Hey there Fibro Warriors! In today’s blog we’re taking about what foods and drinks to avoid or reduce in your diet. These foods and drinks can actually cause flare ups and trigger your symptoms, which is something we all don’t want! To see what food and drinks can help your symptoms, check out our blog post on Diet and Nutrition!
Avoid caffeinated and sugary drinks
Caffeinated and sugary drinks can interfere and cause an imbalance in your sleeping patterns and your energy levels throughout the day. Having coffee or soda during the day can be enticing as it can give a quick burst of energy, but it can cause an energy crash later in the day and/or keep you up at night when your body needs sleep.
Avoid fried and processed foods
Fried and processed foods can cause inflammation as well as nerve pain. These foods can also cause fatigue as your body is working overtime to break down these foods.
Reduce your dairy intake
Studies have shown that dairy products can trigger a fibromyalgia flare up. Take note of how different types of dairy affects you and try adding non-pasteurized and organic dairy products into your diet as your body will have an easier time digesting this and you’ll still get the nutrients from dairy.
Reduce your carbohydrate intake
Eating too many carbohydrates can cause your blood sugar levels to constantly change, making your body tired as well as increasing pain. It can also put added stress on your joints and muscles. Head for whole-wheat alternatives as well as gluten free options! Also, take note of what carbohydrates affect and what symptoms they cause
We hope these tips of what foods to watch out for help you in your diet planning. We also advise keeping a food log to note what foods help your body and which don’t, so you can build a strong and healthy diet plan! Keep fighting on Fibro Warriors and let us know which foods have and haven’t work out for you!
For more information/sources, check out these links!
Hey Fibro Warriors and Happy Spring! In today’s blog post, we’ll be discussing Vitamin Therapy for Fibromyalgia! Vitamins are essential for our bodies and using vitamin therapy has many benefits that can help with your Fibromyalgia symptoms!
What is Vitamin Therapy?
Vitamin Therapy is the use of vitamins to help with disease. Vitamin Therapy allows for the body to take in the recommend vitamins needed as medical research shows or the doctor recommends for their condition or disease. The vitamins we take in, through diet for example, sometimes isn’t enough for our bodies to help fight symptoms. That’s where vitamin therapy comes in through supplements, just like FibroAid. Here at FibroAid we’ve strived to make taking supplements easy with everything your body needs to help with Fibromyalgia in one capsule!
What Vitamins help with Fibromyalgia?
There are many vitamins that studies have shown that help with Fibromyalgia symptoms, which are all in our one capsule FibroAid supplement!
Vitamin D helps with muscle and bone pain, which is what many Fibro Warriors have to fight with everyday. Since few foods contain vitamin D, a supplement is the best way to take in this essential vitamin!
Vitamin B12 decreases muscle cramping and weakness, as well as helping with sleeping. This vitamin ensures our bodies are well rested and keeps our muscles strong!
Vitamin B6 assists with the pain in the nerves as well as with muscle spasms. It also helps with the production of neurotransmitters in the brain so the brain and nerves can effectively communicate with each other!
5-HTP works by being a natural and healthy source of serotonin. By taking in 5-HTP, you can help your body tolerate and relieve pain as well as get better nights sleep so you can been well rested and ready for each day!
These vitamins are all a part of our one FibroAid capsule! If you can have questions about vitamin therapy or our product, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! Keeping fighting on Fibro Warriors!
It’s March and springtime is just around the corner! Now that we’ve all had some time plan for the new year, let’s focus today on diet and nutrition tips for Fibromyalgia. Diet and nutrition are very important aspects to our health and can help with the various Fibromyalgia symptoms us Warriors have to face.
Foods with High Energy
Eating foods that provide energy will keep you motivated and avoid crashing throughout the days. Most of us would head straight for sugary foods or caffeinated drinks but that can actually cause a flare up. Instead of those foods or drinks that give us quick energy, eat foods that are rich in energy and that will give you energy throughout the day. Such foods are almonds, apples, bananas, beans, dark leafy greens, eggs, and oatmeal, just to name a few!
