A person looking at a very inflamed colon while rubbing their temple. Overlaid on the image is a plan of action.

Tackling a Post-Holiday Flare-Up

It's January, the start of a new year, and, unfortunately for me and many others, the start of a flare-up too. Each year, just after the holidays, I really struggle. And it turns out this is actually pretty common.

Whether it's simply eating, drinking, and socialising too much, not finding time to rest in between gatherings, or food on your plate that contains triggers, the days post-Christmas indulgence can be hard. I find it takes a few days to catch up with me, usually just in time for me to say, "Happy new year!" as I spend it in the bathroom.

If you're in the same boat, I thought I'd share a few things I'm doing to help my belly this week!

How I'm recovering from a post-holiday IBD flare

Keeping an eye on Crohn's or colitis symptoms

Obviously, if my Crohn's symptoms worsen, I can't tackle a flare-up alone. I am due a pill cam in the next month, so that will hopefully let me know if I need any more medication, but I will keep an eye on my symptoms in the meantime.

Making soup

I've shared some of my soup recipes on here before, but soup is always a must when I'm flaring. I've made a big batch and stocked up on bone broth. I tend to mix bone broth with soft, easy-to-digest root vegetables, such as sweet potato, potato, and squash. I cook until soft in broth and then blend! I make a few batches at a time to get me through the next few days.

Drinking herbal tea

I am sticking to herbal tea – peppermint and fennel are particularly helpful, but I sometimes drink turmeric tea too. I try to drink this as soon as I wake up to hopefully get my digestion off to a good start.

Lowering my fibre intake

Temporarily, I also am lowering my fibre intake and adopting more of a low-residue diet. Of course, fibre is important. But when I am unwell, a low-residue diet works better, so I am sticking to things such as mashed potato, gnocchi, white rice, and white gluten-free bread. Of course, I mentioned vegetables above, but I stick to soft-cooked vegetables such as sweet potato and squash.

Doing yoga

One of my New Year's resolutions was to try to exercise daily. Yoga is a low-intense workout and I find it really helpful for belly pain. On YouTube, there are quite a few different yoga workouts specifically for digestive conditions such as IBD. I aim to do one 10-minute yoga routine before bed to hopefully help me get a good night's sleep.

Drinking elemental shakes

Finally, I also have been having elemental shakes for breakfast. Elemental shakes are prescribed by a dietician when a patient is undergoing a purely elemental diet without solid food. (These are liquid shakes with all the nutrition you need but in liquid form.) However, I have a few on hand to take occasionally – so I have been having one for breakfast and having a proper meal for lunch and dinner. Sometimes it helps, but I get so hungry!

IBD flare recovery after the holidays

Are you currently flaring post-holidays like me? Let me know how you are dealing with it in the comments below. Of course, it's important to remember to always speak to your medical team immediately if you feel your symptoms aren't resolving.

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