If you struggle with coping with chronic pain and fatigue, there are three basic things you can do to help improve your symptoms and your life. They all start with M, just to make them easier to remember. Better yet, they are all things you need to maintain.
When you live with chronic pain and fatigue, it’s easy to convince yourself that no one wants to be around you, but it’s not true. Even if you don’t feel like getting out of the house, you can still maintain relationships with your friends and family. Remember, isolation feeds depression. Use the phone, if you are a phone person get on the phone and stay on the phone. Talking with others is a great way to keep your energy up and feel less isolated. Of course, some of us are more introverted or just don’t enjoy talking on the phone, in those cases, use the internet to stay connected, text your friends and when you feel up to it, invite them over. Get out of the house and see people as much as your pain allows.
One more thought, being there for others can also help you feel better. Sometimes taking time to look outside ourselves, and help someone else, even if it’s just by listening can be a great distraction and can help ease your pain, even if just for a short while.
Maintain a Routine
When insomnia strikes it can be difficult to maintain a routine, you are up at 2am, and ready to crawl back in bed at 8am. But, it’s important to try to maintain as much of your routine as possible. Try to stick to a normal routine not only for what time you wake up and go to bed, but during your day. If you can continue working even a short day, or doing something on a regular schedule it will help you feel better mentally. The more you give up the more depressed you will feel, which adds to pain, continuing a cycle. Having a regular schedule reduces stress of worrying about your schedule.
Instead of focusing on things you can’t do, make a “done” list of things as you do them (even if they aren’t on your list). Same days that might be as simple as writing in that you took a shower, or got out of the house. Whatever it is, write it down. As for all the things you feel you “need to do” that should be on your “to do” list, that’s fine. Writing it down gets it off your mind and puts it on paper where you can refer to it later when you have time/energy to handle it. Or, better yet, delegate it or dump it. Sometimes after you stare at something on a list long enough you realize that it wasn’t really that important.
Maintain your health
Do as much as you can to maintain your health. Start each morning with a stretching to warm up your muscles and keep them flexible. This will help cut down on some of the muscle pain Fibro leaves you with. From there feed your body well with proper clean (non-processed foods) and good supplements (like magnesium, Fish Oil, Tumeric, and Vitamin D) to help improve fatigue and reduce pain. Don’t’ forget your meds. Set alarms on your phone if you need to help you remember when to take your meds. If you feel that your meds are increasing negative symptoms (especially depression) tell your doctor right away. Don’t be afraid to call your doctor when you have questions about your health.