Take Care of Yourself

TCoY Fibromodem GirlTCoYSometimes we just feel awful: we have no idea what to do to help ourselves feel better.

So, I’m starting a list and maybe you’ll find an idea here that you never thought of…

  1. bring out the heating pad (of course! It had to be number 1 on the list)
  2. take a nap – but a good nap – an in-bed-under-the-covers nap!
  3. have a bubble bath – There is something ethereal about a hot bubble bath. Resting in the warm water is womb-like, comfortable and calming, no rough edges or pressure, just warm quiet water moving against your skin.
  4. hydrotherapy – or just hang out in a warm water pool
  5. hide in your cave – I turn off all the lights, pull down the blinds, light my chocolate scented candles, play relaxing music (you can mix your own at www.soundsleeping.com) and soak up the quiet.
  6. have a massage – look up one of the deal sites, like www.cudo.com, www.scoopon.com, or www.spreets.com (and many more) for a bargain!
  7. eat chocolate – this makes ME feel better. AND dark chocolate and cocoa contain cell-protecting flavonol antioxidant compounds.(Two choc spoon 1tablespoons of natural cocoa have more antioxidant capacity than 3 ½ cups of green tea, ¾ cup of blueberries and 1 1/3 glasses of red wine.) Chocolate contains tryptophan – an essential amino acid known for its anti-depressant and pain killing effects. The body needs tryptophan to make serotonin, which is a “mood” or “feelings” regulator. Serotonin also regulates the body’s sexual response and appetite. When your body has the right level of serotonin, you are more likely to have a feeling of inner harmony and contentment, a feeling of oneness with the universe.

So what do you do to pamper yourself?

(Please add your suggestions in the COMMENTS)

For other strategies, have a look at Tips for Coping with Fibromyalgia

58 Comments

  1. When I’m having a really bad day, I try to find a way not to just get warm but to be in light. If it is sunny outside I take a slow walk or find a comfortable place to sit allowing the sun to warm me and fill me with the vitamin D I need. This helps me so much to be outside. I think that sometimes Fibro sufferers feel disconnected from what we feel is the “normal” world, and often isolate ourselves in darkness with our pain. Being in the full spectrum of the sun can break that isolated feeling and reconnect me eith the world.

    • I think it’s beyond bizarre that some of us (Lauren (in the following comment) and me) feel the need to hide, but others (like you) need to go outside and feel the sunshine.

      When I hide, it’s because the light and sunshine causes me unbearable pain – I couldn’t even think about going outside.

  2. Pingback: God Made Everything out of Nothing, But the Nothingness Shows Through. « fibromodem

  3. When I feel a flare coming on, I have to sleep because I am terrified because they are so painful. When I am in agony and have to find a way to fill in the time between sleep, I snuggle and play with my cats. They always know when I’m not feeling well because they’ll come and sleep right on top of me.

    • Don’t you think it’s bizarre that some of us (you and me) feel the need to hide, but others (like Lani in the previous comment) need to go outside and feel the sunshine.

      When I hide, it’s because the light and sunshine causes me unbearable pain – I couldn’t even think about going outside.

    • This is so Me .Im having a Horrendous Flare up now for past few Weeks.

      .Lauren I feel where you are coming From .

  4. I had a horrific flareup today where everything hurt all day. After my attempt at taking a nap failed due to the phone ringing, I pulled out one of my bellydance tapes, a very gentle one focusing on slow movement, and it helped a lot. I’m also a gamer girl, and getting lost in a story or defeating opponents on a fighting game can get the endorphins going again. I also enjoy the quiet act of preparing and then sipping a cup of tea.