Foods with High Antioxidants
Antioxidants the molecules in our body that provide help in keeping cells from getting damaged by stopping oxidation, which is the chemical reaction that can harm cells. Foods such as blueberries and cranberries, beans, pecans, and even dark chocolate can give our body the antioxidants we need to keep our antioxidant systems in check and avoid flare ups.
Foods with High Amino Acids
Amino acids are part of what builds up the proteins in our cells and muscles. Eating foods that are high in amino acids can provide our body with the protein we need to fight on. Chicken and turkey, lean cuts of beef and pork, fish such as halibut and tuna, low fat cheese and yogurt, and plant-based proteins like soybeans and quinoa are some of the foods with high amino acid levels that can build up the protein in our bodies.
When it comes it diet and nutrition, these are just some of the many tips you can do to help cope with your symptoms and flare ups. It’s also important to take note of what foods work best for you, what foods you can add, and which foods you can eliminate. Everyone is different and has a different balance of what nutrients they need. Keep fighting Fibro Warriors and let us know what types of foods work for you and if you find any good recipes!
For more information/sources, check out these links!
Life can get so crazy and hectic we often forget to focus and take of the one of the most important things- Ourselves! We must take care of ourselves, especially when having Fibromyalgia, in order to lead a healthy and productive lifestyle and to keep being strong! Here are several tips and suggestions for self-care with Fibromyalgia.
Warm Baths and Showers
Warm water from a bath or a shower will help reduce muscle tension and help relax your body. It will give you time to decompress and take your mind off the pain and release the strain on the areas of your body that are in pain. The warmth will also make you feel refreshed and ready to take on what’s next in your day or help you relax for the night.
Exercise is a great part of self-care! Even if it’s light exercise, it will help your body get moving and your mind to focus. Stretching and aerobic exercises like Yoga, Pilates, and water aerobic exercises will help stretch those tense muscles, get your body moving, and relive the stress on your body and your mind. Exercise at your own pace and comfort level. It doesn’t matter how fast you can go, how far you can stretch, or how much you can lift-what matters is that you are getting moving and taking care of yourself!
Clearing your mind and body of stress will help alleviate the built-up pressure in your body. Practice breathing and mediation techniques to help get your body and mind back on track. This will allow you to relax and focus on something other than the pain, and will ease your pain and let go of the stress
Getting a good night’s sleep is very important for self-care. Set up regular sleep times of when you will go to bed and wake up so your body gets on track and you allocate enough hours of sleep for your mind and body. This will help your body get on track with your life’s schedule and plans and ensure that your body is taken care of. This will also help reduce fatigue during the day as your body will be rested, relaxed, and focused.
These are just some of the many things you can do for self-care! Taking care of yourself is the key toward a happy, healthy, and positive life! One last suggestion- Keep fighting on Fibro Warriors!
Now that the new year has come and it’s February, love is in the air! Love should always been shown towards one another but especially during this month, and even more especially to those around you with Fibromyalgia. Here at FibroAid, we strive to spread awareness about FibroAid and share the ideas about both self-love and loving those around you. In today’s blog post we’ll share ways you can love those around you by talking to them about their condition as well as what you can do to be there for them.
Before you actually talk to your loved one about their condition, it’s best to make sure that is person is ready and open to speak about it, and that you yourself understand their specific symptoms and what they are going through. It may take some time for those with Fibromyalgia to be ready to speak about their condition and symptoms. Patience is key and through this adjustment period, keep reassuring your loved one that you will be there when they are ready to take the next steps forward in fighting Fibromyalgia.
Once the foundation is established, the next best step is to discuss with you loved one what exactly they are feeling and going through, and what help they will need. Keep reassuring your loved on that you will be there for them and provide whatever assistance you can to them to share your love and support with them. After that, talk with your loved one about establishing healthy communication between you. You want to create a sense of compassion and togetherness with your loved one so they understand that you are here to help improve their life and that you are going to support them no matter what. This way your loved one will feel that sense of connection and be willing to be clear and open about their symptoms. Another tip for talking with loved ones is to talk about setting up a diet and workout plan for them. You can help them set up a meal plan and preparations for them as well as join them in their workouts. This way they feel the love and support from you as you are on the journey with them to help their condition.
