Coping with Fibromyalgia During the Gobal Pandemic
If you're one of the thousands of men and women who suffer from Fibromyalgia, you may be finding it hard to cope with your symptoms during this global pandemic. I know I am.
The added stress of worrying about my husband as he goes to work on public transit and deals with the local community as well as homeschooling my three children, has caused my first fibro flare-up in months. The constant anxiety can be debilitating at times. Sprinkle in the consistent pain throughout my body, and you have a recipe for misery.
But I know I'm not alone. Throughout my journey as a writer, I've connected with many individuals that suffer from this unpredictable disease. Finding relief is not hopeless. The key to easing the discomfort from fibromyalgia is to reduce your stress. Believe me, I understand that's often easier said than done. These activities are great for anyone to reduce anxiety. Whether or not you have fibromyalgia, we all deal with stress.
Here are some techniques to help ease stress and your fibro symptoms:
Exercise: Exercise can help ease fibromyalgia symptoms. While many of us are under "stay at home" orders, there are many things you can do in your home or yard. I practice yoga and tai-chi. Yoga is fantastic and can help improve your flexibility, relieve stress and tension stored in your body, improve balance, and help you feel calmer and more centered. Not to mention, the poses you learn and flexibility gained, transfer over nicely into the bedroom. There are some really awesome free videos you can watch. Here are some of my favorites for beginners: Yin Yoga with Nora Day, 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene, Yin Yoga for Stress and Anxiety with Sarah Beth, 10 Tai-Chi Moves for Beginners. YouTube is a great source for yoga and tai-chi videos, and if you don't like the ones I've shared, there are plenty more where that came from.
Practice Relaxation Techniques: Relaxation is important for chronic pain and fatigue sufferers. While yoga is a great way to relax, you can also practice deep breathing and muscle relaxation. I enjoy listening to guided meditation audio with headphones on. Here is a great one, but there are many more on YouTube: Blissful Deep Relaxation. You can also find other meditation and hypnosis audio on music sites like iTunes and Amazon.
Lean on Loved Ones: It is important not to isolate yourself from everyone during this time. We all need people to listen and vent to. During quarantine, this can be achieved through phone calls and video chat. We need a support system we can rely on. If you have no one in your personal life you feel you can do that with, there are a wealth of groups on Facebook and other sites you can join for support. I personally find a lot of comfort in my husband. And while sometimes my body hurts so badly, even the slightest touch is painful, firm, consistent pressure seems to help. Hugs are awesome. There are times all I need is for my husband to hold me while I cry, and that relieves pent up tension.
Create a Schedule: Creating a schedule or to-do list is about establishing a routine. This helps us feel a bit more in control and gives us a purpose. Even small things you are working towards daily, can give you a sense of accomplishment. Writing this blog, was one of those things for me.
Shift Your Self-Talk: Many of us fall into a cycle of negative thinking. We start to focus on everything wrong and that causes even more anxiety. List out-loud the things that are positive in your life. Maybe now that you're home, you get to spend more time with your pet. Perhaps you have time to craft or learn a new skill. Try to shift your mindset to look at the glass as half-full. It's not always easy, and sometimes shifting your mind-set or self-talk takes stepping away from the news and social media.
Find a Healthy Distraction: Focus on activities you've always wanted to do, but didn't have the time for before. As I mentioned above, you can learn a new skill, craft, paint, write, practice an instrument, learn a new language, the list goes on. When your mind is focused on something like that, it can't focus on all the negative happening in the world. I know that my work has kept me distracted. That's why I am so grateful to be a writer. I'm able to escape into a world of my own making. But sometimes, just doing something like drawing or coloring helps too.
Prioritize Sleep: Getting quality sleep with fibromyalgia can be a struggle. Pain, insomnia, stress, can diminish sleep quality as well as make is hard to get in general. I've learned not to fault myself if I need to sleep, no matter how long I sleep. There are so many times when I get little to no sleep. So, during times when my body wants rest, I take it. If you're having trouble sleeping, I've found sleep meditation or hypnosis to work sometimes. I always try to find a natural solution to my sleep issues, but do not feel ashamed if you need to ask your doctor for prescription aid. Lack of sleep is extremely detrimental to overall health, but especially mental health. Listen to your body and slow down when you need to.
I hope this information helps you find some relief. Below is the wonderful article I got some of this great information from. Please check it out if you want to know more about fibro and Covid19.