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ibd in the workplace

Have you ever found yourself in a REALLY important meeting and, all of a sudden, feel the insane urge to leap out of your seat, sprint like an olympian to the nearest toilet, and unleash the fury of yesterday’s lunch?

Just me? Alllllllllllllrightythen.

Well, maybe you’ve had to deal with urgency or maybe your IBD symptoms simply make being at work uncomfortable. I find myself doing well managing my symptoms some days and completely succumb to them on other days. Either way, having IBD is hard enough when you don’t have deadlines, meetings, and all of the stresses of a job on top of it.

It has been a long time coming here and now is the time to share my knowledge and wisdom about how I conquer my IBD in the workplace:

Decide How Much You Want To Discolse

When it comes to sharing precious and vulnerable information about anything it’s usually not a pleasant experience. However, with IBD, sometimes it is VERY important for the right people to be informed of what may be going on. Choosing who you disclose your condition and symptoms with will always be an act of strength and empowerment that should never be undervalued. You are bringing someone else into this exclusive club of people that you deem worthy – that’s pretty “Friggen Sweet…” (Family Guy, 1999).

For me, disclosing my IBD situation with my direct supervisor and the bossman or boss lady in charge is something I found to be very helpful. Not only did they understand my condition but also could understand what I am going through and the situation I am facing. They had no problem accommodating me if I needed to step out of a meeting quick, or if I had to let them know that I would be in a few minutes late and even why I didn’t want to join in for workplace treats (even though I really wanted to).

We had an understanding of confidentiality and what I needed in my work environment. This made the workplace a much more comfortable place to be for me.

Be Prepared

This goes without saying when an IBD warrior goes just about anywhere; let alone their job! It is essential that you have all of your bases covered while at work in order to EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED. So, do yourself a favor to ‘make like Scar and “Be Prepaaaaaaaaaaaaaaared” (Lion King, 1994).

This means, making sure you:

  • Have emergency medication on hand in a backback or personal bag
  • An extra set of clothes – even if it’s just a pair of extra undies
  • Store extra supplies for any of your ‘IBD accessories’ like ostomy bags, wet wipes, etc.
  • Keep a decent snack supply that accommodates your diet requirements
  • Know where ALL of the bathrooms are in your entire area. Not just your building but also nearby restaurants, libraries, or other public spaces.

Find a way to cool your jets

Stress can contribute to a lot of different ailments; not just IBD. Do yourself a kindness and figure out a way to manage your stress at the workplace. Take a 5-minute walk outside, meditate in the bathroom, take a nap under your desk – whatever works!

This may take some practice for you but you have to stick to whatever gives your brain a break from work. It can be anything that makes you happy. Personally, it is eating my lunch while watching one of my favorite shows on my phone. During the last 5 minutes of my lunch break, I either take a short walk or close my eyes and sit in silence. Just make sure that one guy from accounting doesn’t come in and ruin your zen.

Your mindset is one of your most powerful tools in controlling stress-induced inflammation in your body.

If your mind is right, your body will follow.

Namastay in bed,