4 Home Remedies to Treat The Grief Sicks (aka IBS)

Thursday, April 14, 2016

4 Home Remedies to Treat the Grief Sicks // www.thejoyblog.net


Why is it that when life gets stressful, for some of us, our body decides to make it worse by being sick? I call it The Grief Sicks. So, what are The Grief Sicks? Well, they might look different in other people, but the sickness I'm referencing goes by the medical name of IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. 

To explain it in non-medical language, it is when a person's digestive system goes haywire and they are consistently unable to relieve themselves until they're really sick, or they're consistently sick, and are becoming the toilet’s best friend. In blunt terms, you're either constipated or have diarrhea and/or vomit all the time. YAY! Sounds like fun doesn't it?

(Note: See the bottom of this post for more great info on IBS and how to deal with it). 

For some, it only happens when they eat certain things, like dairy or really spicy foods. For others, it only happens when they are overwhelmed with stress or grief. It can look like anything, really, because every person and body is different in how they react to grief. 

When I get severely emotionally stressed, my body reacts in kind, and not only am I battling my emotions, but I end up battling my body as well. This makes it harder for my emotions to get back in check, and my out of control emotions make it harder for my body to get back in check. It’s a vicious cycle, but it can be stopped, with patience, and perseverance.

How do we do that?  Let’s talk about four natural at home remedies to reset your body when The Grief Sicks kick in. I feel a little awkward talking about digestive system issues, but if me speaking up about awkward digestive problems can help another, I’m all for it.

Disclaimer: I’m not doctor. This post is just based off my own experience. If you’re having problems, seek out help from a therapist and/or your general family doctor as well. They may have something that will help you. 

1. SLEEP

Like anything in this life, we can handle our problems better when we get a great night's sleep. If you can't sleep enough hours at night, take short naps when you need a boost. Your body repairs everything that has happened to you that day with sleep. Your emotions are better kept in check when you have enough sleep. I’ve noticed the stressful weeks where I decided to stay up late, I have paid for it in losing the stability of my emotions. When you’re dealing with severe grief, you have to think of everything as medicine. You can’t skip a dose when treating an infection just because you want to, or you’ll pay the price. Sleep is medicine for your soul, for your immune system’s strength, for your body's ability to repair the damage the day's stress caused, and can help you feel renewal when a day has been particularly awful. Just make sure you’re not overdosing on sleep or it will leave you feeling groggy and depressed.

Here’s my non-medically backed prescription: Get one healthy night’s sleep every 16 hours, and take a 15-30 minute power nap as needed during the day.

2. EXERCISE

It never fails that exercise is at the top of every list of dealing with anything health-related and here’s why. Cardio workouts boost positive endorphins in our bodies. I know blanket statements are not always correct, but I believe this to be true through my experiences. If every person that had depression or anxiety were to walk or jog, or even dance, a few times a week for 30 minutes they would see a boost in their ability to cope. The endorphins are real.

Shortly after my mom's death, I quit my job for a summer. I needed a break to deal with my loss. My body was sick all the time and I didn't know what to do. It was summer, so I spent the days gardening, walking, jogging, and riding my bike. Sometimes I even went to the pool to swim. The exercises were never super intense, but those little bursts of exercise each week, gave me boosts to my overall feeling of stress and made it easier to cope with the intense grief I was feeling. Don't get me wrong, I cried A LOT, and I still had IBS issues, but things seemed to go easier with all that exercise. When I went back to work, I felt a huge shift downward because I sat all day indoors. 

Exercise is vital to dealing with intense stress. 

My prescription: Get at least 90 minutes of cardio a week. That’s just 30 minutes over 3 days. I recommend spreading it out. Like, Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday or Monday-Wednesday-Friday. It is hard to do this when you’re sick, and when depression feels like it’s holding you to the couch. Trust me, I get it. I watched more Netflix than I ever want to admit to out loud. Just do it. Think of it as medicine. You have to do it to protect yourself. Cardio is also a great way to regulate your bowels. Ask any gastro doctor. That’s one of the first things they recommend when you’re having haywire bowel functions.

