A client with fibromyalgia came to see me recently, and at the end of our session I shared with her all the things I used to do to help me through my fibromyalgia flare-ups.
I realized that this was valuable information that I needed to share with my readers! Here are the first three.
Tip #1: Don’t Take to Your Bed!
I know that sometimes it can be hard to even get out of bed, but if you can, I urge you to do so, especially if you’re capable of some light exercise, cooking or going on outings once in while when you’re not experiencing flare-ups. When you rest and rejuvenate, I recommend you don’t “take to your bed”, which sounds like what a woman does in a Victorian novel. Beds are for sleeping or for ill people in a hospital. Instead, create or find a cozy place in your home or in your yard or patio to rest.
Make it your own space that is comfortable and therefore welcoming and comforting. (This alone can boost mood and give you a fun project to work on!) You don’t have to spend a lot of money renovating it. Your sanctuary can just be a comfortable chair, couch or daybed in a corner. Find your favorite lamp, your favorite blanket, your favorite side table and put them in this corner. Put the most comfortable pillows and all of the things that you find most beautiful in your corner, and even get a small bookshelf and create an altar with these items. These don’t have to be spiritual or religious things, they can just be things that are special to you in some way, including cards, pictures and knickknacks that you like or you think are lovely to look at.
When I used to go to relax and rejuvenate when I had fibromyalgia, I would get everything set up first. I’d get a tray with a good book, maybe my laptop, a journal and a pen that was smooth to write with, and some music. I’d have water or a beverage and maybe some snacks on a side table, within reach. If you paint or are artistic in some way, even knitting or needlepoint, collect what you need to create and keep them in your cozy space. This way I’d have everything I might need within reach so I wouldn’t have to get up and down a lot, as that can be very irritating when you have fibromyalgia. Make sure you retreat to this spot as often as you can in order to rejuvenate.
Tip #2: Get Perspective on your Mood
Sometimes people give themselves a hard time because they’re not “doing more”, or because they don’t have a very positive outlook. They might also be disappointed in themselves because they aren’t going out very often. One client actually said to me, “I guess I just don’t know how to ‘play’ anymore.” I told her to cut herself some slack! It is impossible to feel light and active, and “play” when you feel terrible in your own body—when your limbs ache, when your feet hurt the moment you try to get out of bed in the morning, when you barely have enough grip-strength to turn on the hot shower that you desperately need to rid your muscles, joints and bones of enough stiffness to actually move.
So, it’s probably less about you not knowing how to “play” and more about the fact that you haven’t felt well enough to play in a long time! Of course, when you’re ill, it’s normal to experience some anxiety that you won’t ever start to feel better, and even suffer from depression. This “situational depression” is caused by a number of feelings: you may feel like you’re of less use now, not producing or contributing as you would like to; like your life is getting smaller and smaller around you because you can do less and less and you are getting isolated because you have to decline invitations or cancel at the last minute because you’re having a flare-up…and over time it can feel like no one cares to hear you speak about your pain or call and ask you out again because you have had to cancel more than once before. Talk about depressing! Not to mention feeling like your body has betrayed you, health abandoned you and you’ve aged 30 years in the blink of an eye!
Tip #3: Make a Menu of Pleasant Activities
In order to combat these feelings of depression, write down 50 activities that used to bring you joy—both simple and big things. This is a proven cognitive-behavioral intervention used to treat depression.
Your list could include:
- Taking a shower
- Styling your hair
- Getting a pedicure or massage
- Going to the farmer’s market
- Driving to the beach for a walk or just enjoying the view
- Planting herbs in your garden
- Reading a book or magazine
- Cutting pictures and quotes out of magazines and collaging them
- Cooking a meal
These can be things that cost money, things that are absolutely free; things that take a lot of time, things that don’t take much time at all. The only thing that matters is that these things used to bring you joy. Use these as a “menu” of things to do when you have a chance for some quiet time, but don’t know what to do, and you’re afraid you’ll just sit there being depressed or just switch on the television and zone out. If you want to be more mindful and present, this list can be a great reminder of things to do. And as you do these things, your mood will improve.
Start with these three tips this week, and see how you feel. Check back next week when we’ll have more tips to share on real-life ways of living with fibromyalgia.
Do you know someone—a friend, a family member, a coworker—who is dealing with fibromyalgia? Are they looking for ways to heal without medication? Let me be a part of the solution. Healing from the Body Level Up is an excellent method for getting to the root of the emotional event or trauma that could have instigated the fibromyalgia symptoms, and uses the latest in healing methods to actually make a positive difference.
Please call me for a short, initial consultation or send me an email at email@example.com to make an appointment. Remember—HBLU works just as well over the phone. If your friend with fibromyalgia lives in another city, state or time zone, have them call me for a free initial phone consultation. 949-929-5470* The information provided on this site, including text, graphics, images, is for informational purposes only. It is not to be construed as medical care or medical advice and is not a replacement for medical care given by physicians or trained medical personnel. The Center for Integrative Therapy, LLC nor Amy St. Hilaire do not directly or indirectly practice medicine, nor do they dispense medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or any other medical service as part of this free web site. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider(s) when experiencing symptoms or health problems, or before starting any new treatment. Neither The Center for Integrative Therapy, LLC nor its members are to be held responsible for any inaccuracies, omissions, or editorial errors, or for any consequences resulting from the information provided. By continuing to view this site, visitors indicate acceptance of these terms.