More On Helping Yourself
There are many ways in which you can help yourself cope with Fibromyalgia:
- Maintain a Fibromyalgia Diary or use an app for your smart phone. Recording your symptoms and what you have done will help when you are talking to health professionals. You might even notice things that affect you!
- Do your best to exercise. It can be difficult, because of the pain it causes, but you need to exercise to keep healthy. The endorphins released during exercise can help your symptoms. Some people report that their symptoms are better when they have a lower weight. If you remember back to before you had Fibromyalgia, exercising still caused pain. The more regularly that you exercise, the less pain that you experience. You built up your strength and stamina. That is still the case when you have Fibromyalgia. It can also boost your immune system so that you get less colds and the like. Exercise helps us in so many ways.
- There are plenty of low-intensity exercise options: swimming, walking, tai-chi and yoga. Start with what you can do now and add a very little bit every day. Try to do exercise daily-even when in a flare. Perhaps choose something to do that is even lower impact. One exercise strategy is to time how long you can exercise before you experience pain. Do this for a few days and calculate the average time. Then when you exercise, stop two minutes before that time. Increase your exercise time by two minutes each week after that.
- Planning and pacing are a Fibromyalgia patient's guide words. Planning entails scheduling appropriate activities and amounts for each day. Try to plan one activity for achievement and one activity for enjoyment. Try to avoid being so focused on achievement that you don't allow time for yourself. Pacing is the conservation of energy to avoid fatigue. Set limits for yourself and stick to them. You may not be able to do everything that you used to do.
- Learn meditation. It will give you a space within which to be calm. Meditation can also reverse the stress related activation of the HPA axis. Meditation has also found to be effective in reducing pain.
- Use local heat and cold for pain relief. Hot bath or shower can help a lot whilst you are under the water and for a short time after. Many people use Epsom salts
in a warm bath to ease aching legs.
- Maintain good posture throughout your day. Leaning forward whilst watching TV or using the computer can put strain on your neck and back. Watch your posture when using the computer or other digital device.
- Rest is essential. Power naps, or simply laying down for 15 minutes, can recharge your batteries so that you can keep going. Rest may also mean sitting with your feet up.
- Maintain good sleep hygiene. Try to get to bed and get up at the same time every day. The bedroom should be a place for sleep and sex. Avoid extended daytime napping. Pay attention to your natural body rhythms for when you get tired and so on.
- Avoid repetitive motions that can cause muscle burn and joint aches etc. Using a computer, knitting, embroidery, using a saw or sanding, and the like can cause severe pain later in the day and contribute to restless legs etc.
- Don't be shy about using mobility aids. A walking stick may help, even if it's just to let people know that you are not well. Rails in the bath or shower, easier to use taps, a higher chair to sit in, etc. etc. There are many options. Just having the right potato peeler can make a big difference. Check out the Independent Living Centre WA Site for ideas and info. Here...
- Relax. Staying relaxed and not worrying about things can make a huge difference. Stress is one of the worst triggers for fibro. Stop and smell the flowers, read a book, do some deep-breathing exercises. All these things help. Try not to dwell on things. Don't think about all the things that you used to be able to do and now can't because of fibromyalgia. It will only get you down.
- Try to maintain a positive attitude. Your mental state can have a big impact on your symptoms. Maintain healthy eating habits. Eating food that is good for you can't do any harm. Avoid your trigger foods, and make sure that you have a balanced diet.
- Learn about fibromyalgia. The more you know, the better equipped you will be to manage your illness.
- Get out of the house. Meet other people with fibro. Fibromyalgia can be a very isolating illness. It is important that you know that you are not alone. Our social coffee mornings are especially to help with this. Check our calendar for details.
- Encourage your family and friends to learn about fibromyalgia. It is important that the people close to you understand some of what you are dealing with.
- Distraction therapy can be a big help. Do hings that take your mind off your pain. Socialising, a hobby, anything that you enjoy, can aid in improving your quality of life.
- Have a life. Make sure that you do things that make you feel valued as a person. Volunteering for a couple of hours, working part time, helping out with family and friends, can be fantastic for your self-esteem, and your mental state.
- Talk to a professional. See a psychologist or counsellor to learn how to better manage what is going on in your life.
- You may have your own things that help you deal with your Fibromyalgia symptoms. Send us an email if you would like to share them and we will add them to this list.