10 Tips for the Holiday Season

The Holiday Season Doesn't Have To Cause Your IBD To Flare

We know that stress can worsen the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and while the holiday season is enjoyable, it brings a certain amount of challenges. Fortunately there's a lot that people living with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis can do to head off problems this time of year before they even start.

1

Keep To Healthy Routines

clock
Time is going to be your worst enemy and your best friend. Healing will take time -- don't rush it!. Image © Billy Currie Photography / Moment / Getty Images

Continue to take medication on time and get regular rest. Straying from the diet and daily routine that is working could bring on a flare-up of the IBD. Maintaining a schedule is difficult with so many extra responsibilities added to an already overloaded schedule, but for those with IBD, health needs to come first.

2

Beating The Blues

Contemplating her next move
PeopleImages / Getty Images

When it's clear that the holiday blues are coming on, don't be hesitant to talk to a healthcare provider. Mental health is important with IBD because being chronically ill can be a trigger for anxiety and stress. The sooner that the problems are addressed, the better the holiday season will go. 

3

Don't Party Too Hard

Group of friends sharing a meal.
Gary John Norman / Getty Images

Decide which social functions are realistic to attend without causing too much stress. Running around trying to make an appearance at every holiday party can leave people with IBD too tired to enjoy any of them. Be up front with family and friends about holiday plans. Let them know that passing on some traditional holiday foods is necessary in some cases in order to avoid being ill. For those that are throwing a party, keeping it simple can help in saving energy and frustration.

4

Be Smart About Shopping

Woman Shopping
Do you need to buy all new clothes? Probably not! You can make your wardrobe work with your stoma. Image © Paper Boat Creative / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Holiday shopping while wondering where the restrooms are isn't anyone's idea of fun. Why not do all the shopping on the Internet or by catalog? Remember that starting early is necessary to give plenty of time for shipping. Avoid financial stress after the holidays by budgeting for holiday shopping. Stick to a budget to avoid impulse buys, over spending, and over shopping.

5

Be Mindful of Holiday Drinking

Cocktail
If drinking bothers your IBD, make sure you steer clear. Photo © mluedtke

Holiday gatherings tend to be centered around food and drink. Be sensible about holiday drinking. Some people with IBD find that alcohol can contribute to symptoms such as diarrhea or gas, while others find that a cocktail is fine. Knowing the limits on drinking and sticking to them is important to remaining healthy during the holiday season.

6

Take A Break

Clouds
Need a break? Then take one, and don't let anyone get in your way. Photo © Simona Dumitru

Take a time out for a break when one is needed. The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can be detrimental to overall health when rest isn't taken into consideration. Some quiet time to de-stress is important. It doesn't have to be anything formal—it could be any activity that is relaxing.

7

Prepare Well For Holiday Travel

Map of the highway system
Road trips are not out of the question when you have IBD. You just have to make a plan. Image © National Highway Transportation System

It doesn't matter if the holiday includes travel across the country or across town, be sure to make solid preparations. Leave plenty of time to get to a destination—and be sure to plan in some bathroom breaks!

8

Share The Love

Family
Bring your family and friends into the fold, and with them behind you, you can better achieve your goals. Image © Credit: Sam Edwards / Stone / Getty Images

Remind family and friends of your love by telling them. Take the time out of busy schedules to reconnect with the people that are important. After all, this is what the holidays are all about! It has the added benefit of improving mood for everyone involved.

9

Holiday Greetings

Mailbox
Take a little shortcut and get one item checked off your list really quickly. Photo © Felixco, Inc.

Save time and money and send some Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or New Year emails or social media greetings instead of the paper variety. Fewer people are sending paper greetings and many don't  mind receiving holiday wishes through email, Facebook, or text, especially if it includes pictures or details about the year.

10

Remember That Life Isn't Perfect

Dropped Cupcake
Whoops! Mistakes and upsets happen -- what matters is how you deal with them. Photo © Michael Lorenzo

Too many of us strive to have the "perfect" holiday parties and gifts. It's a better plan to cut ourselves a break—everyone can still have a great time even if the food and decorations don't turn out picture perfect. Its more important to be with the people that understand IBD and offer their support.

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