Tips to Fight Fibromyalgia Fatigue and Boost Energy
Don't Ignore Fibromyalgia Fatigue
Pain is likely the fibromyalgia symptom that grabs and holds your attention the most. But fibro fatigue can be just as insistent -- and to make matters worse, it can intensify your pain and make it harder to cope. The good news is that you can break or at least minimize this cycle by taking practical steps every day to fight fibromyalgia fatigue and elevate your energy. The first step: Listen to your body. When you learn to recognize the earliest stages of exhaustion, you can still do something about it before it lays you out flat.
How Exercise Helps Fibromyalgia
When you're often tired, it's very tempting to sleep until noon and spend evenings on the couch. But the research is clear on the folly of this. Although it's important that people with fibromyalgia get extra rest, take more breaks, and avoid overdoing it with exercise, completely eliminating physical activity can be just as bad for your symptoms. So try to move some every day. First, check with your doctor on smart exercise choices. But even something small, like a 10-minute walk every day, can be helpful. You can gradually increase the amount as your doctor recommends.
Keep Your Schedule Simple
You're no doubt aware of how excessive stress can trigger or exacerbate your fibromyalgia fatigue. In fact, some research suggests that the onset of fibromyalgia could be triggered by a severely stressful event, such as a divorce, a job loss, or the death of a loved one. So priority one for you should be learning to say no. Not overcommitting is one of the best ways to keep yourself from feeling stressed, which can help control your fibromyalgia symptoms. Use a day planner, and limit the number of things you schedule in a single day or week.
Do you always push to the end, even though you're starting to feel it? Then it's time to learn how to pace yourself to avoid fibromyalgia fatigue. Don't trust yourself to stop before you get tired. Plan projects in chunks right from the start. Break up laundry duties into 2 days. When you exercise, consider three short sessions instead of one longer one. Schedule a sitting break for yourself when you run errands. Above all, resist the temptation to take advantage of your "good" days. Aim to accomplish the same number of tasks on good days as you do on bad days.
Develop the Art of Napping
Naps can't make up for a chronic lack of nighttime sleep -- a common problem for people with fibromyalgia -- but a quick nap or midday rest can go a long way in minimizing fibromyalgia fatigue. So give yourself permission. Consider it essential. Even just a 10-minute power nap may recharge your batteries. And if you're tossing and turning at night, talk with your fibromyalgia doctor about steps you can take to sleep more soundly.
Eat to Fight Fibromyalgia Fatigue
Eating a healthful diet is important for everyone, but when you are living with fibromyalgia, it's critical. A nutritious, well-balanced diet that includes complex, fiber-rich carbohydrates can help keep your energy levels steady so you don't suffer from low blood sugar -- a condition that can make you even more tired. Aim to include lots of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet, as well as whole grains, lean protein sources, and healthful fats. And certain supplements -- such as vitamin B12, D-ribose, and coenzyme Q10 -- may be helpful, too. Talk with your doctor about any supplements you are considering taking.
Stay Positive About Fibromyalgia
Feeling down sometimes is normal. But staying down is not. And what's worse, it will only make your fibromyalgia fatigue and pain feel worse. To foster a more positive attitude, start by saying, "I have fibromyalgia," and accepting it as a fact of your life, and then focus on the things you can control. More importantly, recognize that there are tools you can use to control your fibromyalgia symptoms and counter the emotional impact, as well. Explore some feel-good therapies such as positive visualization and self-talk, cognitive-behavioral therapy, or meditation -- whatever you need to do to foster a positive mindset.
Ask for Help
When your fibromyalgia fatigue simply won't fade, no matter how many energizing remedies you've tried, it may be time to ask for help. Remember, there is no shame in seeking the support of family, friends, and colleagues when the going gets tough. Let go of your misconception that asking for help is a sign of weakness. In fact, it's a sign of strength, because you've recognized the power of a helping hand in managing fibromyalgia. So consider asking a friend to run a must-do errand, or your spouse to cook dinner for a couple of nights, or your kids to help a bit more with the housework. It may be just enough to help you rejuvenate your energy stores.