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 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, joining the YMCA and getting serious about fitness. I had also found a good therapist and begun 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), 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 web sites. 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 that 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!

July 5, 2012 · Cyn Armistead · 4 Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Fibromyalgia, Pain

4 Responses

  1. Hope - July 5, 2012

    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.

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  3. Valerie McKay - July 14, 2012

    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

  4. cyn - July 14, 2012

    Thank you, Valerie. I totally understand the frustration factor!

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