  5. I love your page, am right on track with you not coping yet..wish I could accept that I have to live the rest of my life like this but it hasnt sunken in yet. I still overdo when I feel up to it and pay for it. The side comments of I used to..yup..so true..Fibro stole my life away. It has destroyed my friendships my marraige and my self esteem. I was a hairdresser for 23 years, very well trained and very good at what I did. Upscale shop, high pay, fulltime amazing clientele. Gone..all gone. I had to stop working last year because I couldnt make it through the day, not even a few hours. The anxiety of so many people relying on me made it worse.
    There are days when I can do a few chores in the house and other days I wake after a fractured nights sleep feeling paralyzed.
    One of the things I saw here that you may want to look into is your love of chocolate. I myself am an addict, could never get enough! Now it makes me sicker, from some research I have done I have found out about Oxalates..naturally occurring in many foods, as well as cocoa and chocolate. I have started keeping a food log so I can monitor if i am affected by Oxalates. Just thought I would share this with you.
    Thank you for creating such a great site, I will follow your posts!
    wishing you better health, jackie

    http://alwayswellwithin.com/2010/04/27/high-oxalate-foods-can-trigger-pain-and-inflammation/

  6. Hi..I’m new to this page, but not to fibro. Was diagnosed in 2000 but have had it for a lot longer. Had a lot medical wise going on so think that was what did it. Anyway..when I am flaring, heat..whether it be my trusty mattress pad (well worth the investment) or heat pad, my chocolate, and quiet..some days..in the summer ususally if I am flaring up bad, I go outside, and lay in a nice patch of soft grass until the bugs start to bother me. The sun just really feels like a soft cocoon. I put a cap or something dark over my eyes, as the light usually is horrible on them in a flare but the sun feels so good!
    Soft Hugs & luvs
    Joanie

  7. I know its not healthy for me but I love to sun tan…I love to spend to spend time in a tanning bed you just get to feel so warm for a short period of time that all my body feels great, it lasts for a few days then it gone.

    • Well I’m another warmth lover…but I LOVE the sun…I love how it feels on me..penetrating to my bones and helping my ache. I live in a humid area tho and that makes being outside hard to deal with…you are soaked with sweat the minute you go outside….but spring and fall are great.
      At other times I want it to be dark and quiet and SOFT. I will not wear something that I do not consider soft enough.
      Lani…you are right…we are disconnected from the “normal” world. We can hardly keep up with the fast pace. I live alone now and have no friends. I have some family but I am not with them all the time..sometimes it gets lonely…but I am trying to start liking quiet time at home. I rest for when the time comes and I need to enter the real world. It seems I am only living about a third my life…the other part is spent resting…dealing with my health…….etc.

      • Hi Sarah,

        I love the sun, too but it really can’t be relied upon here in Melbourne, Australia (we’re known for 4 seasons in one day!) so I still want to move to Bali. It was humid there but, for some reason, it didn’t affect me badly whereas humidity here makes me crawl inside.

  8. I have a heated mattress pad! Whole body heating pad

  9. Lol. I hv both electric & canine

  10. Peggie Covington

    a few months ago I switched from a medically accomodated day shift, (set days, hours, breaks, days off) to an overnight position because of promotion. In less than five months, most of what I have worked for two years to accomplish has been demolished. My fog is bad at night. I cant think, concentrate properly or retain info on things I am trying to learn. I dont have set days off now, I cant sleep during the day, so no rest, impaired cognitive functions and a body rapidly breaking down and people are NOT understanding save one dear friend at work. I dont know what to do and I am stressed and distraught which only worsens everything. i am at the end of my rope here.

    • Shit! Have you spoken to a supervisor or HR person to get some of those accomodations transferred to your night position?
      Otherwise, it mught be time to decide what’s most important – I know we want our promotions BUT how bad? I did 15 years of night shift – and it’s taken me 4 years to nearly get back to normal (I still need help to go to sleep at a ‘normal’ time!).
      Ultimately, it’s all up to you (which really doesn’t make it easier, does it?) and you will have to make a decision. I hope you make the right one for you!

      • Peggie Covington

        yes maam I spoke to my sup last month. She said no day shifts for my project open. she doesnt understand.they think im using excuses but they dont live with this. she says sleep during the day, i said with fibro its almost impossible to sleep during the day. I want to go back to the project i already know and can do with my mon-fri. six am to two thirty pm . I didnt know that night shift would just about kill me at this point or I wouldnt have taken promo to be honest. I also deal with diabetes and degenerative arthritis on top of my fibro. i just got off shift but still several hours of work. my off time constantly interrupted. inconsistent bed times and wake times. i am near collapse and NO ONE understands except hubs and kids and my one friend at work because she has it too. I wish I had a number to call where someone would listen, understand and let me get it off my chest.

