Christmas survival guide

Image of text surviving Christmas

Shirley Webber - Research Dietitian, 19 December 2018

So we have decided to share with you all out top tips for surviving
Christmas to manage IBS so hopefully that would be one less thing to
stress about.

7 Essential steps to surviving Christmas IBS edition:
1. Plan ahead

Freeze meals now before the crazy starts to ensure there are low FODMAP option in the house when things get busy. If your symptoms mainly happen when you are out and about then you may want to look into preparing some low FODMAP snack to have on hand and eliminate the temptation to buy FODMAP filled options.

2. Snack right

Try and avoid greasy snacks that can exacerbate symptoms. Keep snacks to small serving sizes eg. 1 serving of fruit, 1 handful of nuts. Check out our 8 days of Christmas post for more options.

3. Keep it fresh

If invited to join friends or family then offer to bring a side dish eg. salad or a vegetable mix that you know you can enjoy and will leave you symptom free. Also make sure that this is filling in case this is the only “safe” dish in sight.

4. It’s all in moderation

Alcohol can trigger symptoms and therefore consuming limited amounts is recommended. We also advise that alcohol should be consumed with food to reduce the likelihood of resulting in symptoms.

5. Hydration right

It is easy at this time of year to reach for caffeine (coffee) rather than a cold glass of good old fashioned H2O (water) but coffee can be a trigger for many and can leave you regretting every sip. Yes, caffeine can give you an initial high but when this turns into caffeine jitters and a disrupted sleep cycle. If you’ve got some caffeine sensitivities then you may want to swap your coffee for a herbal tea. Check the app for some suggestions.

6. A little exercise can go a long way

Exercise has many benefits and other than the obvious reasons that we always hear (“it helps you stay fit and healthy”) there are other reasons why for those who struggle with IBS exercise can be particularly good. Stress can be a major contributor of IBS symptoms and therefore including exercise in your day to manage this stress may be important. For those with IBS-C (constipation) exercise can help alleviate constipation symptoms and get things moving. This exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous. Just going for a walk, taking the stairs instead of the lift or escalator, join a yoga or Pilates class or going for a jog can help.

7. Rest up

As mentioned stress can be a symptom trigger. If this is you then make sure you get some time to step back and relax. Find a stress management strategy that works for you. This may be talking to someone; a friend, colleague or counsellor. If the stress that you are experiencing is high level and is continuing for an extended period of time then we recommend discussing this stress with your regular GP for extra support strategies. Finally gut directed psychological therapies such as hypnotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy may also help to manage symptoms.

From the Monash Team we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a joy filled time with friends and family.


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