Balancing a busy work schedule can be tough for any adult, but for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn\u2019s disease and ulcerative colitis, it can be even more difficult.\nPeople who have been diagnosed with IBD may face similar challenges while in the workplace. \u00a0Manage some of these challenges with the following four tips.\n1. Consider Explaining Your Diagnosis to Your Supervisor\nMany patients may find it difficult to talk about their IBD diagnosis at work. You are in charge of how much you share with your colleagues but telling your supervisor about your diagnosis and explaining the symptoms you experience might help you feel more comfortable while at work.\nThis sharing is completely at your discretion, so don\u2019t feel pressure to be more open than you\u2019re comfortable being. But if you think it will help, try to express your basic needs to your supervisor so you can work together to plan any accommodations you might need.\n\u201cI am extremely fortunate to work in healthcare and have coworkers that understand and have taken care of me during an admission,\u201d says Laci Altman, Member of the Planning Committee and Community Expert Contributor for the 2019 IBD U.N.I.T.E. conference, \u201cThat said, I am very open and honest with them about how I\u2019m feeling. If I need extra help that day, I ask for it. If I need a bathroom break, I let my coworkers know where I\u2019m going.\u201d\n2. Know Your Rights\nPeople with chronic illnesses that substantially impair a major life activity, such as IBD, are protected by The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), passed in 1990. Its purpose is to provide civil rights protection to individuals with disabilities and to guarantee equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, and other settings.\nEmployers must provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants or employees. This includes any adjustments to a job or work environment to enable the employee with a disability to perform essential job functions.\n3. Prepare Ahead for Lunch Breaks with Co-Workers\nLunches can be an excellent opportunity to get to know your colleagues, but for people with IBD who frequently eat restrictive diets, these events can create anxiety. Even the simple task of placing an order can be stressful.\nTo take advantage of company lunches, prepare ahead of time. If you keep a food diary, you are probably aware of which foods trigger your symptoms. Review the restaurant\u2019s menu online to find meals you can safely eat and call ahead to ask the restaurant staff what they can do to accommodate your diet.\nAnother classic tradition of the workplace is the potluck lunch. This is a perfect opportunity for someone with IBD, because you can prepare and bring a dish that is safe for you and that you love to eat. That way, you can enjoy eating lunch with everyone without having to worry about the consequences.\n4. Practice Stress Reducing Activities\nWork can often create a sense of anxiety and stress and can be even more challenging for people with IBD. Stress often triggers IBD symptoms, which leads to more stress and more symptoms.\n\u201cMy job can be stressful and very emotionally draining, and I try not to take that home with me,\u201d Laci says, \u201cbut in a field where caring for others is paramount, sometimes we forget to practice self-care. With IBD, it is very important for me to take care of myself so that I can continue to care for others at work.\u201d\nYou may be able to end the cycle of stress and symptoms by practicing stress-reducing activities.\nThese activities vary from person to person but often include the following:\n\nExercise\nMusic\nSupport Groups\nMeditation\nOr any other relaxing, enjoyable hobby\n\nFind ways to cool down during the day to help you manage your IBD at work.\nBonus tip:\nFor more information about managing IBD and the latest advancements in care, join UPMC for the 2019 IBD U.N.I.T.E. conference. Open to all patients with IBD and their loved ones, the conference will be held on Saturday, March 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.\nAttendance is free, but please preregister by Wednesday, March 20, 2019.\nTo register or learn more visit UPMC.com\/IBDUnite.