  11. I’ve never had a day of remission since my diagnosis two years ago. I am housebound & getting to shower is an AMAZING day! When my neck & shoulders get tight, my 12 year old uses her little fingers to rub out the knots…it works amazingly well! My family is also trained to bring my pain meds – they know quantities & frequencies. And my husband does ALL of the housework every weekend. Oh, I play word games online since I am losing cognition, concentration & memory at an alarming rate – it DOES seem to help. Thanks for this site.

  12. Peggie Covington

    feeling somewhat better til some nasty weather moved in yesterday. now it feels like i havent slept for a week. there may be some light at the end of the tunnel though. I have a shot at a day shift which will allow me to sleep at night

  13. I’m amazed that so many fibro suffers like heat. I can’t stand it! Showers are often painful and hot water makes it worse. If I’m overdoing it and heading towards a fibro episode, I start to sweat. In Wisconsin, July and August are hot and humid months. I live inside. Last year, I didn’t get outside much at all due to several eye surgeries and this year I’m finding my skin tingles and “burns” when I am outside. I think the sun hurts my skin.

    I am grateful that this year is better than last year. I’m on a med regiment that allows me to function better and keeps the hard core pain at bay most of the time. I sleep terribly (hip pain usually wakes me up),so I sleep in shifts, which works for me. I won my disability case on the first try (my hat trick – visually impaired/retina detachments, fibro and Type II diabetes), and that was an enormous load off my mind.

    So glad I finally found a resource for dealing fibro. There is nothing locally where I lie. Very grateful! Glad to be here!

  14. I love heat from any source! I enjoy being out in the sun most of all but I do have to wear good sun glasses because the sunlight hurts my eyes. I have a tanning bed in my home just for my FM. It helps the pain through the winter months. I cannot stand to be cold! It causes my pain to increase tenfold! I live in Southern Indiana and we never know what the weather will be from day to day!

    For those dealing with work, I understand. I am out of FMLA at work and only have a few days of vacation left. After those days are gone, I will be let go. I am not sure what will happen after that or what I will do. The only thing I am sure about is that I have to find a way to accept that my life will never be the same. It will consist of pain every day. How do we accept that? Especially when most people do not even believe that we are sick?

    Good luck and soft hugs to all!

    Great site Purple Lady! Thanks for a safe place!

    • I live in Southern Indiana also Rachel and you are sooo right about the weather!!! I have a tenes unit that helps me ALOT!!!! It is very very hard to accept that this is the way life is going to be for the rest of my life!!! I have 2 small children! My 10 year old has decided she is sgoing to find a cure for mommy and grandma! My mom also deals with fibro!!

  15. Danielle Huertas

    I am new to your page but not to Fibro. I started suffering when I first got pregnant and was kind of pushed aside by doctors over the years one after the other. They kept telling me I was stressed. I kept telling them I was in pain. I have two boys 5 & 2 and it is so hard to keep up with them. I have felt like a failure and that fibro has stolen their healthy active mom. It has put a strain on my marriage. I was working as a career mom too and thought I could do it all. I just stopped working in December when I finally broke. I am still trying to get my house back in order. It has been a very rough road. I am trying to set small daily goals so I don’t feel like a horrilbe failure. My career is on hold. I don’t know if I will get it back. My short term income runs out next week and now I stress how we will keep our home without my income. The resources in the US for Fibor are just not present. The doctors don’t know much about it and will tell you too your face that you they might not be able to do anything for you or treat you at all. It is very discouraging. I have been through the ringer for 6 years of suffering and trying to cope and just pushing through day to day from doctor to doctor thinking that oh he has great recommendations he will be able to help just to be let down. I have given up at times but see my babies and know I can’t. If I didn’t have them I might just lay on the couch and say this is it but changing diapers, potty training and feeding them 7 not 3 meals a day there is no time to just lay around!!! I now have a TEAM of specialists at Strong Pain Clinic, not one doctor, and there is one doctor there who I will not see. Don’t call me honey and tell me I am stressed. LISTEN TO ME AND DO NOT INTERUPT I WILL TELL YOU WHAT IS IS GOING ON INSIDE MY BODY. Walk one day in shoes and HONEY. I look young but I am a successful WOMAN, call me Danielle.

