That’s right I said it. I don’t like stress and I don’t care if it knows. Things have been very stressful lately, extended family and some very close friends have been dealing with serious issues and it’s affected my nuclear family in a big way. For people wich chronic illness, stress is a huge trigger. Any heightened, negative emotion can send us into a flare. So I have been working on managing my stress levels. While at the same time doing my best to be present for my loved ones. Sometimes those two things are mutually exclusive and the thing that suffers is my stress management. I thought today I would post a bit about why stress affects us the way it does, and some things I do to combat it.
There has been a lot of research showing that Fibromyalgia is a nervous system disorder. Our systems are already in a heightened state of “fight or flight” So when there is a lot of stress is triggers an even higher state of fight or flight.
It’s exhausting. Adding high levels of stress can do serious harm. That is what triggers a stress induced flare.
“A fibromyalgia flare (or flare-up) is a temporary increase in the number and/or intensity of symptoms. Worsening pain and fatigue are generally the first two symptoms noticed in a fibro–flare. But other symptoms like poor sleep, increased cognitive dysfunction and digestive disturbances are often experienced as well.”
For myself, one of the first symptoms of a flare is increased skin sensitivity. Currently, the inside of my hoodie feels like it’s rubbing my skin raw. It’s not, but my brain is interpreting the signals wrong and is receiving them as pain signals. Not cool brain. I’m actually going to have to go change because this sucks. :p
So, if you’re in a flare what are some ways to manage it?
Find something to occupy your mind. If you can focus, read (or write!)
Play minds games.
I am a huge fan of xbox games, I play a lot. It’s my favorite way to manage.
Take a bath.
RELAX if at all possible. Getting those muscles to relax is a big deal, sometimes it feels impossible. (It’s that fight or flight, my muscles are always tense and ready to run)
Control your food and drink massive amounts of water.
Seriously. This one is huge. Watch what you are eating. Cut out as much processed and artificial foods as you can.
Listen to music, do yoga…whatever you like. Just find a way to calm yourself.
And of course, try to avoid stressful situations. HAHA. Hahahahahahahahahahahaha yeah, ok. Easy to say. Because stress is a jerkface and incredibly hard to avoid.
A big thing for me is making sure a fibro flare doesn’t trigger any other flares. My multiple conditions frequently work against each other. So I focus A LOT on reducing outside influences so I can manage better.
Today I am going to do some writing, play some video games, and putter around my house. But first I’ve got to go change my shirt because this is ridiculous! Hopefully, this flare will pass quickly. 🙂