WHEN FMS THROWS YOU A CURVE: HOW TO COPE
Life is a game. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose but what makes the difference is how we play the game. For those with fybromyalgia (FMS), you might say that life has thrown them a curve. However, it is in situations like this that many people find that inner strength they didn’t know they had. People have ways to adapt to change and coping with fybromyalgia means just that: finding ways to help heal the body and relieve the symptoms. Here are some suggestions that may help.
MAKE LIFE AT WORK BETTER
Although some people are unable to work with FMS, there are plenty of people who still maintain their jobs despite the symptoms. To help cope with FMS on the job, design a flexible plan that works for you and your boss. It may include re-doing your own workspace to more comfortably handle the demands of your job. It may be that you can do some of your work at home instead of in the office or setting your hours for earlier or later in the day so you can be more productive.
KEEP THE CONVERSATION GOING
Fybromyalgia affects everyone around you. It puts stress on you and those you love. It is important that you communicate to your loved ones, friends, and co-workers your situation. They need to understand what is going on with you so they can better handle your situation. Try to plan talks at the time of day you feel best and try to focus on one topic at a time, looking for solutions to that problem. And don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, others with fibromyalgia, or a counselor.
LEARN TO SAY NO
This may be the hardest thing for someone to do. However, with fybromyalgia, you have to put yourself before others in order to be able to be there for others. In other words, when weighing activities, favors, or invitations consider if they will keep you from the rest, exercise, or relaxation you need to feel well. It’s OK to simply say “no” and stick to it.
CREATE A SLEEP SANCTUARY IN YOUR BEDROOM
Sleep problems are common symptoms with fybromyalgia. If you have difficulty getting your rest, make your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary. Set the mood for sleep. Reserve your bed for sleeping, and keep the room dark, quiet, cool, and distraction-free. Keep regular sleep hours and turn off your computer and late-night TV. Instead, wind down with relaxing music, a good book, or a warm bath. Use activities conducive to sleep.
KEEP A JOURNAL
Journal writing is an invaluable tool if you have fybromyalgia. By Keeping track of events, activities, symptoms, and mood changes, you can take charge of your fibromyalgia. You should also include what you eat each day in order to track triggers for your fybromyalgia symptoms. Many times, foods are triggers for flare-ups. You can work to eliminate these triggers or learn coping strategies to lessen their impact. Knowing your triggers can help prevent flare-ups and lead to a more fulfilling life. Having a journal can also help your doctor know what happens to you so he or she can better serve you.
USE MIND/BODY TOOLS FOR RELAXATION
Studies show that when you step back from problems and use mind/body tools to relax, you produce brain waves consistent with serenity and happiness. You might learn to relax with guided imagery, visualization, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, deep abdominal breathing, self-hypnosis, or biofeedback. When you meditate and experience the relaxation response, your body is allowed permission to switch from the pumping “fight or flight” response into a calmer more peaceful mood. Any of these techniques can be used to ease daily tension, anxiety, and pain.
JOIN A GROUP
With many counselors, there is security. Support groups can play an important part in the life of anyone with a chronic illness. When you have FMS, you need all the support you can get. Whether in person or online, these groups offer a safe place to talk with others who may share your frustrations and concerns. Support groups provide emotional support, information, and tips for coping. You will be surprised to know that you are not alone in your struggle. There are others too. Within the support group, problems can be discussed and solution determined because, more than likely, someone in the group has been in the same situations as you and has found the way to cope.
Learning to cope with fybromyalgia is an on-going experience worth the exploration. Try out these suggestions and see if any help you with your situation. Perhaps today will mark a change in your condition and a promise for a better tomorrow.