My IBS is Struggling with Not Having a Routine and So Am I

avon beach

Anyone else finding it tough to get back into some kind of a routine this year? Please tell me it’s not just me. I am massively struggling, which means my IBS is struggling too.

I’m waking up when I fancy, pottering around a bit, stopping for a bunny cuddle, tidying, doing the washing up (this is unheard of), I even did a big clean of the flat and took my local ducks some defrosted peas to eat and documented it on Instagram – check my Story highlights. Riveting, I know. Anything but sit at my desk and start cracking on with those tasks on my slightly overwhelming list.

I guess feel lost. While my last job wasn’t my identity, it gave me a sense of security and a routine. I had a definite time to get out of bed. To get to the office. To have lunch. To leave. To get home. You get my drift. That was 5 days of the week sorted and scheduled. I like order, as does my gut.

The whole not-having-a-routine thing is not something my IBS is on board with. It started after Christmas, with me waking up too late to have breakfast, swapping meals for snacks, you get the picture.

I haven’t had any of the usual terrible stomach cramps – phew – but my stomach has not been happy. At all. I have IBS-D so have the pleasant experience of having loose-bowel movements but the frequency has really ramped up. It’s time-consuming being locked in the loo and it’s bloody boring. The more I have to go, the less energy I have. I feel drained and lethargic and then the last thing I want to do is focus on planning, building a website and working out my marketing strategy.

I took myself away for a little break to the seaside for fresh air, fresh perspective and no distractions. It was great, don’t get me wrong. But you should know that I took my IBS with me. The anxiety of going on a trip alone, spending 24 hours a day with my thoughts and my thoughts only, was a lot. I got, as I like to call them, the nervy IBS poos. You know, the ones where you’re a mix of excited and a bit nervous, you have butterflies in your tummy and have to run to the loo a lot. That. Add to that I was being very flexible with what I eat thanks to a change of mindset that happened last year and man was I going frequently.

On the last day of my trip it got a bit much. I’d emptied my bowels three times within an hour on my last morning. I was fed up. Over it. I’d planned to check out early, walk down to the beach to grab some brunch – likely to be featuring an avocado smashed on sourdough – before a stroll and then catching the train home. Instead, I got pissed off and packed up but was so determined to not let my IBS take over, I took myself for one final bout of fresh air.

Avon Beach

Being outside, near nature and in particular water, I feel calm and alive. I forget about how painful my stomach feels or when I might next need to sprint to the loo. My senses feel heightened but relaxed. My shoulders drop from their hunched position under my ears. I can breath deeply without the bubbles of anxiety beating in my chest.

That 30 minute walk distracted me from intensely focusing on my stomach and how let down I felt. Instead it stretched me. Challenged what I thought I could do when in the middle of a flare, because at one point in the past, I would never have left the bathroom, let alone the house.

I still had a poorly and sensitive gut, but it hadn’t shat all over my plans. Just shifted them sightly. And I was ok with that. I’m pleased to report I made the 3 hour train and cab journey home without any hiccups or desperate toilet trips.

My IBS went a bit bat-shit cray last Friday too. I’d finally got round to tackling some boring business admin tasks, of which there seem to be many. I was in full swing, ticking them off one-by-one, giving myself a pat on the back, celebrating the fact that I’d made an inroad. I’d really started to make my dream a reality. I’d had a safe lunch of courgette pasta, something I eat time and time again, when I felt what I can only describe as an aggressive rumble. It felt like a volcano, which has lay dormant for hundreds of years was threatening to become active in my gut. It shocked me so much I jumped, clutching my stomach before sprinting to the toilet.

I won’t give you all the details but I will tell you three things.
1) It was explosive.
2) We’re talking type 7 on the Bristol Stool scale.
3) I was very glad to be in the comfort and safety of my own home.
Because when you add that all together you get extreme tiredness wash over your entire body.

I find this one of the most debilitating parts of my IBS actually. It often has me feeling so lethargic I can’t move. It becomes an effort to lift an arm. To change positions where I lay on the sofa. My tank is empty, in all senses of the word.

It calls for one thing and one thing only. A bubble bath. My rescue remedy. Obviously only prescribed once the dreaded D has stopped. I let my heavy body sink down, the water taking the load off. The heat helping ease any bloating and discomfort.

I’ve spent the weekend feeling ropey but pushing through it. I repeatedly remind myself that my IBS doesn’t control me. That I’m the bloody boss of this body and shitting hell, gut, that includes you too. I mean, I could hardly miss a trip to Bicester Village, which I’d planned, with my mum and her partner on the hunt for her 60th birthday pressie from the family. Or miss the fact that I wanted to sneak into Anya Hindmarch for a cheeky stroke of the bags. If I hadn’t gone I would have missed out on the perfect presents for her and for me. *cough* I deemed my new handbag the ultimate redundancy pressie from me, to me *cough*

I’m writing this on Sunday afternoon – with a gut which has calmed down – with every intention of starting a new routine Monday morning.

I want to wake up before 7:30am, start with some yoga and positive affirmations before moving to my desk to start planning out how my week looks. I want to break for lunch followed by a walk into town, before cracking on again for a couple of hours in the afternoon. What’s more I want to make an effort with my appearance. I want to put on a midi skirt. Maybe some mascara. Maybe some kind of sequin or glitter sock. Because I know that if I make an effort, I’ll feel better, which as a result will make me want to do more.

I’m writing it down here to give myself some accountability.

I’m aware that this whole process of running my own business is going to be hard, that I’m going to have to face my anxieties head on, push myself out of my comfort zone, and that all of that could disrupt the balance with my IBS but if I can get a hold on a routine, that’s got to help.

Got any routine tips to share? Hit me up.

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2 responses to “My IBS is Struggling with Not Having a Routine and So Am I”

  1. Avatar Jackie Erickson says:

    Jo I found your blog on a particularly difficult night struggling through one of the worst flares of IBS-D I’ve ever had after being diagnosed with it 12 years ago. I can’t tell you how much reading your blog posts have helped me. To simply know that I am not alone, that there is another blonde babe out there living her life despite her anxiety and IBS that follows along with it…. it’s incredibly comforting. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

    • Jojo Jojo says:

      Hi Jackie, man do I know where you’re coming from. I hope it’s eased now. You are definitely not alone, there are bloody loads of us. From one blonde babe to another, you’ve got this. It can be a struggle but you are the boss of your own body. Even if sometimes it likes to tell you otherwise. Glad I could provide some comfort. Jo x

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