10 Tips on Living Life to the Fullest with IBS &/or SIBO

Living with a chronic or relapsing digestive condition is not an easy walk in the park.  When your mind has plans for one thing and your GI tract has a totally different agenda, it is easy to feel a bit out of control.  Having had SIBO –and a few relapses in between–I feel your pain. But…there are ways to focus on the positivity in your life rather than feeling completely defined by your sometimes difficult to control GI tract…and live a much fuller and happier life.

  1. Start each day with gratitude and a fresh start. Perhaps create a gratitude journal in which you can write what you are thankful for every morning or in the evening… a list of people that support you, a favorite memory that makes you smile or how far you have come in managing your health. 
  2. Set goals for traveling, working out, relaxing, and seeing friends or other activities that makes your heart content.  I also periodically write in “NO PLANS” in my calendar to ensure I don’t overbook my schedule. Downtime is so essential too.
  3. Eat foods you love. Even on a special diet, try to modify your favorite brownie recipe to a low FODMAP version or to suit your food intolerance needs. We all deserve a treat.
  4. Think positive! Focus on healthy and healing thoughts each day. What is working well in your life right now? Oh…and if it’s not working, start a plan B, C or D with your healthcare team.  Don’t keep doing the same thing and expecting different results.
  5. Listen to your body.  If you are tired, rest.
  6. Try new foods. Don’t get stuck in a diet rut. If you are on a modified diet–don’t over restrict. Try a new recipe once a week…expand your eating repertoire with the guidance of a GI knowledgeable dietitian.
  7. Take a break from your everyday routine. If you can take a warm bath at noon, take a bath at noon! Watch a movie on Saturday morning. Get a new book and read on a comfy chair with a cup of your favorite tea. Meditate. Play your favorite music. Light that special scented candle. Do things that relax you whenever you can. Say no without the need to provide a reason why.
  8. Get your giggle on. Do things that make you laugh…watch a comedy or funny cat videos on youtube, have coffee or tea with your funny friend. 🙂 Don’t have a funny friend…well, maybe it’s time to add one to your life!
  9. Forgive and forget…let go of guilt. Don’t get in the trap of feeling guilty about your illness (you didn’t cause it) or for eating something you have been told to avoid.  It is not your fault you feel unwell. Noone is “perfect” with their diet nor should they be! Sometimes you might have to opt out of meeting up with your friends when you don’t feel up to it. Good friends will understand and appreciate you don’t feel well and will not take it personally.
  10. Be honest… to doctors, dietitians, and family. It is important that you have a trusting team that knows your symptoms -even the embarrassing ones to help guide you to good health.

What are your favorite life hacks to living a full, well-balanced and healthy life?