Acts of self-care for people with chronic illness
When you have fibromyalgia, or any kind of chronic illness, one of the most important things to do is self-care. This is Google dictionary’s definition of it:
the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.
So, I couldn’t help but write a post on this topic. After all, everyone’s interpretation of it is different and everyone tends to practice self-care in a variety of ways.
It depends on factors like personality, finances, time, physical ability, transportation access, etc. There’s also preferences and tastes to consider. Not everyone enjoys an afternoon being pampered at a spa, but rather a nice latte from Starbucks and either a good book or movie. The purpose of self-care is to optimise your energy levels so that you can navigate all the things you have to do in life.
Self-Care as a priority for those with chronic pain and fatigue
Self-care should be a priority, next to getting good sleep and routine exercise. How can you do your work or care for your family, when you’re dragging your feet? How can you fight off the cold and flu when your body is already at the lowest charging status? How can you deal with the stress and hassle of your conditions, when you’re lagging behind with energy? And if doctors imply social interaction is something to consider with pain management, then going out with friends or co-workers won’t be all that ‘fun’ if you’re on your last legs, will it?
Taking care of yourself is essential to your wellbeing and the wellbeing of your relationships. Kayla wrote about how setting boundaries helped her have stronger relationships, and if you find self-care a challenge because of your other duties, I suggest you give this article a read.
What I do for self-care as someone with fibromyalgia
I thought I’d share what I do in terms of self-care, which I think has really helped me in terms of lessening symptoms ( aside from discovering I’m a highly sensitive person):
dark chocolate is divine!
My usual go-to brand is Waterbridge or President’s Choice, found at Walmart and GC Superstore, respectively; indulge choices are Lindt or Cadbury.
Laughing is something you should do every day (I try to consider it a ‘vitamin’)
Watch funny stuff on Youtube, watch a funny series on a streaming service, listen to a funny podcast, read funny books, read funny news stories...
Smoothies are to die for!
I make it with lactose-free milk or non-dairy substance and add either
fresh or frozen fruit, like berries, cubed pineapple, sliced peaches, etc. Then I add some flax or chia seeds and maybe some ginger or cinnamon (depending on flavour). Sometimes, I add some plant-based protein powder (ie. Vega) for more nutritional value.
Enjoy time doing nothing
We live in an age where we are busy, where everything flashes by and we’re constantly ‘doing’ something, not realizing we’re exhausted and need a break.
Other things I love as self-care activities
Teas ! (favourite flavour is Chai, but I do enjoy all other teas).
Reach out to people via email, text, or FB messenger, it helps you feel connected.
Snuggle my cat (or my mom’s dog when I see him).
Upbeat music brings us much needed distraction.
Using social media (I love categorizing stuff on Pinterest, it brings a calm over me.)
Word searches, crosswords, scrabble, etc.
British/ European mystery series/movies
Treating myself once in a while to something (subscription box, magazines, dye jobs at the salon, pedicure, etc).
Orlando Bloom movies
(Recently watched his Carnival Row series on Amazon Prime-three times-and enjoyed it immensely. May do a fourth circuit. He’s just what the doctor ordered!)
This is a guest post from Ivi J.Virgo, cat mom, writer, HSP, tea drinker with a penchant for British mysteries and fan of Orlando Bloom Twitter: Ivi_j90 Pinterest: I.J.