3. DIET

One of the key functions in controlling IBS flare-ups is to control your diet. Stress makes us do bad things to our eating habits. Depression, stress, and anxiety make us want to eat all the bad foods. The ones that taste SO GOOD, but if you’re battling IBS, you can’t do it. Well you can, but it will keep you feeling awful. If your body is regularly having digestion problems, I recommend eliminating all junk food to the best of your abilities. I got rid of sodas, lots of candy (I still eat some on occasion because… SUGAR). I also eliminated lactose and really greasy foods from my diet. 

It is possible to fix the IBS and maintain good digestive health. You can live a normal life and not have to know the quickest route to a clean toilet everywhere you go. I promise. IBS is a regular visitor with my generalized anxiety, so I’ve mastered this controlled diet on and off. It takes time though. Be patient. It took a month before I saw results after I cleaned up my diet, but when they finally came they were the most wonderful feeling I’d felt in a long time. You can get through a lot of hardship when your body is able to digest foods properly. It’s much harder to deal with the hard things life throws at us when you’re sick from eating, or hungry because you don’t want to be sick for the fiftieth time that day.

My prescription: Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, and eliminate the junk and whatever else causes stomach upset so you can reset your body.

4. HAVE PATIENCE AND PERSEVERE

This is so necessary. You cannot get through it if you don’t understand that your body is grieving. Our bodies grieve just like our minds do. They are connected in every way. This is why your body is going haywire to begin with. Be patient. Understand that as you start to get a handle on things emotionally, your body will react in kind. Also understand that as you start to get a handle on your health, your emotions will react in kind. It’s all encompassing. Persevere in your goal to feel better. Be regular in your efforts. Sleep well, eat well, and move your body to improve it’s functioning. Yes, relax when you need to. Grief is hard, depression is hard, and you will not want to do anything. It is totally ok to be sad, and have periods of wallowing. You need to get the negative emotions out so you have room for the good ones. 

Just remember, grief takes time to heal. You won’t just forget about the person you lost and move on. If you do, that’s ok too. We all experience things in our own way. Some people have a short bout with grief, others don't even start grieving for months or years. Others grieve intensely and for long periods of time. Every person is different. But take care of your body and it will be able to get through the hard situations better than a body that just lies in one place and refuses to go on. You must keep pushing through the hard times. 

My husband taught me that in any situation where you have to survive, you have to keep moving or you’ll die. I took this to heart, and applied it to everything. I couldn’t just sit in my huge pile of grief, I had to keep moving. I had to keep going to work even though I was miserable. I had to wake up and get dressed every day and keep trying. I had to focus on my diet and eat foods that didn't make me sick, and nourished me. I had to focus on today and not on the long-term. I had to say, "Today is all I can work with, so I will focus on what I can do today." If you do this, suddenly, each of those days become weeks, and the weeks become months, and the work you have put in to get through The Grief Sicks, has paid off. 

You’ll get there. I promise. Just don’t give up. Persevere.

My Prescription: Be patient with yourself, and keep moving forward. Don’t give up, the time must pass for you to heal, there is no way around it.


++ Have you had The Grief Sicks or dealt with IBS? What did you do to get through it? Got any more tips? Please share them in the comments below.


GOOD INFO ON IBS:
    Web MD – http://www.webmd.com/ibs

GOOD INFO ON GRIEF:
    Mayo Clinic –
    Psychology Today – https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/grief
    Grief.com – http://grief.com






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3 comments

  1. This is great advice. I don't have IBS, but I do have anxiety, and it definitely gets worse with grief or stress. Exercise is one of the things that helps me the most. I'm able to get out of my head for a little bit, and get those endorphins too. Thank you for all the IBS info too.

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    Replies
    1. I am an anxiety sufferer too. Exercise is seriously the best treatment for mine. If I exercise regularly, the anxiety is almost non-existent. If only I could always be super diligent in my treatment of it. Thanks for your comment.

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  2. When I get anxious I definitely get IBS symptoms so I can relate. Exercise is the #1 thing that has helped both, and keeping busy with hobbies that make me happy. (Like blogging!)

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