ABCs Of Bouncing Back From A Flare
I’ve been in a flare lately. A combination of weather (it’s storm season here) and just over-doing it with work and life. I try to remember to do the right things to avoid a flare in the first place, but sometimes I mess up.
When I get really over-loaded instead of prioritizing things that I know are helpful, like exercise and meditation/mindfulness, I set those things aside in favor of the “shoulds”. Shoulds are terrible things.
I’d done an excellent job of getting the shoulds out of my life for the last few years, and then I let them creep back in and now I’m struggling to re-balance.
Thinking back, I realize that the last time I felt like this was my last semester in school. It was a spring semester so the time of the year was about the same, but I was so overloaded with studies and working at the same time.
My schedule was all out of whack (because I signed up for an evening class) and I was required to do a lot of lab hours for my senior Psych class. I just got overwhelmed. And, that’s what’s been happening again lately.
Last month I took on a pretty intensive freelance project. I’m in the process of getting my house ready to sell. Just the decision of selling my house and what I will do next is a stressor itself. We are in stormy season here (which, for me, has always been a trigger for both Fibro and migraines). So, things have just mounted. Add to that that I’ve fallen out of the habits of exercise and meditation. (I’m trying to fix that).
So, now I’m in a flare and it’s time to remind myself what I need to do to bounce back out of it… because it can be done.
Flares are a part of life when you live with Fibromyalgia or other illnesses that cause chronic fatigue / chronic pain. While the flare itself it stressful, sometimes trying to bounce back from the flare once you feel better can be just as stressful and dangerous.
Rather than trying to do everything I’d normally do while also trying catch up on everything I missed, I have to take some time to allow myself to adjust.
Related: What causes fibro flares?
Remember the ABCs of bouncing back from a flare.
Accept & Acknowledge
I have to accept that I’m returning from a flare and acknowledge that there are things that I didn’t do while I was down.
I also have to acknowledge that while there are things that may need to get done, I probably won’t be able to do it all… and trying to do it all will mean another flare.
I’m a list maker. I didn’t used to be a list maker and I’m still not a full-fledged list-for-everything person. But, I do keep a to-do list and a running grocery list, a list for ideas. Basically, if I need to remember it it’s getting put down on a list.
I usually use my phone. Google has been great for this with Google Tasks and Google Keep. I keep a running “to do” list of regular items on my Google Tasks manager, shifting things over to a different day when they don’t get completed. There are items that have been put off for months… and probably just need to be removed altogether (they obviously aren’t that important).
Instead of freaking out over things that aren’t getting done when I’m not feeling well, I just add the item to my to do list (to do when I’m feeling better). Once I’m feeling better I slowly (keyword) work my way through that list. I try to make sure that there’s never more than a few items on any given day. This helps me pace myself and avoid over-doing it.
I have to accept that I’m not going to get caught up all in one day, and that’s OK.I have to accept that I’m not going to get caught up all in one day, and that’s OK. Click To Tweet
Balance Your Needs
When I’m feeling well I must continue to live normally as best I can. I can’t get hung up on what I feel I should do or what others “need”.
This week I’ve been feeling cruddy and of course it’s the week that everyone shows up out of the woodwork wanting my attention. As I start to feel better it would be very easy for me to try to make plans for everyone at once; lunch with a different friend or family member each day, while also trying to get groceries, get my house ready to sell, and get work done. But, that’s not realistic. I have to balance my needs.
Something I realized as I worked this large project is that it would be very difficult for me to balance my need to have any sort of social life, let alone my need to get groceries and keep a house, while having a full-time job. I just don’t have that kind of energy anymore and trying to do it all would really stress me out and send me into a long-term flare.
I really don’t know how those of who work full time manage it all.In the end, it’s up to me to prioritize my needs and decide what’s most important and figure out how to work it all into my life. I have to find ways to work that allow me that freedom and balance.It’s up to me to prioritize my needs. No one else will do it for me, nor will they help me maintain my priorities if I'm not doing it for myself. Click To Tweet
Confront what needs to be done
Accepting and balancing doesn’t mean that I ignore or avoid what needs to be done. I have to confront the things that need to be done.
Trying to avoid that growing to do list will only make it longer. That said when I’ve been over-stressed and crashed in a flare, sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation to get going again.
This past week I was in a state where I didn’t have a ton of energy or motivation, but I was finally to a point where I had more time to address things on my list. Rather than get stressed out or do what I really wanted to do (vegetate), I addressed some of the smaller items on my list that could be done easily and without a lot of stress. This actually made me feel much better because things were getting checked off, even though they weren’t large items.
Seeing small items getting checked off gave me more motivation to move onto slightly larger items.
Did I get everything on my list done this week? Nope. Definitely not. But, I got several things done and the rest will get moved to next week and I will eventually get through it all.
Let’s hope that this flare is finally over. I’m hoping that the storms are done and sun is finally coming out and with it I will find renewed energy to do all the things. Let’s hope… because I’ve got a whole house to pack up!
- How I Shorten Fibro Flares
- A Playlist for Fibro Flare Days
- The Flare Survival Kit
- 5 Tips for Getting Through a Flare
- Learn to Control Your Pain and Flares