We hope that these tips helped you in talking to your loved ones about Fibromyalgia. Remember Warriors, keeping fighting and spreading the love!
If you’re anything like me, you’re a planner. You like to know what’s going to happen and when. Some (including myself sometimes) may call me a control freak. But really, I just like to be prepared. I thrive on routine, on knowing, at least generally, what a day, or even week, have in store for me. It allows me to budget my brain power, my energy, my time, and my money. I can have everything I need when I need it, and look forward to all the good things heading my way.
I think I’ve always been a planner. But when I started experiencing symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis (IC), and then of Fibromyalgia more recently, I really had to start planning. With the IC, I began using the restroom religiously before I left the house. I searched for all the bathrooms everywhere I went and planned out excuses for why I had to leave the room that had nothing to do with my IC. If I was going out with friends, I’d want to know at least three days ahead of time, so I could prep my body and and avoid all trigger foods. This helped me with my plan to have a good time.
The same kind of things started happening when I my fibromyalgia symptoms kicked in. I began planning my days around my pain and fatigue. If I had something big coming up on a Monday, I’d spend the whole weekend in bed or on the couch, resting so I had the energy to do what I needed. I’d make sure not to plan anything for the days following, knowing I’d need the recovery time. Even now, when my symptoms are relatively under control, I find myself leaving my weekends open so I have time to just rest.
While all of this is well and good, sometimes plans don’t work out. Life has a way of being rather unpredictable. We can try our darned best to plan out every single day in a way that helps us manage our symptoms, and really just our lives, better, but the thing is, we can’t control it all. Life happens. So what do you do when you can’t follow through on your plans? What do you do when life has other plans?
What do you do when things don’t go as planned?
The first thing I do is breathe. I have a tendency, as I’m sure a lot of you do too, to get super anxious when things don’t go as planned. So when this happens, I take a moment to just breathe. Breathing allows me to regroup, process what’s happening, and make a new game plan to make it through.
Next thing I do is reassure myself that everything is going to work out. Because, you know what? About 99% of the time, things work out, regardless of your plans. I find that incredibly reassuring. Even though I still like to have my control and have a plan, I can reassure myself that everything will work out simply because I have faith that it will. This step is a little easier said than done, because the anxiety can sometimes be overwhelming, but I find it immensely important. Even if you don’t believe yourself as first, keep telling yourself that everything will be okay. Because it will.
A lot of times, my plans are thwarted by my illnesses. And this can be the most frustrating thing, because then it feels like it’s all my fault. Especially when it’s illness related.
Those of us with fibromyalgia completely understand how this goes. We often make plans when we’re feeling well, or when we think we’ll be able to prepare. But then something happens. Usually, it’s a flare of sorts, leaving us in extreme pain, fatigued out of our minds, and stuck in bed. Doing anything in this state is pretty much out of the question, no matter how bad we want to.
The guilt associated with cancelling or changing plans, or even just changing your own plans, can be debilitating in itself. It can make you feel like a failure and a disappointment, to yourself and your loved ones. That’s why the next thing I make sure to do is reassure myself that my illness is not my fault. And that I should never ever feel guilty for prioritizing my health, care, and sanity over other plans.
So whether things aren’t going as planned due to your illness, or for other reasons, do these three things: breathe, tell yourself that everything will work out the way it’s supposed to, and remind yourself that you have nothing to feel guilty for.
I want to get personal with you guys today for a few reasons. First off, if you’re reading this blog, you’re looking for information. Or someone to relate to. Or for some hope. Because Fibromyalgia sucks and the journey can be incredibly trying. I also want to be personal with you because I want to make sure you know where I’m coming from with these blog posts. I want to make sure you trust me, because this community means the absolute world to me, and none of my words mean anything unless you get to know me and trust me.
So here we go!
It All Started with Interstitial Cystitis
I want to preface this post a bit, as I usually do, by saying that being open about my illness is simply what works for me. I’m not saying it’s the right way to live life with fibromyalgia, and it certainly isn’t the only way. However, this openness has been the right choice for me, and I want to share with you exactly why that is.