  16. It doesn’t help in a practical sense – but it might help you emotionally: I know, I understand and I get it!
    All I can suggest is that you take advantage of the good moments!

  17. hello my daughter brought me here i didnt ask her too i dont like to ask anyone im so proud,, to even accept im ill i hate that i have to visit my gp weekly and have 3 consultants, Each one i feel doesnt believe me,,, then last week i received it in writing i didnt want to believe it after years and years of fighting for diagnosis the one diagnosis you dont want to get is one that says even today doctors and nurses dont understand or in some cases even believe me. I read a book a while ago about fybro and the part i took onboard the most was that we are so involved in our devastating illness that we forget our famillies and how they feel they let us down because they cant make us better because of this i make a point of regularly telling my precious husband that hes not to blame although i shout im not shouting at him im shouting at my illness. my husband is my carer but he knows better than me when im going into flare up because he seeing the fighting when i overdo my limitations i choose to ignore the sign posts, my days are such that when my grandson comes im able to manage but when he leaves i crash hard. but i have the memory when im crashed i can then experience times again through video and photos and i know i have achieved something every day not many people know i have fybro because i would rather show the laughter side

  18. What do I do? Exercise!! What? Well, when I feel I can, I do TAI CHI. And if I don’t feel I can, I do it anyway. After 20-30 minutes a day, I can really feel the difference!

    Thanks! Nice blog. I love purple! I’ll buy a pin. 🙂

  19. Peggie Covington

    I GOT THE DAY SHIFT!! I GOT THE DAY SHIFT!! I GOT THE DAY SHIFT!!

  20. I hide because I don’t have the energy to get dressed, do my hair, put any makeup or being pleasant to anyone.

  21. Wow. I was reluctant to get involved with this site. Don’t know why, but I’m so glad that I took time to read what others are going thru. I was SO vibrant and active until about 2008. My nickname was the energizer bunny. Diagnosed in March 2010, applied for SS Disability November 2010, started receiving benefits, July 2011. I think I was one of the lucky ones. But, the hardest part for me is wanting to work, wanting to do things and not having the energy to do them. If I do, I’ll have an ‘episode’. THEN, having people tell me that I don’t look sick…wow. Sometimes I want to just SCREAM!!!! Thanks, Purple Law Lady for the site.

    • Hi Debra!

      I’m glad you decided to read what others here have to say – it does seem to make it all a little less lonely!

      And i know what you mean: my mind tells me (when it’s not foggy) that I can do anything, so out I go and try, then the next day my body tells me that my mind has no idea what I can or can’t do, and ii have to spend the day getting over it.

      Also, I haven’t found that switch that tells me that it’s enough (and I suspect you’re the same) so you just keep going and going, until exhaustion hits. I’m thinking of carrying around a timer so after an hour or so, I have to stop!

      I hope you enjoy (is that the right word, do you think?) what I write and what others have to say about it; and I hope you decide to join in some of the conversations.

  22. I think that emotionally one of the hardest thing is to hear people tell me I don’t look sick.I am the type of person that I don’t leave my house unless my hair is done and makeup on my face. So, everyone sees the “clown”. This is the reason it is harder to get out of the house because I don’t have the enerrgy to fix myself.
    Thank you so much for hearing me out, Maritza

    • Maritza,

      Please don’t lock yourself up just because you don’t feel like you have done your make-up and hair – just change what makes you feel good enough to get out.

      I got rid of most of my hair so I don’t have to do it all the time. And, at the moment it is purple, so most people don’t notice that I’m not wearing any make-up; and I can’t believe the number of comments I get from people about how they love my hair!

