Ten steps to living with Fibromyalgia and how I changed my life to stop the pain.
I have battled for years with Fibromyalgia (over 10 years un-diagnosed) and I literally used to feel like I was going mad. Sufferers are now sharing their experiences and how the condition can ruin every day life. The stigma of "you're lazy" or "just pull yourself together" never ends.
Most days, I have found balance in my life and can enjoy what I do to the full. However, there are still days when I struggle. On those days, I take a step back, review my own prescription and re-set. All of what you are about to read is how I battled this unwanted illness.
White Branches Fibromyalgia Prescription
Quit (or reduce) Alcohol Intake
Family, Friends & Employer
Time for You
Smoking - quit. It is as simple as that. We all know smoking is bad for us but the muscles in our body react in a different way to those of a non-Fibromyalgia sufferer.
Alcohol - quit. If you are in pain and you want this to go away, stop putting alcohol into your blood stream. It makes the symptoms 100% worse and triggers poor sleep.
Sleep - for may years my life has been plagued with insomnia, disturbed sleep and cat naps. I have found a way to stop this. It takes a while, but stick with it. Wake up every morning BEFORE sun rise (depending on where you live, this could be very early in the morning). Change this pattern to accommodate the changes in seasons. No matter how tired you are, get out of bed and do something. Eventually, you will embrace a regular sleep pattern. DO NOT nap through the day.
Exercise - DO NOT join a gym. This is the worst kind of exercise for Fibromyalgia sufferers. The best things you can do are gentle and kind to your body. Walking, Swimming and Yoga are the three I'd highly recommend. Walking is free and you are also getting fresh air. Be gentle and just go for a walk around the block for 5 minutes. Where possible try and walk near trees or on a beach. Swimming is wonderful for the muscles and flushes out the kidneys. If you can't swim, learn. Yoga is so powerful and with a gentle 15 minute daily practice, you will see the benefits within a few weeks.
Diet - keep it low fat. AVOID BEIGE FOOD - i.e. pizza, fries, pastry. Eat regularly and introduce a daily time for your meals, i.e. 8am Breakfast, 12pm Lunch and 6pm Dinner. Do not snack and avoid any poor sugar. Avoid caffeine after mid-day and drink plenty of filtered water. Avoid using microwaves and plan and prepare fresh meals in advance.
Family - sit them down and tell them how you feel. Explain what each day feels like and give them some examples. For example, brain fog, back pain, overwhelming tiredness. Draw up a rota and ask them to help you with every day chores from housework, laundry, shopping to meal times.
Friends - it may be time to drop any that are draining you. If you are surrounded in negativity this will make your condition worse. Reach out to those who "get it". Make knew friends. Connect with support groups (either in person or on line). Talk about your condition with them. Ask them for help.
Employer - tell them. If they don't know what you are battling every day they can't help or support. Tell your manager, tell your colleagues. Ask them for help.
Travelling - mentally prepare yourself for travel. This can be debilitating for Fibromyalgia sufferers. If you are about to embark on a 6 hour flight be mentally aware that this travel will, in all honestly, be around 12 hours (to and from airport, waiting around, delays etc). Your timings for sleep and food will now be disturbed. Use essential oils, crystals and try additional support, i.e. massage at airport, heat pack for neck, comfy clothing, bring own food.
Time - you cannot create an environment that will change your health without investing in time. Learn to say "no". Plan your life. Buy a diary and write in your plans making sure that for at least 3 hours EVERY WEEK you create "Time for Me". You may choose to use the whole 3 hours in one go or separate them and have 30 minutes here, 1 hour there. Find out what works for you and stick with it. For me, I have a minimum of 30 minutes every morning to practice gentle yoga followed by 2 x 90 minutes every week for evening yoga practice and reiki.
If you smoke, drink alcohol, sleep poorly, locked into a gym membership, eat unhealthy, have no support from friends, family or your employer, and maybe never travel anyway - pick ONE thing to change. Do that regularly for at least 8 weeks. After you've mastered that, pick another topic to master. All of the above has taken me more than 7 years to cultivate.
If you'd like any 1-2-1 support please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be more than happy to support you with coaching, yoga and / or alternative therapies and share more detailed information on how I continue this way of life.
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