Last year I was diagnosed with a chronic illness called Fibromyalgia . The illness is unfortunately incurable and has many symptoms. My symptoms include chronic fatigue, high blood pressure, nerve pain, tension headaches, joint pain, muscle tension and irritable bowel syndrome. The diagnosis was a shock, I had never heard of this illness before and after 5 years of constant physio therapy and consultants telling me "it is all in your head" I had geared myself up for another response just like this.
Medically my symptoms are kept at bay with medication. I take 9 pills a day! This helps with sleep, my blood pressure and masks the pain. There is not much else doctors can do only to monitor me if my symptoms become more severe (this has been warned to me).
My triggers (things that make my symptoms prominent) Stress, strenuous activity and tiredness. This is where self care comes into it! Things I do for myself that can keep my stress levels down and a little bit of activity that isn't too strenuous. All of these things I get joy out of too which is good for my well-being and helps prevent me from falling down the awful hole of poor mental health (this can go hand in hand with my illness and something my partner suffers with, I am all to familia with how awful this can make a person feel and will do my upmost to keep my mind healthy). I am determined not to give up and to prevent my illness from deteriorating.
Below I will talk through some things I do for self-care that I hope in turn may help some of you. Even if you aren't ill, self-care is a good stress buster.
Pilates - I added Pilates into my self-care regime and go to a 1hr session on a Thursday evening at my local Virgin Active Gym which I am now a member of. I was so frightened to start this, flexibility is not my strong point (I can't even touch my toes) and I was sure I was going to be an elephant in a room of slender women. How bloody wrong was I? My class of 24 all have injuries and conditions. Half of us have Scoliosis (curvature of the spine) a condition I also have and inherited through the female side of my family. There are a few bendy slender women but also people with less flexibility than me (I didn't think this was possible) and also a few big hairy men!
Pilates helps me to relax as well as helping to strengthen my muscles without causing me fatigue or pain.
Aqua Aerobics - I am no longer allowed to do Aerobics or Hit Training as it puts strain on my joints. However, I am allowed to do this in the water as the gravity takes the pressure away from the joints so there is no aggravation. I attend a 45 minute session every Monday morning. It is so much fun, my class is mainly older woman (60 plus) but I am not embarrassed after all my body feels as old as theirs sometimes and I still get to have an aerobic workout without feeling pain.
Walking - When the weather is nice I try to walk as much as I can. It helps clear my mind and work through stuff in my head. It also helps with fat burn as my heart rate doesn't get much past resting these days. I do enjoy it! I try to incorporate it into my day so it isn't a chore. So I will walk to work instead of drive and I will take my little pooch Digby for evening strolls he is good company and gives me a reason to go for a little wander.
I take a concoction of vitamins which help me with some of my symptoms -
Omega 3 - helps with my blood flow, heart function, natural anti inflammatory.
Iron - Helps with fatigue and helps keep skin, hair and nails healthy.
Apple Cider Vinegar - creates a feeling of fullness which in turn helps with weight control, helps burn fat, helps the digestive system.
Things you enjoy doing for yourself that is not for a friend or member of the family.
I am a very selfless person and constantly put others before myself which in turn can be quite stressful and also eventually makes you feel unimportant. I have learnt that a moment of self care doing something just for me each day can really go a long way. This can be for a few minutes or for a longer period of time but the rule is, it has to be just for you.
Here is a list of things I like to do that are self pleasing. Try to choose one thing a day off my list or add some of your own. See how good it makes you feel.
Some of these things seem completely normal but are often things we enjoy but don't mindfully make the time to enjoy the process. I make sure I make the time to enjoy at least one of these things each day. It is so simple and really helps me with me.
Would love to chat to some you if you would like to ask me any questions at all on this. please feel free to message in the comments or to DM me on Insta.
October 8, 2019