This is a difficult mindset. When was the last time you put yourself first? If you are a parent and working person the answer may be never. Like many, your worth may be all wrapped up in productivity and how much you can accomplish.
Fibromyalgia causes you to realize that if you are to have a full life and be what you desire to be for others, you have to put yourself first at times. If you aren’t feeling well, everyone you love suffers and life is more lived in “existence” mode rather than “enjoyment” mode. Self-care will get you back in the swing of things.
Below are some steps towards that self-care that will benefit you and everyone in your life…
- Keep your options open. When you get an invitation or request to do something, tell the person that you’re very interested, but you’d like to think about it and get back to them in 24 or 48 hours. This way, if you decide you can’t do it, you won’t feel so put on the spot.
- It’s OK to cancel.If you’ve scheduled something and you aren’t feeling well enough to do it, reschedule. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do something. Try to remember that there will be other times you can do it.
- Keep a fibromyalgia journal. Recording your activities, meal times, sleeping schedule, and how you feel each day can help you identify what causes your symptoms to flare.
- Delegate. Negotiate with your spouse or family members to take over certain tasks, such as cooking or cleaning, when you can’t do them. Try to work with your family to come up with solutions together.
- Take a break. If you’ve been active on organizations or committees, consider taking a break for a period of time while you focus on taking care of yourself.
- Eat out or order in. Rather than having family or friends over for dinner or holidays, make reservations at a restaurant or order in.
- Plan activity during the hours you feel the best. For many people with fibromyalgia, this is between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., but it may be different for you.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. People will usually go out of their way to help if you ask for it. They need to know what you’d like them to do.
Once you learn how to better care for yourself and put yourself first, you begin to regain control of your life again and are more able to do the things you enjoy and even the things you don’t, but must on your “to do” list.
Once again, remember that you are walking the “new normal” path so the way you learn to enjoy things you love again may be different. Also the key is acceptance of the new you, and new way of life.