- Yoga, Low-Impact Exercise, and Stretching
It sounds counterintuitive to suggest physical movement when your body is already achy, but this is the best thing you can give to your body first thing in the morning.
When I go a day without stretching, yoga, or some type of light exercise, my body feels more achy and tired, and I am more prone to flare ups.
A little bit is key. Even if it’s to take a 10-minute walk around your neighborhood. Just something.
It’d be a temptation to become a depressed couch potato if no intentional movement is being done on a regular basis. I stick to yoga usually. Find out what works for you!
2. Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
You don’t need me to convince you that a good 8 or 9 hours of sleep do wonders for your day, right? Little hours of sleep make me vulnerable to flare ups, fibro fog, and other fibromyalgia symptoms.
We can all attest that it is a CHALLENGE to manage our chronic pain when we are sleepy, cranky, and lethargic. Something that I ask myself is, “What is preventing me from getting the sleep I need?” To be honest with you, my phone is 99% the reason I don’t fall asleep at the time I had scheduled for.
To protect my sleep, I knew that I needed an evening routine that would keep me away from my phone! Substituting my phone for prayer or reading prepares my mind and body for a good night’s rest which makes it much easier to manage fibromyalgia pain the following day.
What prevents you from getting the sleep you need? Can you substitute it with something more restful?
3. Pace Yourself!
On my “good” days, I find myself stuffing my plate with things to do and do, but this is a road to disaster because my body experiences the effects of overdoing the next day (or in the evening).
How much am I doing today? Can I reschedule this outing? Can I rest for a few minutes before I cook, etc? We don’t need to do it all today.
When I try to stuff in as many things as possible in my day, I am one pain-filled sad and cranky woman. Pacing myself helps me to be honest with my capacity and with my vulnerability to pain.
It’s a whole new layer of responsibility for my body, so if I do too much, I pay the price which is cancelling evening plans or rescheduling my morning plans. Oh, and more fibro pain to deal and manage.
A practical tool that helps me to pace myself is the timer on my phone. The timer helps me to pace myself when I am cleaning, sending e-mais, or other time-consuming activities. Without my timer, I can lose myself in my work and risk getting fatigue and flare ups.
Breaking up tasks into small time segments helps to give my body a break from the go- go-go mentality in my life.
4. Emotional Support
Having a therapist is a game changer for me. For a long time, I didn’t have anyone to talk to about my pains and flares. At least not anyone who would understand me.
It wasn’t until I got a therapist that I shared openly about dealing with fibromyalgia. Verbally expressing the grief and challenges from fibromyalgia helped me to share these specific pains to God when I pray. It also helped me build greater awareness and acceptance with fibromyalgia.
Interior work with a therapist can have a lasting impact in the daily hardcore struggles with managing pain symptoms. Therapy is also great because depression and anxiety often come along with fibromyalgia (as a cause or an effect of fibro), so psychological healing can help improve and manage chronic pain.
If you are not keen to getting a therapist, talking to a trustworthy person can be a breath of fresh air. The point is, we need to be listened to and we need to hear our own selves when we talk about our pains.
Online fibromyalgia communities is also a good option and might be the most appropriate due to social distancing regulations today, but nothing beats face-to-face interaction.
No matter what product or strategy I’m using to manage my pains, I can’t let go of yoga, sleep/night routine, pacing, and therapy. These four ways of managing fibromyalgia pain keep me grounded and ready to combat flare ups when they interrupt my day.
What are your nonnegotiables in your pain management for fibromyalgia or other chronic pain issues?
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