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

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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”

Lessons Learned in Diagnosing Chronic Pain

“Sometimes the curiosity can kill the soul but leave the pain.” ~Alice

Perhaps that title should read “Lessons Learned from Attempting to Diagnose Chronic Pain” since I still don’t have answers…  I haven’t written much lately due to some chronic neck pain/shoulder/arm that has been plaguing me for months. I come home from work exhausted and drained, and spending more time in front of a computer is the last thing I want to do.biscuits

Down the Rabbit Hole

Do you ever feel like the hassle and expense of getting to the root of a medical problem might outweigh the benefits of finding out what the problem is? For the last several months, I feel like I have gone down the proverbial rabbit hole in “Alice in Wonderland”, where everything is not as it seems!

Alice-Looking-Down-the-Rabbit-Hole-in-Alice-in-Wonderland    Live_action_reference_photo_alice_at_the_bottom_of_the_rabbit_hole_screenshot_blog

Continue reading “Lessons Learned in Diagnosing Chronic Pain”

How to Sleep Better

“Sleep is the Golden Chain that binds health and our bodies together.”

I fully intended to get this blog posted back in May during Better Sleep month but, as is often the case, life got in the way. I have struggled for years with getting good quality sleep. There are nights where I just cannot fall asleep, and others where I just can’t stay asleep. While the ideal amount is between 7-9 hours for most, I still average about 6 hours a night. More than 7 hours of sleep, and I feel out of sorts. Lately I have been much better about sleeping through the night, since incorporating some simple strategies.

Those who suffer with fibromyalgia syndrome know how difficult it can be to get a good night’s sleep. In fact, sleep disturbances are one of the common symptoms associated with the condition, which then compounds the daytime fatigue. But allowing the body to rest and recharge at night is so critical to everyone’s physical and mental health, not just those with fibromyalgia.counting-sheep-1

“Sleep is the Golden Chain that binds health and our bodies together.”

~ Thomas Dekker

Health Benefits

That old saying “early to bed, early to rise makes your body healthy, wealthy, and wise” is more than just an old wives’ tale. Here’s a list of health benefits from getting adequate sleep:

  • It can help you fight off diseases
  • It can help improve your mood
  • It can lower your risk for obesity and help you lose weight
  • It can decrease inflammation
  • It allows the body to repair itself from stress and ultraviolet exposure

“By helping us keep the world in perspective, sleep gives us a chance to refocus on the essence of who we are. And in that place of connection, it is easier for the fears and concerns of the world to drop away.”
Arianna Huffington

Getting those Zzzz’s

While you sleep, your body is working to heal itself, build up your immune system, and recharge your brain cells. Now the struggle is that people with fibromyalgia have trouble falling and staying asleep. We often don’t reach that deep sleep stage required for all of the restorative health benefits. There are a myriad of underlining conditions that could be preventing you from getting a good night’s rest:

  • Health Issues such as allergies, sleep apnea, asthma, narcolepsy, or hormone imbalance
  • Physical Issues such as chronic or acute pain, or certain prescription drugs
  • Mental Issues such as depression, stress, or anxiety
  • Environmental Issues such as too much light in your room, drinking alcohol or caffeine, or performing shift work

So assuming you don’t need to have a medical condition checked out, how do you improve your sleep, to reap those benefits? Getting into a routine helps. Here are some simple strategies that might help you establish that routine:

  • Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
  • Set a regular bedtime routine.
  • Curb the electronics in the bedroom, that is no TV, iPad, etc. before bed.
  • Keep your bedroom comfortable, quiet, dark and cool.
  • Avoid heavy meals close to bedtime, and don’t eat 3 hours before bed.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Do not use tobacco.

“Golden Slumbers fill your eyes. Smiles await when you rise.” ~ The Beatles

Bedtime Routines

As we age we need less sleep, but we still need good quality sleep. Uninterrupted sleep. One of the best habits is to take a warm bath or shower before bed. This raises the body temperature, and then allows it to cool down faster, which helps you reach that deep sleep. Couple that with some aromatherapy, and you should feel relaxed and calm for bedtime. I developed my routine after reading Arianna Huffington’s book Thrive that discussed redefining success and details her wake-up call. She has another book called The Sleep Revolution that undoubtedly has more information on the subject of sleep as well.

Here are some of my favorite bedtime and bath aids:

So go draw a bath, sip some tea, rub some lavender oil between your toes and get a good night’s sleep. These are my tried and true methods. You’ll thank me in the morning!

For more sleep strategies, visit the National Sleep Foundation,”The F Word” blog and Sarah’s Fibromyalgia Sleep Chronicles series, or listen to JJ Virgin’s podcast with Arianna Huuffington – two big proponents of sleep!  Do you have other sleep strategies you use?

Cheers!

Cynthia