Life in general requires overcoming challenges and obstacles of many types. Life with fibromyalgia introduces its own share of challenges: lack of energy, lack of sleep, chronic pain being the most prevalent. These things can change who you are and how you approach life. What once was a simple task, such as getting out of bed in the morning, can now be a daily struggle.
In the years since my diagnosis, my biggest challenge has been SLOWING DOWN. I have had difficulty accepting that I cannot do what I once could. I am not the same person I once was. Type A personalities like myself prefer to be in the game rather than sitting on the sidelines.
Adopting health strategies such as a clean diet, regular workouts, and supplements, has helped lessen the daily pain and limited my “flares” of my fibromyalgia. It has allowed me to maintain a moderately active lifestyle. And then I begin to think: Maybe I am OK. Maybe I am in some sort of remission. Maybe I can push myself just a little harder. And that thinking usually ends in a crash and burn, i.e. fibro flare and bed rest. Slowing down, resting allows the body to recover from the stresses put upon it. Without a recovery period, we can do our bodies more harm than good.
I came to these realizations a few years ago when I was in a bad fibro flare:
- I am no longer Superwoman/Supermom
- I can’t do everything
- The things I do manage to do are far from perfect
Those realizations are acceptance of my imperfections and permission to say no. But they don’t incorporate any actions or strategies. Slowing Down means…
- Listening to your body, and giving it the time it needs to heal and recover.
- Practicing self care/self love. There’s all kinds of terms for it, but just remember that putting yourself first isn’t being selfish, it’s self-preservation.
- Focusing on what’s significant: life, health, joy.
“We would do well to slow down a little…focus on the significant…and truly see the things that matter most.” ~Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Sometimes you really need to listen to that little voice inside your head telling you to slow down and rest before you need it.
There will always be chores to do at home and work to do at the office. I don’t think I will ever look back and say “I wish I had worked more,” whereas there’s a good chance I may look back and say “I wish I had visited…” or “I wish I had done…” if I don’t take time to develop a better work-life balance, and pencil in me time. Vitamin R!
We are given one voice, one body, and one Earth to live upon. We should all do whatever is in our power to protect those things, to slow down and enjoy life. Less doing, more being. Extend yourself some grace. It’s not a competition. Life is a marathon, not a sprint and I am in this for the long haul.
It takes strength and courage to give yourself permission. Remember, you can’t do everything.
“Tea time is a chance to slow down, pull back, and appreciate our surroundings.” ~Letitia Baldrige
So when I need to take time to slow down and allow myself to heal, or even if I feel like a flare might be coming on, here are some of the things I do:
- Drink lots of lemon tea with honey – Both lemon and honey have anti-bacterial and healing properties, and soothe aching/scratchy throats.
- Make smoothies and smoothie bowls to boost my immune system – Full of anti-oxidants, vitamins, flavonoids, fiber, and anti-inflammatory ingredients. (See my smoothie recipes here.)
- Extra Vitamin C – I like Nature Made Chewables and Emergen-C.
- Gargle with salt water – This reduces swelling, relieves pain, and flushes out bacteria.
- Rest in bed with a heating pad or ice pack if I have pain. Sometimes I binge watch Netflix, read, or sleep.
- Ask for help – My husband would love if I asked for help more often. He’s always willing to grocery shopping or help with laundry or meals if I ask. ❤
- Eat Chicken Soup – I have a great Paleo Chicken Vegetable soup recipe that is yummy, and full of vitamins and fiber.
- Restorative Yoga – Practice some gentle restorative yoga poses can help with aches and pains. But if I am really feeling bad, giving myself permission to skip a day is all it takes.
- Epsom Salt Baths – Hot epsom salt baths with essential oils are quite soothing to achy muscles. Add 2 drops Eucalyptus essential oil to help cleanse your body of toxins and harmful microorganisms and 2 drops lemongrass oil to help alleviate pain and restore energy. Or if you’re having trouble sleeping, add a few drops of lavender instead.
All You Need
Self care. Self love. Slowing Down. Enjoying life. We should all strive for that balance. We should listen to our inner voices.
So make yourself a cup of tea, slow down, and appreciate all the beauty this earth has to offer us. “All you need is one person who loves you.” ~Viola Davis Today that person is me.
What are your challenges that you are facing, and conquering? How do you slow down and practice self-love and self-care?