Shining a Light on Fibromyalgia

Every day is Awareness Day for those who suffer from fibromyalgia.

Every year May 12th has been designated as “Fibromyalgia Awareness Day” to shine a light on this invisible illness. Most of us who suffer from this chronic condition feel that every day is our awareness day, as we often have to explain what it is to people. Trust me when I say it is more than what you see in the pharmaceutical commercials on TV.

Shine-a-purple-light-wide Continue reading “Shining a Light on Fibromyalgia”

Self-Care Self-Check

“Self-care is not about self-indulgence, it’s about self-preservation.”

Back in January I wrote about the importance of self-care and some things I vowed to work on myself. As May is Fibromyalgia Awareness month, I decided it was time to check in and see just how good or bad I am doing on my own self-care. Practice what you preach, and all. I have found more success following strategies for healthy living, than I ever did taking a pill that the doctors prescribed. So taking care of myself has to be my number one priority, in order to minimize my fibro-flares. You cannot, after all, drink from an empty cup, and having a flare can often feel like you are running on empty.Cannotdrink

Here’s what I wanted to improve on: Continue reading “Self-Care Self-Check”

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?

Continue reading “Mindset and Fibromyalgia”

Fibromyalgia, Courage, and Strength

This quote popped up on my weekly planner page for today, but it is one I have read before.

life-quote-strength-courage

This embodies what it’s like to have fibromyalgia for me. Having the courage to push through the pain on a daily basis, even when you feel like you have no strength left to do so. In the 16+ years since my diagnosis, I have had plenty of days where getting out of bed and walking across the floor were a challenge. When every step you take radiates pain through your body, and you wonder: Why am I doing this? Why don’t I just crawl back in bed? It would be so much easily to just curl up under the blankets with a heating pad than to try to work out, shower, and get ready to go to work. Continue reading “Fibromyalgia, Courage, and Strength”

Fibromyalgia and Self-Love

Self-love, self-care, and balance don’t just happen. It takes strength and courage to put ourselves first.

January is Self-Love month and Get a Balanced Life month. (Or so I am told by one of those sites that lists all of the real and made-up holidays for the year.) Appropriate I would say for the first month of the new year. New year, new start, new resolutions to break bad habits. I love the beginning of the year when I start a new planner that is filled with blank pages, just waiting for me to fill them up with goals, plans, quotes. This year, I am starting a new system based on the bullet journal approach, but I am using a standard planner (I searched high and low for one I think will work for all areas of my life) because I didn’t want to spend the extra time (or energy) writing out all of my own calendars each week/month.

But back to the reason for my post… Self-love or self-care are important for everyone, as is balance in life. These all lead to less stress and better health and self-esteem, adding up to a happy, joyful, and fulfilling life. Sounds great, right? So why don’t we do these things more? The normal stresses of every day life take their toll. Work, family, kids’ activities, cooking, cleaning, shopping. They all add up. And at the end of the day,  you’re so tired from all of that you just want to crawl into bed rather than spend a little extra time pampering yourself. Sound about right?

“One woman filled with self love and self acceptance is a model more SUPER than any cover girl.”   

~ Amy Leigh Mercree Continue reading “Fibromyalgia and Self-Love”

Taking Time to Recharge

This past week, Thanksgiving week, I took time off from the office. Several days I was home by myself all day. The peace and quiet was quite enjoyable. I made lists and crossed things off. I read. I did yoga and walked the dogs. I took time away from social media and did very little work during the week. I felt mentally recharged… And then I returned to work yesterday and came home exhausted!

relaxation

Vitamin R
So how do we combat that feeling at the end of the work day? Sleep is not the only way to recharge yourself, although it is a big one. In addition to rest, there is relaxation and recreation. These are what Dr. Carri refers to as “Vitamin R” (reference: JJ Virgin podcast), and I was in need of some last week to combat my mental and physical fatigue. I was feeling a little bit of work-related burn-out. Too many projects, too little time!

Sometimes I have to give myself permission to take some “me” time. As someone who suffers from fibromyalgia and is one to always make sure her family is cared for first, fatigue is a way of life for me. “I’m exhausted” is a pretty common answer from me to the pleasantry “How are you?”  Sometimes I wear the fibrowarrior term like a badge of courage and don’t practice self-care. So having a few days where I was only having to care for me, myself, and I…utter bliss, I say.

Time-outs Aren’t Just for Kids
Dr. John Izzo talks about the need for adults to take some self-imposed time-outs for ourselves to rest, recharge, and have fun. A little R&R. See, that “Vitamin R” term is starting to make sense! We know that stepping away from a problem we are having difficulty solving can help us gain a new perspective and innovate. So in the same vein, stepping away from our daily grind of work, emails, interruptions can help to energize us. Giving ourselves permission to take a time-out of a day or a week away from the office may not always be possible, but allowing yourself some unscheduled time during the day can do wonders for your mental energy.

“Great is the human who has not lost his inner childlike heart.” ~ John Reed

Avoiding Burnout
The book You Don’t Have to Go Home From Work Exhausted: A Program to Bring Joy, Energy, and Balance to Your Life talks about learning to refuel your tank to avoid that burnout we can all be subject to. Here are the 12 key lifestyle factors their research found to be factors in affecting energy levels:

  • Sleep
  • Proper diet for energy and high performance
  • Exercise
  • Have alone time
  • Take time to read and learn
  • Fill your spiritual growth
  • Experience love
  • Have fun, joy, and play!
  • Spend quality time with family and friends
  • Find new interests or renew interest in an old hobby
  • Take vacations
  • Have a sense of purpose

“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” ~ Dolly Parton

We all could use a little more Joy and Energy in our lives! Think about how much time you take for each of those 12 things. Is it enough? Take some time for yourself this week to get away from whatever situation at home or work is troubling you or sapping you of your precious energy, and enjoy a few minutes outside or reading a book or calling your mom. We owe it to ourselves to find those things that bring us energy and joy.

What are you going to do this week to create a little Rest, Relaxation, or Recreation in your life?

Cheers!

Cynthia

Lavender Lullabies

Lavender is an herb that is both beautiful and beneficial.

As November is Sleep Comfort Month, I thought I would write one more post about sleep. I have written about my fibromyalgia and difficulties sleeping (here and here). I have various sleep strategies I use, including using lavender oil or spray. So recently at lunch with a few girlfriends, one of them mentioned she hadn’t slept through the night since March due to various things going on in her life (stress!). Someone said, “Have you tried Ambien?” It’s really a shame that some people think first about a prescription medication to mask the problem, rather than trying easy at-home strategies first. I mentioned Lavender, Melatonin and Valerian root to her as a natural alternatives to try, but my favorite is still lavender.

bee-and-lavender-with-quote-marion-mccristall
Picture from Quotesgram.com

Continue reading “Lavender Lullabies”