7 ways to practice self care with IBS

Sometimes we all need a break, especially those of us with an invisible illness who feel the pressure to fight through what we're experiencing because we don't show any outward signs on being ill. I'm here to tell you that's rubbish, everyone has the right to take a bit of times to themselves. When you battle pain and fatigue on a regular basis I think it's only fair to pencil in some self care on a regular basis. Here's how I like to catch up on some rest and relaxation, especially after a flare-up.

Take a bath
Oh god I love baths for absolutely everything. Had a tough day at work? Have a bath. Getting a cold? Have a bath. Just want to unwind with a tonne of bubbles and fancy products? Have a bath. Seriously though, if I'm going through a rough patch with my IBS having a bath really helps. I feel more relaxed and the hot water goes someway to soothing any pain I may be experiencing. I usually find a really hot bath helps so much so (without burning yourself) lay back and relax in as hot a water as is comfortable for you. 

Reading
Getting lost in a good book gives my mind something different to focus on. During a really bad flare up I recommend selecting a book that you love, that your familiar with. One that's a bit like a comfort blanket, it requires very little thinking and a whole lot of comfort and happiness. A familiar book will be easy to slip into which is useful if you're experiencing the brain fog that can come with pain and fatigue.

Get comfortable
Don't feel guilty for taking a day for lounging around in your comfiest clothes or even your pj's. If you're having a tough time, the last thing you need is to be uncomfortable. Find a place that's cosy for you, that may be the sofa, a big chair or even in bed. Do what ever feels the best for you. Surround yourself with pillows, cushions and blankets. A hot water bottle may also be soothing for pains and cramps too, this time is all about doing as little as possible to allow yourself to feel better.

Rest
We're all guilty of pushing ourselves too far and feeling burnt out. With an invisible illness that burnt out feeling can happen much quicker so recognise when it's time for a rest and take it. Running on empty will do nothing apart from make you feel worse and you'll take longer to recover. Give your body the chance to heal itself and build some energy back up. If you really are rundown take a nap, honestly the world isn't going to end because you had an hours sleep on a Saturday afternoon.

Surround yourself with everything to feel better
Sometimes when you're in pain and fatigued the brain fog descends and it can be hard to think straight. Maybe create yourself a checklist of all the things you need close to hand that you can refer to when you need it. That way you're not getting up and down constantly and you can really try to rest and relax. Useful things to have close by might be painkillers, any medication you take, a book, a blanket and plenty of water. Make yourself a cuppa (I have a whole post on how herbal teas can help with IBS symptoms) and gather your essentials.

Watch TV
Much like reading a book, you want to be picking easy viewing with this one. Nothing too taxing on the brain. I actually have a whole blog post coming soon with the best TV shows for when you're not feeling well. Something funny is always a good option and chances are you're not going to be feeling too cheery when you're in the midst of a flare-up.

Have fun
This one is more for when you're on the mend but make sure you do something fun. I'd recommend not doing something that requires too much energy at this point but pick something that brings you joy. This could be anything from a pamper day at home, a movie night or even just cooking your favourite meal. Do something that's going to make you happy. After not feeling great, a little pick-me-up can go a long way to helping you feel better.

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