It happens every January. After a couple of months of pushing myself in order to enjoy the holidays, I experience a flare that lasts most of the month. Thankfully, my flares are very seldom the “send you to bed unable to do anything” kind anymore. They do, however, curtail my activity and delay progress toward my goals.
As I mentioned in The Year of You, this year, I plan to concentrate on the things that are going to help me long-term, both with my Fibromyalgia and my general wellness. This little setback is slowing me down, but I’m not going to let it get me down.
I’ve had to learn to accept that flares are a part of living with Fibromyalgia. They will continue to occur from time to time, but I don’t have to give up on moving forward with my Self-Care Plan.
Acceptance is a very powerful tool when we live with chronic pain. It allows us to realize that although things don’t always go according to plan, we can work around any setbacks and keep moving forward.
But how do we move forward when we don’t feel up to doing the things we need to do?
Here are a few things I’ve found helpful:
Keeping an Extended Flare From Stopping Progress
- Take the time you need to rest. It can be tempting to just “push on through” when we’re experiencing an extended flare, but we have to allow ourselves to rest and recover. It may feel as if we’re doing nothing but in fact, we’re providing what our bodies need most.
- Concentrate on the things you do feel like doing. When our flares keep us from doing some things, it can feel as if we can’t do anything. It’s important to figure out what we can do and do those things. That can keep us from getting into a negative headspace.
- Don’t give up on trying to move forward even if you have to take tiny steps. It’s so easy to become discouraged and just give up on even trying to move forward. I’ve found that for me, the best thing I can do is just take tiny little steps until I feel up to taking bigger ones.
- Don’t compare what you can do right now to what others can do. This is important all the time, but it’s absolutely critical when we’re experiencing a flare. It’s too easy to think about all the things we’re not able to do instead of appreciating what we can do.
- Eat well. Fueling our bodies well is important. It might not shorten our flare, but it may help reduce fatigue and will keep us as healthy as possible while we’re going through it.
- Find some things to do that you can enjoy within your pain and fatigue levels. Having something we enjoy doing can help distract us from the pain and give us something to think about other than how miserable we’re feeling.
- Remember that you’ve been here before. Sometimes these extended flares take us by surprise and make us feel as if we’re always going to feel absolutely horrible. Although we deal with the symptoms of our Fibromyalgia or other chronic illness daily, we don’t always feel as awful as we do during a flare. Reminding ourselves that we’ve been here before and survived it can help us adjust our attitude.
Experiencing flares is never fun, and when they’re extended, it can be downright disheartening. We can start to think we’re never going to feel better or make any progress.
It’s important to be kind to ourselves during these times. As I talked about in What Do You Do When Chronic Illness Stops You in Your Tracks, we have to make taking care of ourselves and getting through it a priority. We also need to remember that flares are just a part of living with Fibromyalgia – they don’t stick around forever. They may slow down progress, but they don’t have to stop it completely.
What helps you the most when you’re experiencing an extended flare? Please share!