      It’s ok to cocoon yourself in your safe place when you feel fragile, but you DO need to get out and talk to people (even people at the grocery store – that’s my favorite actually as they are never deep conversations) and do things that you enjoy.

      Or maybe try the wide-brimmed hat trick – I love hats as they cover up a multitude of sins (are easy to just too just throw on before leaving the house) and still look incredibly stylish!

      I hope you can find a way to still mingle in the real world. I know it’s hard – I loved make-up (I had to cover my bath with a piece of wood so I had more shelf space for my make-up) but I think it’s one of those necessary steps.

      Please, please try; and let me know how you’re going. xxx

  23. Just wondering if anyone has checked out the BC Pain site on facebook? I wanted to but my computer is too old.
    Feel free to look at my fb page and check it out

  24. I’m really glad to have found this on fb. I am 1 of the lucky one’s that the medication I take does help alot. Well, it did for 2 years. I just had to be put on another pain med and it seems to help alot. But, when I feel good and I over do it and truely pay for it. I also have Rheumatory Arthritis. I had if long before being diagnosed with Fibro. I thought my RA was flaring up. That’s what people don’t understand is how painful it is. I have found the Fibro is just as painful as the RA. Sometimes it’s hard to determine between the 2. I am one that also loves the heat. It helps with both. A hot shower is the best.on my neck, shoulders and back. I’ve had people to tell me I needed to get out and walk or exercise. Quit setting in the house. That it wasn’t helping me. They just don’t understand that it’s not that easy. And want to compare it to some simple arthritis or pain that they have. And of course, then it makes me feel like I’m being a lazy person when I say I can’t do those things. Or I have no energy. Thank you for starting this page. I hate that we all have to deal with this.

  25. Thank you soooooooooo much for this page!!! I have my mom to go to but she lives in Texas! I have an amazing man who is understanding and supportive of me!!! I am also very lucky to have children who are soooo sweet and soooo helpful!!! I dont know what I would do without all of them!! I had to leave my job due to fibro!! I was a home health aid and I had the greatest clients ever!!! They were like family to me and I miss them sooo much but they just dont understand!! My friend has gave me a lot of slack and accused me of giving up and not fighting!! The HARDEST part for me is to get out!!! I live in Indiana where we are having record heat and I sweat my tenes unit pads off and I dont like going out with the wires anyway!!!! Meds help (Lyrica) but not completely!!! I have gains over 20 pounds since being diagnosed in May! It is very very hard to accept this is how life is going to be for the rest of my life!!! I still dont think I have wrapped my brain around it!! I still have more bad days than good! For me the restless leg syndrome is one of the worst issues I deal with along with the fibro!!! I feel guilty when I cant do for my family like they are used to! I feel like such a bad mom and a failure!!! Not so sure how to get past those feelings!!! My 10 year old daughter has decided she is going to find a cure for mommy and grandma!!! I am bookmarking this page so I can visit it often!!! THanks again for showing me I am not alone!!!!

  26. ITS BEEN 6 MONTHS I FOUND OUT;BUT NOW I KNOW ITS BEEN 3 YEARS OR SO;IM FM;SUFFERER NHAVE BEEN ON ANTI;DEPRESSANTS N SLEEPERS FOR 14 YRS;IM SOOOOOOO RELIEVED IF FOUND YOU;TO DAY IS BIG FLARE UP;IM FROM MALTA,,,,,,,,,ITS VAGUE 4 DOCTORS TO SPEAK.NEVER MIND LISTEN;IV BEEN IN SPORTS ALL MY LIFE N WAS A JUNIOU COUNSELLER;NOW IM ALL BUT I?IFS?N HOWS?I HAVE A PARTNER….TRIES TO UNDERSTAND;IM LOST 4 MORE WORDS;P

  27. I have had FM most of my life, it was pure hell, that’s when the Drs. said to us FM patients is was all in our head, well I have been pain free for quite some time, I see nothing in any of the FM groups that even mention about what I do. I am going to start my own page, I have mentioned a few times how I finally got relief 7 no one seems like they hear or see it. Be on the look out for a new group page from me.Nancy, Soft Hugs <3

  28. So happy to be able to read all comments so I can be educated. New to Fibto and need to know about it. Thanks.

  29. I have a heated vibrator pad for car/home. I put it on a pillow or two on my bed, lie on it
    and close my eyes. set an alarm for safety sake.