I’ve always been the type to wear my heart on my sleeve. I was taught at a young age that communication is important, and that speaking my mind is not a bad thing (usually haha). I grew up in an environment where I was able to figure things out for myself, while still having the love and support of my family. My thoughts and feelings were (rarely) downplayed and I always felt like they were valid. So when I first started experiencing my Interstitial Cystitis symptoms at 16 years old, I was pretty quick to discuss it with my parents. While I was initially embarrassed by these bladder issues, and was uncomfortable talking about them, my family helped me feel a more comfortable talking about it, even if it was just with them.
I haven’t always been super comfortable sharing my illnesses, though. Especially since I developed Interstitial Cystitis as a teenager, and life is hard enough when you’re 16. I was embarrassed. I was frustrated. Why did something have to be wrong with me? Why couldn’t I just be healthy and normal?
Then, I went to college. And I started to stress about it even more. What if my professor asks me why I’m always running to the bathroom? What if that cute guy at the party sees me heading to the restroom for the fifth time this hour? But luckily, even then, I still had people I could trust to talk to. My friends, roommates, and family were all incredibly understanding and supportive. Even if they’d never experienced anything like it, they tried their darned best to be there for me, and for that, I am forever grateful.
Because of my support system, I slowly gained the confidence to embrace my illness and not worry about other people finding out. I got to the point with my Interstitial Cystitis where it was just easier to tell people that I have “health problems” or “bladder issues” before they ever had the chance to ask “you have to go to the bathroom again?” It was less stressful to provide the warning, so that I could relax and not worry about someone’s reaction if my symptoms hit. Which, in turn, eased my symptoms a bit.
Thanks to all of these experiences, all of the anxiety, grief, and relief I felt with my Interstitial Cystitis, I was better equipped to handle life with Fibromyalgia.
Why I’m So Open About My Fibromyalgia
So that’s a little background, a little more info on how I became so open with my illnesses. I went through the shame, the frustration, and the dread. I went through it all. But with the right support system, I was able to gain the confidence and acceptance to talk about my illnesses. However, that’s not why I talk about them.
I talk about my Fibromyalgia and my Interstitial Cystitis because it’s my coping mechanism. It’s how I handle my day-to-day. I’m not exactly running up to everyone saying “Hi! I have Fibromyalgia!”. But if someone is involved in my day-to-day, is relatively close to me, or even just reads my blog, they know I have these illnesses. That’s because Fibromyalgia and Interstitial Cystitis affect me every single day. They’ve both changed my lifestyle immensely and shaped who I am at this moment. How could I not talk about things that play such a big role in my life, even if it’s one I don’t necessarily love?
Another reason I am open about my illnesses is because I know others can’t be. I know there are people who don’t have the support system of family and friends that I do. I know there are people who work in places where they can’t even hint about being sick without fear of consequences. And I know there are people who just aren’t comfortable with it. The thing is, I’m going to continue being open about my illnesses, my experiences, and my chronic illness journey because I want those feeling hopeless or alone to know there are others out there like them.
A year ago, I had just started medical leave from graduate school, I was depressed, and I was essentially bedridden. Today, I’ve graduated with my Master’s, I’m working full time, and my symptoms are under control. Had you asked me last November if I would ever get to this point in my life, I would honestly have told you I didn’t think I would. I was hopeless. And I felt utterly alone, even with a good support system.
Then, I decided to start writing. And my illnesses became a part of my blog, just like they were and are a part of my life. I got the right diagnosis and medical help I needed. I even found FibroAid! What I’m trying to say is, you can be in an incredibly dark place, but life does get better.
And that’s why I’m so open about my fibromyalgia. I want to make sure everyone knows that this is some people’s’ reality. But I also want to make sure those of you living that reality know that there is still happiness to be found and hope to be had. And if you’ve been wanting to start being more open about your illness(es), but have been afraid to, let this be your sign to slowly start sharing. And if you don’t want to be open about your illnesses, know that if you ever need anyone, this community will always have your back.
