Everything Hurts

4 Fibromyalgia Lifestyle Changes to Make Today

Amanda Vinci3 Comments
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I've partnered with NewLifeOutlook to bring this article to Everything Hurts! I hope you find it helpful in your fibro fight, and let me know if you'd like to see more articles like this on EH 🖤

  Trying not to let fibro get in the way of having some fun!

Trying not to let fibro get in the way of having some fun!

Living with the symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic, widespread pain isn't easy nor is it comfortable. One day you may feel great and the next awful – fibromyalgia is just unpredictable. While fibromyalgia may impact your daily lifestyle, it shouldn't define you. 

If you're looking to improve your overall quality of life with fibromyalgia and chronic pain, you can easily adopt a few lifestyle changes to help improve fibromyalgia symptoms like fatigue, trouble thinking (fibro fog), poor sleep, depression and/or anxiety.  

Below are several tips help make living with fibromyalgia and chronic pain a little easier (and hopefully a little more comfortable). 

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As you already know, fibromyalgia is an unpredictable condition. You may find yourself in more pain or more exhausted than usual at times. This is where planning and pacing come in. 

Before you go to bed, decide on what activities or events you need to fit into the next day. For example, If you need to clean or exercise, set some time out – it can be for 15 minutes or just 30 minutes. By planning ahead each day for just a few moments before bed, you'll be ready to take on the next day. 

You can also sort by priority if time management is not your thing. For example, you know your to-do list is long, but there's only so much you can do in a day (and what your fibromyalgia will allow you to do), instead pick the activities that you know that need to be done and focus on completing those first before you go on to the next task. 

Lastly, pace yourself and schedule your activities between periods of rest. It's completely okay to break up activities into smaller parts if you need to. Also, if you don’t achieve all that you wanted to, be easy on yourself and don't stress about it. You did your best, and you should be proud of that.

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Stress can make fibromyalgia or chronic pain worse, and stress relief and relaxation techniques may help to manage stress and anxiety and help with sleep.

There are numerous different relaxation techniques, and many of these methods work better for different people. At first, you may need to experiment to discover what type of relaxation methods work for you. 

For example, some people with chronic pain find that practicing deep breathing exercises help to reduce anxiety and promote better sleep, while others find that light stretching helps with fatigue and manages stress. 

While relaxation and stress relief techniques aren't limited to deep breathing exercises and light stretching, you may also consider yoga, low-impact exercises (i.e., walking or biking), guided meditation, reading, crafts or tending to a hobby. 

Also, don't be afraid to reach out to online groups or communities about what their stress relief and relaxation methods are! 

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It can be challenging to find the motivation to exercise when you are suffering from chronic pain. Studies have shown that exercise benefits people living with fibromyalgia and chronic pain. The benefits of exercise found that it leads to increased energy levels, improved sleep, reduced fatigue and higher fitness.

Excellent exercises for people with chronic pain are low-impact exercises. Low-impact activities include walking, cycling, the stairs, strength training, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, yoga, pilates, swimming, water aerobics, and dancing. While the list could go longer, these can be a starting point in finding the right exercise for you and one that you will enjoy.

If you want to begin an exercise routine, start gently and slowly, learn your limits, and don’t push yourself too hard because that can make your pain and fatigue worse. If you overdo it, it's important to take a rest day and try again when your body is feeling up to it. 

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People with chronic pain and fibromyalgia usually have difficulty falling or staying asleep due to muscle pain and tenderness, and there's only so much you can do about the symptoms. 

One lifestyle habit that may help in managing these nighttime symptoms is to practice healthy sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene includes going to bed at the same time every night, cutting back on caffeine before bedtime, removing all electronics from the room (or turning them off two hours before bed), and setting your bedroom to be as dark and relaxing and not too hot or cold.

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Living with chronic pain and fibromyalgia can be tricky, but it's easier to maintain better day-to-day functioning when you feel empowered and in control of your condition. 

By adding these tips above to your day-to-day life, from planning your day, resting and exercising, to developing healthy habits, you can feel more in control over your fibromyalgia and chronic pain management.

Bio 
NewLifeOutlook aims to empower people living with chronic mental and physical health conditions, encouraging them to embrace a positive outlook despite unfortunate circumstances.

Our articles are full of practical advice from people who have firsthand experience of fibromyalgia and chronic pain, and as a result truly understand what our readers are going through, and our community members are welcoming, understanding and supportive.

Resistance training with Fibromyalgia

Amanda VinciComment

Hey all!

I was recently featured in an article on New Life Outlook written by a fellow amazing fibro fighter, Adriel. She writes about how resistance training could be beneficial for fibromyalgia pain, giving helpful tips and just how you can get started. It's not another article telling you you HAVE TO EXERCISE, we get it... exercise is good for us, we just don't know how to go about doing it.

 
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I've been working with my awesome personal trainer Rob for over a year now. It's amazing what a difference fitness has made in my fight. I'm capable of so much more than I thought was possible with my condition. Fibro fighters are strong as hell, but who knew we could be physically strong too? Check out the full article here.

xx
Amanda

A limitless life with chronic pain

Amanda VinciComment
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"And here you are living despite it all"
Rupi Kaur's single line of poetry relates struggle of a spoonie in the simplest of ways. It's not corny, it's not exaggerated, it's just plain true. We are all here, alive, moving forward... at whatever pace it may be, regardless of the cards we've been dealt. What a simple and empowering statement.

