Coping with IBS during COVID-19: Part 2 - IBS specific self-care

drinking cup of tea self care

Dakota Rhys-Jones - Research Dietitian, 30 March 2020

The corona virus is sweeping through our planet at a rapid pace, bringing with it a heightened sense of uncertainty and anxiety. For those with IBS, this added stress may bring extra symptom flare ups. Part 2 of our blog series is designed to give you specific tips and tricks to maintain your IBS during this stressful time. If you missed part 1, click here. 

Abdominal massage:

Abdominal pain and bloating generally occur due to a buildup of gas in the intestinal tract, which irritates the hypersensitive gut of an individual with IBS. Rubbing the abdomen can relieve some of the pressure that is built up by these gases and reduce pain. 

Lie down on your back, and rub in small circular motions, starting with down near your pelvis on the right side and moving your way up the abdomen until you reach the bottom of your ribs, across and then down the left side  for 10 minutes, or as long as you need. Play some calming music, and use this as a way to unwind from the day’s events. 

Mindfulness exercises: 

Mindfulness techniques have been used for thousands of years in Eastern cultures, as a technique to calm the mind. The aim is to non-judgmentally focus on the present moment, letting go of the past and the future. The use of breath, object or body part as a focal point are common techniques that are used. A 2011 study found that mindfulness training had superior symptom reduction compared to a support group, for individuals with IBS (1)

With technology at our fingertips more than ever, there are some great apps* you can use to help guide you through your meditation: 

If apps aren’t for you, a ‘body-scan’ is also a great way to mediate. If you are someone who prefers to be more guided, a quick YouTube search of ‘body-scan meditation’ will bring up hundreds of options. This technique uses the body as a focus point, drawing awareness and sensations to each body part, one by one. 

If this kind of formal meditation still isn’t for you, focusing on the present moment can also be done throughout the day. A simple idea is to eat your food with no technology or distractions, chew slowly and focus on the sensations and textures that food has to offer. 

Drinking Tea:

The process of making and drinking tea is a great form of relaxation, as well as increasing fluid intake to avoid dehydration. Have a look at our app to see which teas are low FODMAP, as a few do contain FODMAPs. Peppermint and green teas are delicious low FODMAP teas you can enjoy with no worries about symptoms. Interestingly, chamomile tea, which is generally used for relaxation and to help with sleep, are high in fructans at 1 cup.  

Note: If symptoms are severe during this extra stressful time, we would suggest limiting excess caffeinated tea consumption. 


1. Gaylord SA, Palsson OS, Garland EL, Faurot KR, Coble RS, Mann JD, et al. Mindfulness training reduces the severity of irritable bowel syndrome in women: results of a randomized controlled trial. The American journal of gastroenterology. 2011;106(9):1678-88.

*Please note, we have no affiliation with these apps, we just think they're great. 

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