Okay you guys. I’m not going to lie to you. As I’m writing this, I’m laying on the couch watching football and drinking a smoothie because my back is in so much pain it hurts to do anything else. Honestly, my symptoms have been pretty darn under control lately, thanks to my meds and my FibroAid, but I guess I overdid it this week!
That’s why I want to talk about self care. Not the face masks and spa days kind of self care (although those are nice too). But I want to talk about the self care that keeps your pain manageable, your brain relatively clear of fog, and your energy levels high enough to do more than function. I want to talk about the kind of self care than allows you to live your best, happiest life, despite this annoying, sometimes debilitating illness.
Simple Self Care for Fibro Warriors
I know this inherently sounds selfish, but here’s the thing: it’s not! When you live with fibromyalgia, or any other chronic illness, putting your health and your needs first is sometimes essential. You know that saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup”? It’s one of my favorites, because it’s so true and so applicable. If you are run down, flaring, or just emotionally exhausted, you aren’t any good to anyone, including yourself. So in order to be a good friend, family member, employee, etc., you have to prioritize yourself and make sure you’re well taken care of.
I don’t necessarily mean go on some big hike or kayaking or skiing or anything, though if that’s what you enjoy, by all means, do it. But in order to keep it attainable and reasonable for all us fibro warriors, I’m just talking about getting some fresh air. Go sit on your back porch or lay in the grass. Walk around the block with your dog or take a stroll on the beach. Do something that gets you outside, looking at the beauty of nature, and breathing fresh air. It will help your mood and your overall wellbeing. I promise.
Take a Bath or a Shower
Bathing can sometimes seem like a daunting task when you’re in flare and fatigue mode. It can be a lot of work. But there’s something incredibly refreshing and rejuvenating about bathing. If a shower is too much for you (with the standing and such), try a nice hot bath. Throw in some epsom salts, maybe light a candle or two, and turn on a podcast or your favorite music. It’ll help relax your muscles and your brain, and you’ll feel like a new person. If showers are more your jam, get some fancy soap and shampoo to make it feel more luxurious. And I still recommend listening to podcasts. They just make everything better.
Cut Out the Toxic
I’m referring to people, things, responsibilities, all of it. Anything that doesn’t serve you, your loved ones, or your interests, cut it out of your life. Or, at the very least, don’t extoll too much energy on it. Because absolutely nothing is worth your peace of mind OR your physical health. I’m speaking from experience here too. I had to leave graduate school three months before graduation because of my health. My physical and mental health were deteriorating so quickly (I got diagnosed with fibromyalgia a few months later), that I just could no longer continue the way I was going. So I went on medical leave and finished my degree this spring, when everything was much more manageable
Do Something You Love
For me, it’s horseback riding, much to my body’s dismay sometimes. But in all honesty, it’s worth it for me. It’s my escape and it’s something I’ve loved and will continue to love for years. Even just spending time with my horse and giving him love, much like you would a dog, can be therapeutic. I think part of it is being outside, but there’s something about doing something you love that is incredibly revitalizing. That’s also why I blog. Blogging is my creative outlet and a way for me to articulate my thoughts. It’s a way for me to feel like I’m doing something (because I am), even when I’m in so much pain I can’t move. Blogging and my horse are what got me through the worst months of my health so far, and I’m not sure how I would have made it through otherwise. So find something that gives you a reason to wake up, a reason to get up (if you can), a reason to function. Because having a feeling of purpose and something to look forward to is the ultimate form of self care.
Working while chronically ill is tricky. And it’s tricky to talk about too. Which is exactly why I want to write about it. The thing is, when you have a chronic illness life fibromyalgia, working can be a necessary evil, incredibly empowering, or utterly unattainable. Or anything in between those options. It really is a case-by-case and can be dependent on your meds, you lifestyle, the severity of your illness, the type of work, etc. I mean, there are just so many factors involved! It can be kind of overwhelming to talk about. But here we go!
Deciding to Work
Okay, I know this sounds weird. Does anyone really choose to work? Don’t people work out of necessity? Well, yes and no. There are some people, including some with fibromyalgia, who honestly can’t work. Heck yes they would work if they could, but their symptoms are so severe that even minimally active or demanding jobs are too much.
