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Pre-Planned Recovery Days: One Key To Living Well With Fibromyalgia

Recently we had the privilege of hosting two young men from Voices of Mobile when they were performing at our church. This group travels around for 10 weeks in the summer and performs at various venues. I tried to upload one of their videos from YouTube, but WP said the file type is not supported. If you’d like to see them perform, please check them out here. As often as possible, they stay in host homes overnight rather than in hotels. The two young men who stayed with us were absolutely delightful, and we enjoyed the short time we had with them.

Having someone (especially someone we didn’t know) coming to stay with us required a little extra work because, though I’d like to say our house is always company-ready, if I did say that, I’d be telling a big fat lie ha ha. It also got a little stressful on Sunday morning because getting ourselves ready, breakfast eaten, the dogs taken care of, and two college-age young men out of the house by 8:00 am is like herding cats. It was not an easy task, but we almost made it! We were only five minutes late, so that’s a win in my book. They didn’t have to perform until 9:30, so they got to the church in plenty of time.

All the extra activity and stress took its toll, but it was totally worth it. When we were buying our house, we prayed that our home would be a blessing to others as well as us, and when God presents those opportunities, we try to take advantage of them. It’s not always easy, but knowing that I can show the love of Christ to others simply by opening my home to them is important to me. Although there may come a time when I can’t do it anymore, right now, as long as I pace myself in the days ahead and give myself adequate recovery time afterward it’s not a problem.

That’s where pre-planned recovery days come in. Whatever we call those days when we have to take it easy, I’d guess that most of us with fibromyalgia have taken them when we’re having a bad flare, but I’ve found pre-planned recovery days are extremely helpful as well. Whenever I’ve engaged in more activity than usual, I go ahead and plan to take a recovery day the next day. This helps in several ways:

  • It helps the body recover from the added stress that’s been levied upon it during the previous days. When we do more than our bodies are used to doing, we need to give ourselves added recovery time. This allows our bodies to do their repair work.
  • It can give us something to look forward to when we find ourselves in a situation where we have to be more active than usual. Let’s face it, even with the best planning and careful pacing, sometimes life just happens and we may find ourselves having to do more than is comfortable for us. Having that recovery day to look forward to can help us get through the extra work we’re asking of our bodies.
  • It can help us feel less guilty about taking a day off. Of course, we shouldn’t feel guilty for taking care of ourselves, but when it comes to not doing anything I know many of us do. Knowing ahead of time that we plan to take a recovery day can help change our mindset and help us accept it as a part of our self-care plan.
  • Because it gives our bodies some extra rest, it has the potential to prevent a full-fledged flare. This isn’t always the case, of course – as you know, sometimes there seems to be no rhyme or reason to flares – but if it does have the potential to reduce the chances of one.

I also plan each Sunday afternoon as a recovery day – we stop for lunch after church, and we eat leftovers or sandwiches for dinner. I take my day of rest seriously. :o) That means I have at least one day of every week where I’m planning to do absolutely nothing. When taking these pre-planned recovery days, just as with a regular flare-induced recovery day, it’s still important to move around some to prevent the inactivity/pain cycle that can result from a day of no activity. Just getting up every hour or so and moving around the house can help keep your joints lubricated and your blood flowing to your muscles.

Adding pre-planned recovery days to my self-care plan has made a huge difference for me. It’s helped me find a balance between caring for myself and being able to do the things that are important to me, which can sometimes mean being uncomfortable for a short period of time. I know this may not work for everyone, but for me it’s been one huge key in giving me my life back.

Do you pre-plan recovery days? Have you found them helpful?




  1. What a lovely way to support others Terri. It is lovely to have visitors. I manage to fit recovery days into my diary most of the time. Tomorrow is a day of rest. 🌼

  2. Thanks for your blog and for giving us a voice. I am still fairly early in my fibro diagnosis (about 4 yrs), and I still forget to plan for recovery after a trip or big event. On top of fibromyalgia I have an auto immune disorder which causes it’s own problems. If I don’t get enough sleep or I push myself too hard… you better believe I’m gonna be in pain from one of them. (And of course I struggle with insomnia! Right?) Anyway, thanks again and keep writing because we are listening❤️

    1. Thank you so much Heather! It’s hard to get used to making self-care a priority sometimes, isn’t it? I was always so involved with everything it has been hard to learn to slow down and rest. Of course, my body is teaching me I’d better or else….😊

  3. I love this Terri, especially your day of rest approach to food on a Sunday. My husband is my full-time carer and now has to do all the cooking but I make sure that on weekends we plan meals that are easy care & simple (leftovers, sandwiches etc) so even He has time to recover.
    I love those days too as they are just so relaxed.
    Thanks for your beautiful post 💞

  4. We do that for with Sandy’s fibro and especially with my MS. You explained it well. I appreciate the reminder because we will have our family with us for a long period this summer when energy is already at a premium.

    1. Thanks so much George! I hope you’re able to schedule in your recovery days while your family is visiting. I know things can get hectic when you have houseguests, especially for an extended period.

  5. Terri your reflection has helped me realise that I’m still to some extent, in denial often waiting until I crash. I’ve had a recent very laid back holiday and reduction in fibro symptoms; such a relief! I even acknowledged that reduction; a big step for me but now I’m trying to re-adjust to shifting things back up a gear and the fibro is certainly making itself heard again! So more pre-planned pacing and recovery days are needed on my diary! Thanks Terri and keep sharing!

    1. Thanks so much Marie! I’m glad you had such a relaxing holiday. I’m sorry your return to normal activity is causing issues, but I hope the pre-planned pacing and recovery will help with that. Please let me know how it goes!

