When you eat mindfully the gut is not tense. A relaxed gut means less bloating, cramping and flatulence after eating.

3. Sleep for emotional health and digestion

Getting enough sleep is crucial for emotional health and wellbeing. Adults should aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. A lack of sleep affects mental health which increases stress levels. The digestion of food is also impacted. Furthermore, people who do not sleep enough are likely to make dietary choices that worsen IBS symptoms. This includes drinking more caffeine (coffee, energy drinks) or opting for fast food / takeaway. Caffeine and fatty foods stimulate the gut and increase the risk of diarrhea. Dedicating a few more hours each night to sleep will help improve IBS and stress.

IBS relief program

PDS coaching offers an IBS relief program in English. The IBS relief program consists of 5 main pillars namely: awareness, eating, exercising, energy and resting. With this complete program you’ll discover how you can get rid of your stomach / intestinal complaints, with lasting results, in a way that suits you personally. We always treat everyone individually, focusing on you, your personal situation and your specific complaints. This is the only program you need to regain control over your intestinal complaints.

If you would like to find out more about Janna Koopman’s work as an IBS dietitian and coach, leave a comment below. Do you want more personalized advice? Please contact Janna for an free consultation.

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