Other people with fibromyalgia have the option to work from home. Honestly, if you ask me, this is pretty ideal. It allows you some flexibility to work around your symptoms while still making an income for yourself and/or your family. Plus, there is less energy exerted in interacting with coworkers and getting ready for work.
If you’re like me, you’re well enough to work an office job. Thanks to my medication, supplements, lifestyle changes, and alternative treatments, I (finally) have my symptoms under control enough to work in an office. This has been about a year in the making, so trust me when I say I’m incredibly grateful. But also trust me when I say that not every day is easy or symptom free. In fact, no days are symptom free. It’s just a matter of being manageable, and that’s where my symptoms are probably 95% of the time these days.
I am always incredibly impressed and inspired by those with fibromyalgia that hold more physically demanding jobs. I know that movement tends to help fibromyalgia symptoms, but for me and my body, a physically demanding job just won’t work. But for others, it works great. Or it’s a necessity. Either way, it’s downright impressive.
But here’s the thing. As with most things, it’s all about listening to your body and understanding what works best for you. Of course, there are other factors involved in deciding to work. It’s about understanding your needs (financially and otherwise), your values, and your abilities.
Decisions to Make Once You Start Work
If you’re able to work, then you know that every single day is about making decisions. And that all starts with making the decision to get out of bed, which to be honest, is sometimes the hardest decision you can make all day. Not only are beds super comfortable and cozy, but when you’re in constant pain, your meds are still making you drowsy, or the fibro fatigue is just way too real, sometimes it may seem impossible to actually get up. So the first thing I do each morning is take account of how I’m actually feeling, instead of letting my meds or mood dictate my actions.
I try to set myself up for early morning success by getting to bed at a reasonable hour. I’m definitely one of those people that needs at least 8 hours of sleep, if not more. If I don’t get enough sleep, I tend to flare and be completely worthless, so I really try to focus on catching those z’s.
Another big part of making sure I feel good enough to work is making decisions based on how I feel or how I know something will make me feel. For example, this evening, my parents invited me to go to dinner with them and a family friend. As nice as that may be, I also know I’m utterly exhausted after working a full day, and the food served at the restaurant would most likely make me feel horrible either tonight or tomorrow. So I made the decision to stay home.
When you start a new job, you also need to consider how you spend your days off. For me, it’s all about recooperation. I try to prioritize rest, not only for my body, but for my brain too. I need to recharge so I can be at my best when I’m working. I’m an introvert, so this often involved quiet time alone, or doing something that brings me some joy. You have to figure out what helps you be your best at work while also letting you live a life you actually enjoy.
One of the biggest decisions anyone with a chronic illness has to make when starting a new job is deciding if/when to tell someone at work about their illness. This is SO dependent on what you’re comfortable with and what the people at your work are like. I tend to be pretty open about my condition, as spreading awareness is incredibly important to me. But not everyone is comfortable sharing their illness with the people in their workplace. Unfortunately, there are some people in this world who do not believe in what they cannot see. They question our motives and our realities. There are some that just can’t understand, or refuse to try. And as wrong as that is, it’s still something we all have to be aware of in our workplaces. So this is a decision that is not only dependent on your openness, but also on the open-mindedness of others. Regardless of what others do, just make sure to do what’s right for you.
Work can be exhausting. Working while living with fibromyalgia can seem impossible. But just like with everything else, it’s all about finding your balance, and figuring out what works best for you. There are a lot of decisions to be made and remade on your journey of working while living with fibromyalgia. But I promise you, you will figure it out. Don’t forget, if you need some help or support, reach out to your friends and loved ones. And you always have a support system here.
I had a few ideas in mind for this week’s blog post. I’ve been thinking about topics like “Travel and Fibro” or “Fibro and Relationships” And don’t get me wrong, I definitely still want to do write posts about those topics. They’re both important when it comes to living your best life with fibromyalgia. But this week, I’m going a little more off-the-cuff and writing about a topic that’s super relevant for me at the moment (and really all the time), and I’m sure for many, if not all, of you. This week I’m talking all about pacing!
