Jolly

Sometimes it is hard to feel Jolly at this time of year, with so many things cluttering your to-do list and social calendar! The holiday baking, shopping, gift-giving, and socializing can be overwhelming at times for anyone. That sense can be compounded for someone dealing with chronic pain or conditions like fibromyalgia.

So I have to admit I am struggling this year. Work and volunteer commitments are monopolizing my time to the point I can’t find time or energy to shop for presents or wrap the ones I do have. Each year seems harder – I struggle each year with what to buy, who to buy for because the burden to shop for everyone (except me) falls on me. Oh, and Christmas cards? Last year was the first year I have never sent them. This year isn’t looking so good either.

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Ziplining with Santa down Fremont Street, Las Vegas, 2011

So Jolly is a state of mind for me. I try to find joy and humor in even the simplest of things, like this memory of ziplining with Santa. The real Santa. *<|:-{)} Ho, ho, ho!

The holidays should be a time for enjoying family and friends and celebrating, not stressing out. So I make my to do lists, and check them twice. And if I don’t get everything checked off, so be it. Maybe I don’t bake as much or buy as much or send those card. Lately I have given myself permission to let things go, such as writing blog posts. My goal was to write a weekly post, and then that became a monthly post. Now it is whenever the mood strikes. Like today. So today, I can be jolly. 🙂

Cheers!

Cynthia

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4 Tips for Avoiding a Holiday Fibro Flare

“The holiday season is a perfect time to reflect on our blessings.”

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays upon us, it’s best to plan ahead to try to avoid a flare rather than recover from one. Between visiting family and friends, shopping, and cooking, who has time right now to deal with the pain and exhaustion of fibromyalgia? Not me, that’s for sure! Who’s with me?

Here are my top tips for avoiding a flare during the holidays:

  1. Get your Zzzz’s. Yes, it’s tempting to stay up and visit, or get up early to get that turkey in the oven, but don’t sacrifice your sleep to do so. Your best offense is to get maintain your schedule and get those 7-9 hours of sleep! Your body will thank you.
  2. Take care of yourself. Hosting the family get-together? It’s OK to ask for help. You don’t have to do everything yourself. Make it a pot luck. Or cater in part of the meal. I like to set the table and prepare desserts and part of the meal the night before so I am not overdoing it on the day of the big event! Consider buying some fancy paper plates instead of using the good china. And when the kitchen is clean and the guests are gone, try a relaxing bath before bed. 🙂
  3. Eat properly. Yes, it’s the holidays. We are all going to indulge a little. But try the three bite rule when it comes to dessert or your major weaknesses: take just 3 bites of that pie or casserole. It allows you to sample and enjoy, but not overdo it. Chew slowly and pause between bites.  Avoid gluten, dairy, sugar, or those foods that you know trigger your flares (Fibromyalgia, migraines, and IBS can all be triggered by food).
  4. Exercise. Taking even 10 minutes for some Pilates, yoga, or a walk after that big meal will help keep everything in check. Here are some yoga moves to try to keep your digestion working properly.

I love the holidays: the food, the parties, visiting family. But I don’t love being curled up in bed because I overdid it. I prefer to enjoy my family time and count my blessings. I can skip that pecan pie if it means I won’t be in bed the next day.

“The holiday season is a perfect time to reflect on our blessings and seek out ways to make life better for those around us.” 

– Terri Marshall

Avoiding disaster is far better than recovering from it, and just a few simple steps can help you enjoy your holidays, so you’re not missing out on all of the fun!


Do you have other tips for avoiding a holiday flare?

Cheers!

Cynthia

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

When Everything Hurts

In addition to nutrition and medicine, you need other strategies for coping with the daily pain and major flares that occur.

You have probably experienced something like this before: You go to bed feeling fine….maybe just OK….no worse than usual… And when you wake up in the morning you have some new pain. You roll out of bed. You’re stiff and moving slow. Every step hurts. You think you are never going to straighten up again. And then it hits you that there is some new ache that wasn’t there when you went to bed last night. For some of us, that may just be the aging process. For others, welcome to life with fibromyalgia. 

“To hurt is as human as to breathe.” ~ J. K. Rowling

Continue reading “When Everything Hurts”

Quote: Strength and Thoughts

I have a super busy next couple of weeks, as my software upgrade project at work is coming to fruition.  User training starts today. As I am the project manager, I need all of the energy and strength I can get. Failure is not an option.  Nor is taking a much needed break, so of course I am in fibro flare mode, and my shoulder and neck are acting up.

Although I tweeted this out for #MondayMotivation, I am recycling this quote for a little #WednesdayWisdom to get me through the next few weeks.

“With a new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Remember, every day is a new day to begin again. Hope you all have a beautiful rest of your week! Positive vibes and thoughts for all!

Cheers!

Cynthia

Magnesium for Pain Relief

I truly believe in using food, exercise, and things from nature to heal the body.

Finally, I have had some pain relief! If you have been following my story the last several months, you know I have been suffering with some acute pain. I am happy to report that I have not had numbness or pain in my arm now for three whole weeks!!  Zip. Zilch. Nada. That’s not to say all is well or I have any answers. Really, more questions. But for now I am enjoying the long-overdue break from my neck/shoulder/arm pain. 🙂

“Relief is a wonderful emotion, highly underrated. In fact I prefer it to elation or joy. Relief lets the air out of the Tire of Pain.” ~ Adriana Trigiani

I saw a non-surgical specialist a month ago, and was ready to go in for cervical facet joint steroid injections. One of the things I had to do was quit taking Fish Oil 7 days prior, so on Monday, July 31st I did just that. I was still experiencing pain through that week. On Saturday, August 5th I read an article by Donna of Fed Up with Fatigue about 30 Low Cost Fibromyalgia and Chronic Lyme Treatments. (Major shout out to Fibro Blogger Directory and the Friday article link-ups!) The second item on her list was magnesium malate that she said “helps to reduce my pain levels, soothes my restless legs, improves my sleep, and keeps me regular.” So I read the reviews, bought a bottle, and took a pill that night. Continue reading “Magnesium for Pain Relief”