Getting Better

I’ve been very busy over the last six months and had some major changes in my life that have been very stress­ful. As I’ve said else­where, my main strat­e­gy in deal­ing with fibromyal­gia has been to reduce stress in my life as much as possible.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the main source of stress in my life over the last year was my rela­tion­ship with my life part­ner. That end­ed in Jan­u­ary, which led to a brief peri­od of great­ly increased stress—moving house, major lifestyle changes, etc. I end­ed up in the hos­pi­tal as an out­pa­tient for a brief time due to depres­sion, which is one of my biggest health issues.

How­ev­er, I had begun mak­ing some big changes a few months ear­li­er. I had start­ed on Weight Watch­ers, stick­ing to most­ly fresh, local food. I had re-com­mit­ted myself to exer­cis­ing, joined the YMCA, and got seri­ous about fit­ness. I had also found a good ther­a­pist and began Dialec­ti­cal Behav­ioral Ther­a­py, which com­bines mind­ful­ness tech­niques with cog­ni­tive-behav­ioral ther­a­peu­tic basics.

I believe those changes allowed me to avoid a total col­lapse despite the major cri­sis that struck in Jan­u­ary. I’ve also lost weight, although that isn’t the pri­ma­ry goal of the changes. My total pain lev­els have been reduced and I’ve been able to reduce the dosage of one of my med­ica­tions and stop tak­ing two oth­ers. At this point, I’m hop­ing that I can return to work before too long.

I’m not always able to get to the Y when I like, and weight-bear­ing exer­cise is still painful (I have degen­er­a­tive disc dis­ease and arthri­tis among oth­er dis­or­ders), so I’ve had to be cre­ative in find­ing ways to be active at home. It’s pos­si­ble to do so, though. 

As lit­tle as five min­utes of activ­i­ty at a time through­out the day can make a major dif­fer­ence in pain lev­els, believe me. I’m for­tu­nate enough to have access to a pool in the neigh­bor­hood, but if you don’t, you can stop and stretch for a few min­utes. Or hope about some light yoga? I found some free yoga videos that are acces­si­ble to any­one with a net con­nec­tion on YouTube and var­i­ous web­sites. There are even chair exer­cis­es for those who aren’t able to get up and move around. Any­thing will help.

Remem­ber to stay hydrat­ed, before, dur­ing, and after your move­ment peri­ods. It’s sum­mer in my half of the world, so heat requires more hydra­tion all by itself.

Let me know how gen­tly and grad­u­al­ly increas­ing your activ­i­ty lev­els works for you, please. I’m inter­est­ed in hear­ing from you!

Cyn is a proud Mommy & Mémé, professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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4 thoughts on “Getting Better

  1. folks in my Nia class have been get­ting excit­ed about Age­less Grace (http://www.agelessgrace.com/), a very, very gen­tle move­ment pro­gram. I’m under the impres­sion that the founder/creator was inspired by Nia. I’m told it’s a great expe­ri­ence, although I haven’t tak­en a class myself.
  2. Cyn­thia, I can’t imag­ine how dif­fi­cult this must have been for you. What a great post, focus­ing on the pos­i­tive. Thanks so much — I’m work­ing to do sim­i­lar things (mindfulness/Leslie San­sone exer­cise DVD’s/12 step recovery/cognitive behav­ioral ther­a­py) but some­times the SLOW progress is frus­trat­ing. My hus­band has severe rheuma­toid arthri­tis which means I’m respon­si­ble for most house­hold chores and pet care, I’m still wait­ing for retirement/disability income, and we’re plan­ning a move to Flori­da. But read­ing your post has been an inspi­ra­tion to keep on keepin on… Valerie

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