So why is it particularly relevant for me right now? Well, I got a new full-time job! Luckily, it’s a desk job with a relatively flexible schedule, but it’s a huge adjustment for me. I went from unemployed, when I was just focusing on taking care of my health and finishing the last couple things to get my Master’s, to 40-50 hour weeks in an office. And that’s a HUGE shift in energy allotment. It’s required me to fully rethink my weekly routine, my activities, my relationships, all of it. It’s required me to start pacing every single day, every single week. And that’s totally fine with me because it’s helped me find balance and feel good most of the time.
What is Pacing?
What is pacing anyway? It’s a term I think we’re all familiar with, but maybe not in the context of living with fibromyalgia. I think Donna over at February Stars puts it really well by saying pacing is “doing a little at a time and breaking down tasks so they are simpler”. She’s also right in saying that, while that may seem simple and intuitive, it can be a lot harder than it seems.
I think this is because, before life with fibromyalgia, we’re so used to doing things a certain way, or doing a certain amount in a day, and when we reduce what we do in a day because of fibromyalgia, it may seem like a lot. It may seem like we’re not doing enough or not keeping up. But sometimes, we may still crash and end up in a flare.
I also think this is because we often compare ourselves to the “healthy” world. We hold our standards of productivity at the same level of people who aren’t living with fibromyalgia or other chronic diseases. And as much as we’d like to be normal and like to be treated like we’re healthy, the fact is, we sometimes have to adjust the way we do things to address our physical (and sometimes mental) limitations.
The First Steps
For me, and for many others out there, the first steps of figuring out your pace is giving yourself grace. Give yourself permission to do less, to let go. It’s okay to not be as productive as you once were. Your worth is NOT dependent on how much you get done or what you can do. You are worthy simply because you are you. Repeating this notion to yourself over and over again if your struggling with the idea of doing less, or feeling guilty for doing less, can be very helpful. And remember, if you work yourself into a flare, you’re going to be able to do a whole lot less while you recover.
While making sure you’re kind to yourself, allow yourself to listen to your body and mind. Mindfulness is a very powerful and important tool of pacing. It’s resting before getting too tired. It’s knowing when you can keep going. Mindfulness is key to making sure you don’t take it too far, or learning from it if you do. Listening to your body, and honouring what it tells you, is a key part of pacing.
A Few Tips
So that’s really the gist of pacing. It really does seem like a super simple concept, right? But the thing is, it’s SO individual, and every day is going to be different. Overall, however, there are a few ways you can definitely find some success with pacing.
Get rid of the word “should”. It’s basically the worst, most guilt-laden word in the English language. It is literally motivation to do things based on the guilt you’d feel if you didn’t. But the thing is, most of those things you “should” be doing aren’t that important. So figure out what is essential and important to you, and prioritize those things. If you feel you’re able to do more once you’ve addressed those things without using all of your energy, prioritize what else serves you and use your energy accordingly. But don’t think you have to get every single thing on your “to-do list” done today, tomorrow, or even this week. Because I guarantee most of it can wait.
Cut out the toxic people/activities. I know, I know. A lot easier said than done, right? Especially when those people are family members, coworkers, or people you have to deal with every day, or those activities are vital for living a functional life. I’m not saying just drop everyone and everything from your life. That would be ridiculous. What I am saying is be aware of how much energy you give to those people/activities. Don’t allow them to take up more than they deserve, because your energy is much too valuable for that. And if you do have to deal with these people/activities, try to prepare so that you can make sure they only take what you give them.
Be patient. This is much easier said than done too, I know. But it’s something else that’s incredibly important. Be patient with the fact that things aren’t getting done as quickly as they used to or you’d like them to. Be patient with yourself when you do end up overdoing it and throw yourself into a flare. It will happen, especially as you start to figure out what works for you. When that does happen, give yourself the time to recover, then try again. Us fibro spoonies are nothing if not resilient, so keep trying and learn from your experiences. You will figure it out and it will get easier! And once you figure it out, you’ll be able to slowly build up to doing more and more without throwing yourself into a flare. So please, be patient. Pacing is worth it. I promise.
Do you have any experience with pacing? Let us know below!
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