      1. Hi Terri, unpredictable is probably a good key word to describe fibro. Yesterday was easier but today was a long demanding day so I have set tomorrow as a pre-planned recovery day! I’m curious and excited and I’ll keep you posted!

      1. Reading this post and the following comments made me feel like I had a guardian angel on my shoulder, or a parental voice telling me “It’s ok to slow down Grace”. THANK YOU!!!

      2. Thank you so much Grace! From reading your blog posts, I suspect you and I may be wired similarly.😊 Learning to slow down has also been extremely difficult for me, but it really IS okay to slow down Grace! Seriously though, putting it on my schedule as a recovery day helps me get past that mental block I have against “not being productive.” Thanks for your comment, and for the follow!

  6. Terri you are so incredible! You are so inspirational to so many people and you continue to spread so much happiness to others. I appreciate your amazing writing and advice you give. I do not have fibromyalgia , but so have a chronic illness. You encourage me with every word you write!!!

  7. Wonderful! I have early onset osteoarthritis along with psoriatic arthritis. I exercise but have to schedule down days and pay attention to what my body is telling me.

    1. Thanks so much Don! I think scheduled rest days are vital for everyone, but especially for those of us who have health issues. Our bodies do some of their best work while they’re at rest. I think I remember you saying you used to coach, so I’m sure you’ve seen that in your athletes.

  8. This is excellent. I do try to plan a few down days when something big comes along, but I’ve never prep,Anne’s one day each week. I’m defintely going to do that now!

  9. I love your welcoming attitude, Terri. Brave of you, really. I think those of us with chronic illness have to plan recovery days – I certainly do. We have one of our granddaughters here for the weekend, so Sunday and Monday will be down time for me. Take care.

    1. Thanks so much V.J.! I hope you’re able to fully enjoy your time with your granddaughter. I know it must be great to be able to spend some time with her. Hope your recovery days are nice and relaxing.

  10. Yes, I do Terri, I have learnt to pace myself with pre plan & post plan recovery days. It definitely works for me & while I know it may change in the future, I’m sticking to it for now!

  11. What a wonderful thing to be able to do, and I think you did incredibly well getting out on time (I can imagine the herding cats scenario – what a nightmare!) I love the idea of pre-planned recovery days. I try to keep in mind now the day before and the day after doing something more difficult, such as a day trip out, so that I can better pace and recover afterwards, rather than having a long to-do list the day after and getting stressed out that I can’t do it because I’m in too much pain and too exhausted. I could perhaps benefit from a little more structure to these days but at least now I’m being more mindful and (a little) more accepting of the need to have them. Pre-planning is a great way to get ahead of the game a tad, to take back a little control. Fantastic post, Terri! xx

    1. Thanks so much Caz! It’s great that you’re mindful of your need to take it easier the days before and after activity. It’s hard to get used to the idea that we can’t just keep going and going sometimes, but it definitely helps to have those rest days “on the books” to make sure we don’t overextend ourselves, doesn’t it? Hope you have some restful days this week. Try to stay cool!

  12. How did I miss this? I love this post! (I just ‘followed’ you again to make sure I’m seeing you in my newsfeed.) I do plan a recovery day after and/or sometimes a day before a big event! We have 2 weddings coming up. I will rest the day before and make sure I have nothing planned for the following day after the event. Gotta get there and gotta rest after, too! Now I will ensure I consciously continue with an official, “day of rest!” Terrific post!

    1. Thanks so much Kim! I just commented the other day that I feel like my WP Reader seems like a Facebook feed these days. I’ve been missing some posts from people too. Two weddings, huh? If you’re planning to dance you might have to plan an additional recovery day.😄 I hope you’re able to fully enjoy both! Thanks for re-following me!

    1. Thanks for sharing Amber! I used to call it “taking a sick day” but that sounded so negative I started calling them recovery days instead.😊 They definitely do help though, don’t they? Thanks so much for stopping by!

      1. Hi Terri you said to update you. Yes, it definitely did help. I realised two things, firstly that I have another way to manage my fibro by using pre planned rest days. Up to this I was using post event recovery time. Secondly that pacing myself doesn’t just mean taking breaks between tasks it can mean taking full day breaks if needed.

  13. I am someone who likes to plan everything and be in control so it’s very difficult to have this personality combined with a chronic illness. I always struggle to find the right balance but this is one of the best ideas I have found so far! Great article, shared on Twitter and Pinterest x

    1. Thank you so much Kirsten! I have the same personality traits, so I understand where you’re coming from.😊 That’s why I started pre-planning recovery days. Because I’ve already put them on my schedule, I still feel like I have some sort of control and don’t feel guilty for just resting. Of course, I still have some days when a flare forces me to rest, but having this planned down time has really helped me. Thanks for stopping by!

  14. I just started doing those! It allows me to not feel overwhelmed when I have to push it because I know that eventually I can rest and recuperate. Thanks for the encouraging post!

  15. Hi Terri, what a great post, you are absolutely spot on with planning recovery days. Whenever I do something out of the ordinary I always prepare to be in a mini-flareup afterwards and plan a lightweight schedule for this time. I often find the day after a “big day” I can barely move so it is the perfect time to schedule in some sofa time catching up on box sets. The following day is usually slightly easier and I often enjoy simple crafting then, mindful colouring is a perfect activity.

    1. Thank you so much Susan! I know for me, planning these recovery days ahead of time has been a game-changer for me. I love the idea of doing some simple crafting on your second day after too. I’m always amazed when I see the gorgeous cards you make. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for the follow!

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