Planning for the New Year

New Year Plans

Dakota Rhys-Jones - Research Dietitian, 21 December 2020

Celebrating the New Year is a time of reflection – we have a moment to look back on the year that was, and welcome the fresh beginnings of the unknown. 2020 was a year like no other, and with normal life feeling a little closer than it was before, we suggest taking some time to plan for a positive start to 2021. This blog focuses on lifestyle related New Year’s goals, for those who have endured IBS through a global pandemic! Read our previous blog for more food and nutrition related New Year’s goals for individuals with IBS. 

Stress management

Our blogs this year related to both COVID-19 and mental health, focused on the brain-gut connection – the relationship and impact exacerbated psychological and gastrointestinal stress can have on one another. If stress is an issue for you, 2021 might be a year to implement a regular stress management technique into your routine. Some of our favourite things to unwind include mindfulness based meditations, journaling, regular exercise, and drinking tea. You may only spend 5-10 minutes each day on these techniques - find something that works best for you and your routine! For those who feel overwhelmed and need extra support for stress management, seeking the support of a psychologist is an entirely appropriate mental health goal for 2021.

Changes in routine

  • Social events

Globally, we have seen periods of lockdowns followed by moments of freedom, potentially followed by more lockdowns. Feelings of social anxiety coming out of this pandemic have been felt world-wide, and this may exacerbate IBS symptoms. Dining out is a time of great joy but can also be problematic for individuals with IBS - events where there is an option to take a low FODMAP plate of food may be more appealing, however, eating out may be unavoidable in some situations. Read our blog about how to best plan for eating out here

For those out there that may be experiencing this social anxiety, remember that these feelings are completely valid. Our advice to reign in some of these social stressors is to plan ahead and remember that you don’t need to attend every single event straight away. Be kind to yourself and take your socialising post covid-19 lockdowns at your own pace.

Working/learning arrangements

You may be preparing to transition from working from home arrangements back to your place of working or learning for 2021. This may not happen immediately for everyone, however changes to routine may amplify stress for some people – with more time spent commuting, getting ready, preparing meals etc. You may have gotten used to doing a bit of extra housework throughout the day, or squeezing in some exercise on your lunch breaks that once wasn’t part of your day in the office. 

Our tips for this transition are to plan for your new routine – whatever that may be. Reflect on your old routines, both from the office days and from working from home days, and identify how you would like to take parts from each into 2021. From a low FODMAP point of view, getting ahead with meal preparation and freezing foods for the weeks ahead is always a good idea. Some of our favourite low FODMAP meals that are great frozen include our: spaghetti bolognaise, stir-fry beef noodles, and the vegetable frittata.

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