Laurie - posted on 10/29/2011 ( no moms have responded yet )
The foundations of good health are nutrition, exercise, adequate rest, and relaxation.
(Now, stop rolling your eyes, this info is important in the long run for actually beginning to feel better and sustaining that feeling long term.)
Some aspects of feeling better in spite of fibro pain are almost common sense, but it's easy to get caught up in the pain and the idea that you can't do anything because of the way you feel.
Eating "real" food (fruits/veggies/meat/chicken/fish/whole wheat grains) will help you feel better than if you eat processed foods from a box or fast foods. Eating "real" food doesn't mean you have to cook. Just slap a sandwich together or cut up an apple and dip it in peanut butter. Peel an orange and eat it. The small things WILL make a difference in the way you feel.
Exercising doesn't mean you have to join a gym with an expensive monthly payment. Take a walk around the block while the kids are out riding their bikes. Park the car farther away from the Walmart entrance so you will be able to stretch your legs and get more movement.
Adequate rest is a challenge for those of us with fibro. Melatonin, from the health food store, is a naturally occuring substance in your body that is sometimes low and might need to be replaced. If you take it 30 min before bed, it will probably help you feel more refreshed in the morning. It has helped me.
"Sleep hygiene" is a popular new term that refers to "ways to help you sleep." It includes things like:
1. Don't take naps.
2. Only use the bed for sex and sleep.
3. Set aside time for worrying earlier in the day (a particular block of time, perhaps when you pay the bills)
4. Develop a routine each night: turn the lights down low, have a bath or shower, then drink a cup of warm milk or chamomile tea, read a book for 15 or so minutes, then go to sleep. I don't follow all of those steps exactly, but I do use aromatherapy and spritz thyme scent on my pillows.
Since I know that I am going to be very tired in the morning and not have a great quality of sleep, I have begun to go to sleep earlier so that I can have an adequate number of hours of rest. That does actually work to help me get rested enough for the day ahead.
Relaxation is also very difficult for fibro sufferers. Chronic pain increases your body's inner tension level. And that inner tension can spiral out of control and before you know it the pain is intense and has taken over your body and your day. I know you know exactly what I'm talking about.
The best way I have learned to relax the body almost immediately is to do abdominal breathing. It is very easy to learn and actually does lower your BP and cortisol level (stress hormone) within seconds. Here is how you do it:
breathe in to a count of 4
hold breath to a count of 4
breathe out to a count of 4
hold breath to a count of 4
Repeat until you notice your heart rate slowing down and your body relaxing.
Warm baths also help immensely when you feel you can't relax.
These are just some of the basics that you can do to help your body feel better when you feel like your life is spinning out of control. Sometimes getting back to the basics are just what we need.