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I’ve been living with flare-ups for a while now and I feel as if I’ve settled into a routine. Most flare-ups I shove my way through, but from time to time they knock me off my feet. Those are the worst!
While this post is specifically geared towards fibromyalgia warriors (as we like to be called 😉 ), I hope other chronic illness warriors can get something out of this as well.
One: The most important thing you can do, based on personal experience, is avoid bathing for the day. I know that sounds gross and you’re supposed to shower daily (and normally I do) but it’s necessary sometimes.
Maybe it’s just me, but the warm/hot water makes my body over heat and it’s a struggle to cool back down and alleviate pain. I get the violent shakes and the fun nausea. Cold showers aren’t much better as they immediately increase the pain while sinking into my bones. So rather than shower or take a bath, just wash up using a cloth and some room temperature water and be okay with skipping a day.
Two: When you’re finished washing up, it’s time to break out the muscle relaxing cream. Your goal is to ease as much pain as possible and even though you won’t be pain free, relaxer creams help.
I recommend Deep Blue Rub by doTERRA. It burns for a little while after you apply it, but as it soaks into your muscles you can feel the difference. Here’s the Amazon link if you want to try it out (this is not sponsored). It’s the only thing I’ve found that can lend some relief. It also has a pretty nice minty smell.
I recommend a cold compress on your face. So rub in the muscle relaxer, then get a wash cloth and run it under cold water. Lay down and cover your face with the cloth (make sure the cloth is breathable so you don’t suffocate 😉 ) then press it gently into the curves of your eyes, nose and mouth. You can stay that way as short or long as you like. I usually do this process for about an hour.
Three: Now it’s to put on some really loose, lightweight clothing without harsh seams. Your skin is hyper sensitive during a flare-up and the weight of clothing can be excruciating… Which is almost comical if you think about it… Okay, it isn’t really but just pretend it is. Laughing, though painful, does make things better.
I usually turn to a knit t-shirt with a cut-off collar. I learned early on that the weight of a structured collar can feel like a thousand pounds on your neck. Remove the sleeves too if you have to. Whatever it takes to be as comfortable as possible.
Don’t worry about doing your hair, just throw on a beanie. The extra pressure on the head can be calming, strangely enough.
Fill your bed with pillows and cotton blankets, no harsh seams allowed on those either. Naked duvets are a good option. Do what you can to make it heavenly because you’re about to spend a lot of time there.
Light a candle that makes you feel cozy and at peace. If you don’t have candles, spray something mint scented in your room. I like using the Twisted Peppermint body splash that I got from Bath & Body Works last winter. Minty odors are refreshing.
Avoid harsh odors at all costs: fibromyalgia patients have extremely sensitive noses, made worse by flare-ups. Stay away from chemicals, hairsprays, and foods with overwhelming smells.
Four: On the topic of food, it is really important that you eat. You won’t feel like it. I don’t blame you. It’s hard to eat when you’re entire body is rejecting you. Unfortunately, you need to power through. At least eat some crackers and drink some juice. Personally, I love these gluten-free Say Cheese! crackers I purchased at Giant Eagle. They’re tasty but not pungent which is important.
My go to drink of choice is apple juice, because you need to keep up your blood sugar and it’s quite delicious. Protein is also important. Drink some broth. I like chicken broth. It’s easy, it’s yummy and it will fuel your body for the fight ahead.
Five: You’re in pain and likely won’t be sleeping much. Now it’s time to think about distracting yourself. I’m a bookworm so I prefer reading. Lately I’ve started experiencing temporary, partial blindness. It seems aggravated by reading and/or staring at screens.
Now that reading isn’t an option, I use the Overdrive app to download audiobooks via my local library. Click the image below to find out more, or call your library to see if they participate. There are hundreds of thousands of items to choose from!
Normally I wouldn’t recommend watching TV or movies as the light stimulates your mind and makes it harder to rest. But lying there, bored out of your mind while suffering painsomnia can get really old, really fast. Sometimes listening to stories just isn’t enough.
If that’s the case, I recommend a comedy. You need a lighthearted show to boost your spirits. AVOID THRILLERS AND HORROR FILMS as they make you tense up and only add insult to injury. If it felt like I screamed that at you, good. It’s important. Your goal is to destress (which I know is not a word but whatever).
Psych is a great option. I’ve seen every episode more than once. Gus and Shawn are stinking hilarious! If you’re feeling a movie rather than a show, please give Austenland a go! Oh hey that rhymed, oops. Seriously though, that movie is brilliant and hilarious beyond belief. I’ve seen it at least twenty times and still laugh every. single. watch.
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That pretty well sums up what I have to say about surviving today. Yes, I have a million more tips. But the truth is, the fight is up to you. It’s hard living in constant pain. It completely stinks. But you are worth the fight, so don’t you dare give into the temptation to let the illness win.
Do you have any tips for surviving flare-ups?