10 Tips for coping with Fibromyalgia

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Pain is an issue for nearly everyone with FM. So are with brain fog and fatigue. While those symptoms can be challenging, you do not have to put your life on hold because of them.

Living with FM means making changes, from work to parenting responsibilities to household chores to having fun. By taking a more active role in handling your situation, you may feel a sense of control and boost your confidence along with your quality of life.

Talk About It

Sit down with your partner on a regular basis to talk about what is going on with you. Listen to each other and solve the problems together. If that is hard, counseling with a therapist may help bridge the gap. Studies show that it is better when both of you agree about how FM affects you. You could bring them to your next doctor appointment if they are having a tough time grasping what it is like.

Find out what truly matters to the people you care about, like your kids’ school play or the soccer games. Then plan your activities and save your energy to be there for them during those times.

Just Say No

Failing to set personal limits or saying “yes” to lots of demands will put you in burden. That will add to your already elevated stress level. To help yourself say “no” to a persuasive friend, understand the situation before you answer.

The desire to help others is admirable, but being all things to all people may hinder your healing and make you feel tired, resentful and depressed. It is important to take a firm stand, so say “no”, and mean it.

Make Your Bedroom a Sleep Sanctuary

Make sure your body is completely prepared for rest. You cannot sleep if there is light in your room or if a television is blaring in a different room. Make sure your room is dark, quiet and cool. Use earplugs if you are sensitive to noise, and use a blackout blind or wear an eye mask to block light.

Keep a Daily Journal

Keeping track of activities, events, symptoms, and mood changes can help you take charge of FM. It may make you aware of when symptoms start and, over time, what may be causing them. Then you can work to eliminate triggers or learn handling strategies to reduce their effect.

De-Stress

Anxiety, worry, and feeling overwhelmed will drain your energy, too. Try to adopt a more “go with the flow” instead of “crisis” approach to life, set priorities, and remember it is OK to say “no” so you can focus on what is important.

With guided imagery, you replace stressful or negative feelings with pleasant images. Once you learn how, you can do it on your own. Mindfulness meditation teaches you to focus your thoughts in a positive way. The more you practice it, the more pain relief it can bring. Other helpful methods include biofeedback and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Mind-body practices like qi gong, tai chi, and yoga may ease many FM issues, from sleep problems and fatigue to mood. Because they include movement, they work the way exercise does, with the bonus of stress relief from focused breathing.

Jot It Down

If “fibro fog” is hurting your memory or focus, keep a paper and pen within reach. Make to-do and even “to say” lists to help you remember matters you want to talk to your family or partner about. Keep friends’ names, shopping lists, and important phone numbers and addresses in a note pad to carry with you.

Exercise Regularly

Be as active as you can. Consistent exercise is one of the most effective ways to deal with FM. It comforts both pain and fatigue. Walking and swimming are particularly good. Aim for twenty to thirty minutes, two or three days per week. It is OKAY to do that in ten-minute chunks.

Balance workouts will help you feel steadier. Resistance training can boost your strength and overall fitness. A trainer can teach you the right way to lift.

Do Some Serious Soaking

Soaking in a hot tub or warm bath can reduce pain, ease tense muscles, and help you move more easily. If it is hard for you to get in and out of the tub, go for a sauna or put a chair in the shower so you can sit and let the water do its work. Moist heat may increase endorphins, which block pain signals, and help you sleep more peacefully.

Reach for Decaf

Caffeine is one of the few food products that can bring a stress response. Too much caffeine can significantly increase anxiety, nervousness and insomnia. As you make plans to de-stress your life, try limiting the volume of caffeine you take in, and remember, coffee is not the only source of caffeine. Tea and chocolate drinks also contain caffeine. They also have ingredients like theobromine and theophylline that can stimulate the heart and central nervous system.

Take Some ‘Me Time’ Every Day

FM can pose unique health challenges and make life difficult. So make time for yourself each day as a part of your treatment. Busy yourself in a hobby, put on some music and rest, whatever makes you feel good. It may help you fight stress, brings more stability to your life, and boost your energy for the things you need to do.

Make Work Life Better

Is work making you tired and in pain? Make a flexible plan that works for you and your boss. Request for working from home part-time, or setting your hours for earlier or later in the day so you can be more productive. Rearrange your office for comfort and ease of access. A keyboard tray, telephone headset, or other products may help put less stress on your body.

Join a Support Group

Join a FM support group. You will discover tips for your own care along with the ideas about how to get friends, family, and co-workers on the same page with you. Support groups offer emotional support, information, and tips for coping. For support and Discussion join the group “Living with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Illness”

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Slideshow:Copying Tips by WebMd

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