How to Survive Summer if You Have Fibromyalgia
Here we are again. It seems like just yesterday we were ringing in the New Year and yet somehow summer is almost upon us again. Not that I’m complaining, I love summer. Warm summer nights, barbeques, bonfires, flip flops – what’s not to like? Unfortunately, if you’re one of the many fibromyalgia sufferers whose symptoms flare up during the summer months, there is a lot not to like.
According to a recent study, as much as 70% of fibromyalgia patients report a surge in their symptoms during summer or winter. Changes in barometric pressure have also been reported to trigger flare-ups, so when those summer storms roll in your body may be in for a storm of its own. So what can you do to battle the flare-up in symptoms that summer may bring? Here are six effective strategies for relieving your symptoms and minimizing summer’s impact on your fibromyalgia:
I’m a sucker for large, ice-cold fountain sodas in the summer. You don’t need me to tell you that soda doesn’t bode well for fibromyalgia sufferers (or anyone, for that matter). For one, soda does not hydrate the body. In addition, many sodas contain caffeine, which in the long term hurts you more than it helps you. So in lieu of soda, drink plenty of water or other liquids that will hydrate your body. Doing so will boost your body’s ability to regulate body temperate and perform other vital functions.
Not a big fan of drinking water to stay hydrated? Don’t worry – there are other ways to stay hydrated as well, including eating! That’s right – try eating some of these water-rich foods to stay hydrated this summer. Spinach, cabbage and celery are a few of our favorite foods for staying hydrated and cool.
Source: Skinny Ms
For more hydrating recipes and ideas, checkout Skinny Ms
Believe it or not – eating right can help keep you cool and fortify your body with the required vitamins and nutrients to help it better manage a flare-up of symptoms. Our friends over at FooodRepublic.com offer four different tips for eating the right foods to keep cool this summer – including eating plenty of leafy greens as well as magnesium-rich foods like quinoa. Check out their full article here.
Besides eating foods to stay cool and hydrated – look for foods that are rich in the vitamins or nutrients your body needs to stay energized, relieve pain, promote healing and more. For anyone suffering from chronic pain, a few important vitamins and nutrients are magnesium, vitamin B12, Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and iron. Of course, talk with your doctor or dietician about your nutritional needs, as each person is different!
Learn more about Nutrients That Can Help Ease Your Fibromyalgia Pain
In addition to eating right – you should avoid foods and ingredients that can aggravate your symptoms. Some common culprits include artificial sweeteners, caffeine, simple carbs (sugars), dairy products and nightshade vegetables (i.e. potatoes, eggplants, etc.)
For more information on foods that can aggravate your pain, check out this article: 7 Foods That Are Making Your Fibromyalgia Worse
Stick to a sleeping (or at least laying in bed) schedule
Sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately, summer often throws a curve ball at our sleep schedules. It doesn’t get dark until later, meaning our body doesn’t begin naturally producing melatonin (the hormone which regulates sleep cycles) until later in the evening. On top of that, our nights can become filled with more late night activities as friends & family take advantage of the warm summer evenings. Plan ahead now and be aware of your sleep needs so that you don’t inadvertently deprive your body of the rest it needs.
Try low impact exercises
If ever there were a secret drug to help combat a wide array of bodily ills, exercise is it. Perhaps not so secret anymore, exercise is of vital importance to a healthy body and mind. It is proven to improve mood, boost energy and promote better sleep.
Of course, exercise is a bit of a catch-22 if you have fibromyalgia. On the one hand – it has been proven to help improve symptoms long-term. However, for many with fibromyalgia, the widespread pain severely inhibits their ability to exercise. Just getting out of bed and taking a shower is enough to wipe you out some days – so the idea of exercising may seem a bit far-fetched.
If you find yourself in this boat – start out small and slow. Set a goal to do 5-10 minutes of low impact exercises each day. Low impact exercises like yoga, stretching or walking tend to be more gentle on the body but also promote healing. As you become more comfortable with your routine, gradually increase the amount of time you spend exercising each day. We recommend finding a friend or family member to exercise with as well. You’d be surprised how easy it is to come up with excuses not to exercise each day – having an exercise pal helps keep you motivated to stick to your goals.
Dress cool and plan ahead
Help keep your body cool by wearing light, breathable clothing when possible. When planning your day or week, avoid planning activities that require you to be outside during the hottest times of the day – usually between 3 – 6 p.m.
Regulate your body temperature
Your body may have a harder time regulating body temperature and adjusting to exposure to extreme temperatures if you have fibromyalgia. For many – perspiration problems like the lack of sweating sometimes associated with fibromyalgia handicap the body’s ability to regulate itself. These hiccups in temperature regulation can lead to symptoms like muscle pain, fever, lightheadedness, skin irritations and more.
As the temperatures rise and summer gets into full swing, take whatever precautions you can to help minimize your fibromyalgia flare-ups. Of course – you can still get out and enjoy it – just pay close attention to your body and know your limits. You know better than anyone that your body will tell you when it’s time to slow down – but it’s up to you to listen to it. By eating healthy, staying hydrated, dressing cool, sticking to a sleep schedule, staying in shape and planning ahead – you can minimize the flare ups and get the most out of your summer!
What tricks or life hacks do you use to survive the summer months? Share your secrets with us on our Facebook Page.