Fibromyalgia is not a disease of one part of the body.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that affects the whole body, and the brain as well. Muscle and joint pain dominate the day, and fibrofog, the mist that enters your brain and messes it up, keeps you wandering about from one thing to the next, never getting anything done quite the way you'd like to. And if that weren't enough, fatigue engulfs the whole body like a blanket- forcing you to spend valuable time recuperating from any seemingly minor physical or mental effort. I hope some of these tips will make your day easier.
Tip 1 Keep a diary.
Whether you write it in the morning or the evening is up to you.Morning diaries can put the previous day in focus, clear your mind and set you up for the day ahead. You can plan for it by setting the alarm twenty minutes to half an hour before you need to get up.
Evening diaries clear your head before you go to sleep, but may be difficult to motivate yourself to do as by the end of the day chances are you will be tired. But they do suit night owls.
In your daily diary give yourself a general health report. Note how much you achieved during the day, or previous day, and any problems you ran into. Did any events improve your day or make it worse? Did any people particularly help you out, make you feel good about yourself? Or maybe annoy or frustrate you? Make the diary conversational if you like- you are not just a patient with fibromyalgia -you are a person with a life that you might be interested in reading about later!
Writing things down has a strong psychological effect. It helps solidify our thoughts and feelings around an event. In some ways when we write something down we have 'dealt 'with it. And you can look back later and look for patterns.
Writing a diary can also give us prompts for tip 2:
Tip 2 Write a new 'to do' list every day.
It sounds simple but fibrofog has a way of making the simplest day into a maze of jobs, tasks, and things you keep forgetting. You may want to prioritise some jobs, if they've been hanging over you for a few days, or are more urgent.
Keep the list with you at all times- in your pocket, or pick it up when you move from room to room. Look at the list every time you find yourself pausing in your day and wondering what to do next. If you find yourself in a room and can't forget what you came in for your list might help you remember.
Your day will be more efficient and time managed more carefully if you work with a list. Patients with fibromyalgia have to make the most of every little second before pain and fatigue force you to stop.
At the end of the day, check off what you have done. It will make you feel better. And then decide which of the tasks you couldn't get done that need to go on the next day's list. Some things will have lost their importance during the previous 24 hours, and you can feel very clever for not having wasted time on them!
Tip 3 Include the important Self Care tasks on your list. And give them high priority.
They are just as important if not more important than doing the vacuuming or filling in that report. They are what keep you going, and if you're lucky self-care keeps you moving, and reduces pain. So if you find yourself looking at the list wondering what to do next - yoga, meditate, go for a walk, stretch, eat lunch, eat dinner, have a long bath, are all tasks that are next in importance. And get into the habit of really treating those items on your list as important. It's too easy to get pulled along in the rush of doing things (nearly always for others) and neglect yourself. You have no excuse for not doing your stretches or mild exercise if they're on the list.
Tip 4 Check the list before you leave any room, (or office) to go into the next one.
There may be a simple thing you can do, and clear from your list, that you can do now, to save you having to come back here later. If you're in your bedroom on the top floor, and you're about to go to the basement to do laundry, wouldn't it make sense to make that phone-call now rather than have to come all the way back up here? Or if you've managed to get yourself out to the shops - make a list before you go, and then sit in the car for a few minutes after leaving the shop before driving off. You'd be surprised what can come to you, and save you another thrip out later in the week. Maybe run through each member of your family, and try to remember did they ask you for something. Or is there a job at home that hasn't got finished because you're missing something.
Tip 5 Stretch Frequently During Your Day
Stretching is good for everyone but especially for people with fibromyalgia. It opens out spaces in our bodies for blood to flow smoothly and for lymph to clear. Maybe set a timer on you phone, or alarm on your watch to remind you to do some simple stretching exercises. On the advice of a friend I once tried stretching every time my dog stretched (a cat would work as well). But my dog stretches every few minutes when she's not asleep so I had to give up on that one. Stretching especially important when you get out of the car and get up after sitting down or not moving.
Tip 6 Eat and drink well.
Eat healthily, you can get diet tips all over the internet. But EAT WELL also in terms of things you like to eat. Treat yourself occasionally.
The tasks 'Eat Lunch' and 'Eat Dinner' (or whatever meals you prefer) should be on your to do list – don't tell me you've never forgotten. We all have days when we leave too long between meals, and only realise later when we're more fatigued, confused, and easily upset than usual, that our blood sugar is so low, it's scraping the floor.
Tip 7 Alternate mind-heavy tasks with physical tasks. And carefully plan the order you do them in.
A simple bit of advice but one that works. Maybe it would be better to call to your mother before you walk the dog. Will you be almost incoherent, not follow the conversation properly, and keep forgetting words if you're that extra bit tired, and your muscles are doing their usual post-exercise aching and twanging?
Tip 8 Drink plenty of water, or healthy drinks during the day.
If you don't believe this is an important tip – try counting the amount of water you consume over a few days. Everyone is supposed to drink 2 litres a day, but as some people claim that fibromyalgia is caused or aggravated by a build up of toxins in the body, it wouldn't hurt to have a bit more to flush those toxins out. I once counted what I was drinking over a few days and realised I was drinking way too little. I actually put 'Drink' on my list for a few days to get back into the habit of drinking more often. It can even help with fibrofog because the brain operates well below par when it is dehydrated.
Good luck with your day- and I hope this list of tips will help you.