Yet it should not be interpreted that living is merely enough... we shouldn't settle for just being alive. Because we are alive, anything is possible.

I've lived nearly half of my life with a chronic illness. 14 years of waking up and feeling pain someplace or everyplace on my body. Most days I rally and rise, go to work and out with friends, try my hand at physical fitness and clean my apartment. Some days I lie motionless because the physical pain is too much to bear or the mental exhaustion is overwhelming. As a spoonie, it's the balance of both of these kind of days that is necessary for my success as a person.

At the beginning of my fight I was 50/50. Half good days, half bad. For a while I was fine with that. For every fun day I had out of bed... going to high school like a regular kid, I had one down day to watch Oprah and eat frozen cookie dough (yes, Oprah was still on air). And by fine with it I mean I was pretty damn depressed but chalked it all up to teenage angst — and I was a teen who actually had something real to be angsty about.

A year into my battle I started wanting to stay home even on days I felt okay enough to go out. The reality of being in pain forever had hit me hard. This is who I was and who I'd always be. I obsessed over thoughts of never being normal and how my illness would make me less than everyone else. I had been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and this strange new word became as important as my own name was to me. If someone were to ask me who I was at that time, I would have immediately thought of my illness and not of my talents and passions and goals. 

I look back now and realize I placed limitations on myself simply because I was sick and not because I truly couldn't accomplish something. I'd immediately assume I wasn't able to climb three flights of steps rather than try to and fail. I was afraid of proving myself right, facing the reality that I was a young woman with a disability. Declaring that "I can't" was on my own terms, giving me a sliver of control over the pain. Do I blame myself for handling my condition this way? Absolutely not. It took me a long time to notice that my pain wasn't always in my way — I was.

Here I am at 29 years old, fourteen years after my original diagnosis, with the addition of a few other conditions and plenty of experience with the ups and downs of having a chronic illness. My symptoms sometimes limit me but I have a limitless life. It's limitless because I no longer hold myself back from experiencing things out of fear that my pain might stop me. Whether I'm trying a new exercise with my personal trainer or committing to a work assignment, I say yes before my body says no. It's important to listen to your body, but hey, at least give it a chance to speak.

17 lessons learned in 2017

Amanda VinciComment

01.  I identify as a spoonie, but being a spoonie is not my identity

02.  I have the same ability every other person has, even with a disability

03.  Physical fitness is achievable, even with chronic pain

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05.  Don't trust first impressions

06.  Allow myself to feel sad. It's okay to not be okay

07.  Stand up for what's just. Speak up for myself and for others

08.  Always plan for some down time after periods of high activity

09.  Speak openly and without apology about my illness

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11.  Don't be afraid to try new treatments and let go of old ones

12.  Think about the future but don't obsess over it

13.  Make a conscious effort to focus when foggy

14.  I am not alone in this fight

15.  Don't place limitations on myself before even attempting to do something

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17.   My muscles do way more than just feel pain

18.  I love my body, it's given me so much more than its taken away

 

BONUS WALLPAPERS

Tricks & Treats for Spoonies

Amanda VinciComment

It's day after Halloween, but I'm still in the trick or treat spirit. Whether you've been feeling pretty ghoulish this fall or are a flare-free unicorn, one things for sure — we're all a little bit Wonder Woman. Here are my favorite fall tricks and treats for feeling good and getting cozy!

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TRICK: INVISIBOBBLE
These telephone cord hair ties are totally on trend right now, and for good reason. The Invisibobble helps you to style all sorts of up-dos without creating dents or causing headaches and migraines. I've also uncovered a hidden use! I like to keep one on my right wrist to rub out arthritis pain by simply rolling it around! 

TREAT: DRY ROSÉ CIDER
Wölffer Estate is beautiful winery located right nearby my home in Long Island, NY. They've recently gotten some new attention for their beautifully designed wine bottles and labels, and as a designer, I couldn't help but give them a try. I've fallen in love with their individual bottles of Dry Rosé Cider and refuse to stop drinking it just because it's fall. Who says cider has to be apple?

TRICK: UNDER-DESK LEG REST
I simply can't get work done with my legs planted on the floor in an upright seated position. I always need to adjust, stretch and elevate to keep from cramping and an under-desk leg rest is the key to my productivity.

TREAT: GLOSSIER MILKY JELLY CLEANSER
All the pretty girls are using it, and since all girls are pretty, you guys should definitely use this too! My skin is not handling the spastic summer/fall/winter weather rotation that's been underway in NYC, and this gentle & natural cleanser has soothed my irritation and left my skin feeling soft and supple.

TREAT & TRICK: MADEWELL SCARF
It's scarf season! So treat yourself to a big soft, adorable and oversized one like this Madewell embroidered "Making Faces" cotton number. The trick? I like to use my scarves to stretch out during the day, almost like a resistance band.

TRICK: COOLING MASK
Everyone's about the face masks lately, including me. But how about one you can use again and again? Two night ago I woke up in the middle of the night to super irritated skin and a swollen jawline. I grabbed an ice pack and fell asleep with it but it just wasn't staying in place or covering enough of my face. I purchased this awesome/scary looking mask on Amazon and I can't wait to try it out!  

What products are you fawning over this fall?