The Challenge of Slowing Down

I have had difficulty accepting that I cannot do what I once could. I am not the same person I once was.

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.

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3 Tips for a Happy Day

Let’s face it, dealing with a chronic condition such as fibromyalgia or chronic pain can easily lead to depression and mood swings, as well as feelings of isolation and helplessness. These feelings can increase as the pain or flare lingers on and you are able to accomplish less. I know. I have been there. So for International Day of Happiness I wanted to take a moment to share some happiness, spread a little joy, and give you three quick tips to experience more happiness in your day.

“Let your smile change the world, don’t let the world change your smile.” ~ Connor Franta

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Building a Purposeful Path

As you start with the big picture, ask yourself: What do I have time, energy, and resources to accomplish? What makes me happy and brings me joy. The answers will then help you make your list of goals.

I started reading the Goal Setting Series by Lara Casey this morning (Part 1 here) and wanted to share some quick insights. While 2017 wasn’t my most productive year, I am trying to look past my shortcomings, extend myself some grace, and be happy with what I did accomplish.

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I wrote about some self-care goals for 2017, and at last check I had given myself a solid B-. I would say that was where I ended the year. I am sleeping more and working out regularly. I still need to get away from my desk more at lunch AND not work so many hours – I am going to work on those items more in 2018, as I am building my purposeful path. Continue reading “Building a Purposeful Path”

Worry Less: 5 Questions for Stressful Times

“If the worry is reasonable, do something about it. If it’s irrational or out of your control, recognize that.” – Eric Barker

I am a worrier. I come by it honestly, as my mom is a worrier too. And I fear I have passed this trait on to my daughter. I have gotten better the last several years about stressing less, especially about things I have no control over. Living with a chronic condition has helped me with that. But I still have my moments. And when I do, I recite this quote to myself to help me let things go…

“Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.”

Rocking chair2

Take a Cue

I read this article this morning in the Washington Post by Eric Barker, called “Take a cue from Buddhists and Stoics and ask yourself these 5 questions to get through stressful times” and thought I would share it with others as a reminder of ways to help cope. A little more zen and a little less stress would do us all some good.

Here’s a summary of the five questions to ask yourself:

1. “Is it useful?” Most worrying isn’t. Make a decision to do something or to let it go.
2. “Does the world owe me this?” No. Don’t be entitled. Have realistic expectations and you won’t get angry.
3. “Must I have this to live a happy life?” Probably not. It takes little to make a happy life and there are many ways to get those things.
4. “Is this who I want to be?” Act the way you do when you’re at your best.
5. “Have I ever felt that way?” Respond to others’ problems with compassion and you’ll both have fewer problems.

This line from the article hits home for me: “If the worry is reasonable, do something about it. If it’s irrational or out of your control, recognize that.”

Stress is a normal part of life – both good and bad stress. It’s how you react to stress that can lead to adverse effects on your health. Needless worrying can produce extra stress, which can flare or exacerbate health problems, such as my fibromyalgia. I don’t want that. My family doesn’t want that. My co-workers and staff definitely don’t want that. I am a much happier, productive person if I control my stress and my health; and irrational worrying has no place in that picture.

Do you have other tips for getting through stressful times, to avoid the useless “worry-rocking chair” situation?

Cheers!

Cynthia

Combating the Loneliness of Chronic Pain

Chronic physical pain often also creates emotional suffering. Seven steps to deal with the loneliness and isolation of chronic pain.

You know the drill. You are in pain and suffering, often silently. Because of your condition you are in pain quite often and talking about it can be construed as “complaining,” and after a while can fall on deaf ears. You might be in deep despair because the pain is too much. Your life as you knew it has come to a halt. Exhaustion, stress, lack of sleep, and pain. That is the life you know now.

Sure, your friends and family know there’s something wrong with you. But do they really know what you’re going through? And even so, do they really want to hear about it? Again. And after you’ve declined a few invitations because you weren’t quite feeling up to going out and being social, the invitations just stop coming. Continue reading “Combating the Loneliness of Chronic Pain”

Better than Unicorns

Excellence is a habit – 5 tips to be a better you.

I have this quote from Aristotle on my desktop at work to remind me that it takes practice and consistency to get better and achieve excellence. Getting better to me is making incremental improvements, either in health, talents, or habits. Small acts done consistently over time become big habits.

Excellence

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Mindset and Fibromyalgia

I have fibromyalgia, but it does not have me.

I made a conscious choice a long time ago to not act like a victim and to deal with this illness known as fibromyalgia with positive attitude and healthy habits. But to be perfectly honest, some days it is tough to maintain the positivism when you absolutely feel like you have been hit by a mack truck. I am not going to lie and say I don’t have bouts of crying and “why me?” moments, but they are few and far between since a shift in attitude.Ihavefibro.png

So how do you cultivate a positive mindset when you are dealing with chronic pain?

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