  30. Hi Karen, I will have to try a tense unit. My left leg is very swollen for some unknown reason today? Has that happened to you before? It’s a first for me. Well, swelling this bad is. Your daughter sounds sweet and wonderful! My kids are all grown. My baby girl turned 21 last week. I’m not sure I could take care of young ones, with everything else. You must be a strong woman! Thanks for the reply! If you ever just want to chat my email is racheldt@insigjtbb.com. I check it at least a couple times a day. Wishing you less pain or if possible pain free days or even hours!

  31. I find that distraction helps me….If I can really get involved in a book, the computer or another activity it will keep me not focused on the pain….I use this frequently when waiting for pain meds to “kick in”. Worst case scenario I knock myself out with muscle relaxers and sleep a bit…praying that when I wake up I feel a bit better. Flares are NOT fun….and to top it off I have RA and Graves disease.
    The doctor always said lose weight and you will feel better…well I lost over 100 pounds and it had NO effect on my pain level. Yes, it helped my blood sugar level and general health but NOT fibro pain.

  32. I was diagnosed in in 1999 and I am now in “Control” of the situation :). Here is my bag of tricks 🙂

    1) 8 -10 hours of DEEP sleep (If you can’t sleep 2 Muscle relaxers will do the trick, this is only if you can’t sleep and not every night)
    2) Make your bedroom the most comfortable place in the house, your bed should be your sanctuary, like sleeping on a cloud in heaven.
    3) Be positive, don’t feel sorry for yourself because we may be suffering physically but we do have all our limbs and we are alive.
    4) Don’t let doctors prescribe you way too much medication. When I was first diagnosed they had me on 26 medications.
    5) Natural Remedies Work – Chiropractic saved my life and got me off the medications. Accupressure helps relax the muscles and give them a break. Massage works miracles – two days after the pain goes away.
    6) DO NOT VACUUM!!
    7) If you are willing to try some of the drugs, try them. After 3 years my doctor finally convinced me to try Celexa 40MG! I have felt like I am 21 again on my activity level, it is amazing and I have lost 53 pounds because of how active I have become.
    8) Have fun play with your kids, it is important in life to enjoy it and try to distract yourself from the pain.
    9) Don’t wallow in self-pity, I have tried it and it does not work!! People don’t understand so don’t try to explain, if they care enough they will research it.
    10) Don’t act too surprised when a loved one FINALLY researches it and says WOW you don’t look like your that sick. Again I have it under control and most people don’t realize how much pain I am in on a daily basis.
    11) Keep Going and Have Faith … Don’t give up .. Little Nemo never gave up and was able to make it home! I was told I was going to be on disability for the rest of my life. Within a year of seeing a chiropractor I took on a full time job and have had two children and I feel great!! (Never 100% but awesome).

  33. Saw you did a ping back on my post about Fibro Awareness Day. That you are starting early to en-mass the troupes is an honorable thing to be doing And with Fibro too.

    Thank you for adding my message to yours Hi ope you’ll find something good at FiullCircledMe and I have another blog http://www.barefootbaroness.org/ that is all about life, with Fibro and in spite of it I am thriving after 29 going on 30 yrs.

    Take care Fibro sister

  34. Yesssss! Thank you for the info on the heating pad. I am hot natured and still use one. My BF keeps saying that ice is the recommended treatment for ALL injuries/pain. I can’t get him to understand that THIS is not like other things.

    I do not tell people that I have Fibro, they probably think I am just blowing off work at the end of the week all the time. But the truth is I am exhausted and just simply cant…I cant do much except lay in bed. I feel lazy but its all I know that will help.

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