Grief can be so overwhelming that the hardest thing to muster is hope and strength.
I have been trying to write this post for many months now, but have been consumed by grief, a lack of creativity, and no desire to write.
Grief takes on many forms when you have chronic pain or a chronic illness, like fibromyalgia. You might be grieving the person you used to be, the life you used to have, or all of the things you used to be able to do.
Any loss can be profound and all-consuming. Even life-changing.
Just a quick one for a Monday morning. Anyone else feel like the weekends just aren’t long enough? 🙋🏻♀️ My to-do list is overflowing lately and there just isn’t enough time to get it all done AND relax a bit on the weekends. Sigh….
Perhaps it’s the exhaustion and pain (fibro flare) that I am still suffering. But this describes my Monday mood…. More coffee, please. Extra shot.
Nonetheless, I hope you all have a wonderful week! Do something wonderful for yourself!! Self-care is selfless, not selfish. (More on that later.) I am taking Friday off to knock off some things from that list. 😉 But first, coffee.
Chronic stress can cause extreme duress on the fibro body and your adrenal system.
Managing my fibromyalgia is a careful balancing act of self-care. This involves eating healthy, getting adequate sleep, working out, and taking time for me. Living with fibromyalgia means that normal, every day stressors can place an additional hardship on the fibro body. So when you are faced with an extended period of stress – bad flare or other health crisis, work deadlines, family emergencies, or simply just getting through the holidays – you can place an extreme amount of duress on your body and your adrenal system.
“Adrenaline is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, especially in conditions of stress, increasing rates of blood circulation, breathing, and carbohydrate metabolism and preparing muscles for exertion.”
You can feel this when your heart starts to race or your hands or body sweats. Adrenaline is also responsible for that fight-or-flight mechanism that can give people extraordinary strength in times of crisis. And an over-exposure to the stress hormones can tamper with your overall well-being.
Lately I haven’t been loving myself enough. I have been running on empty, with “no spoons” left to give. No energy to blog, no creativity left to give, and dealing with my messy life.
So taking a few days to enjoy a getaway with my family last week was definitely the self-care, self-preservation, and refueling I needed. Being outdoors is my happy place, as I believe it is holistically therapeutic to be outside.
“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”
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.
“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.