To manage Fibro is a process of learning what triggers you symptoms and then trying to avoid those triggers. Obviously there is no way to avoid all triggers so managing fibro is a balancing act of eliminating triggers where possible and having systems in place to limit the affects of those triggers that are not avoidable.
Triggers are things that cause your symptoms to get worse & bring on a fibro flare.. Triggers will be different for each person with fibromyalgia so discovering yours is important to your journey with fibro.
Over time triggers will change.At the moment you might only have 3 things that trigger you & then in a years time you might have 10 things that trigger you. Triggers can also stop being triggers as well!
To identify your triggers you need to track / journal your symptoms & all aspects of your life! You need to do this for a few months to really get a good idea on triggers.
This is what i did... For around 4 months every night I documented in a journal every symptom i had that day along with a write up about what the day was like For example: Migraine, Leg pain, brain fog. Today was a cold but sunny day. I Ate oats for breakfast, Chicken Salad for lunch & Cottage pie for dinner. I did the washing & vacuuming . I went for a 2km walk. I had trouble sleeping last night. Had family issues which made me upset.
This detailed entry into a journal each night helped me identify what things regularly made my symptoms worse. Therefore identify my triggers.For me my biggest triggers are Cold weather , Stress , Lack of sleep , over doing it & travel.Knowing these are my biggest triggers i then find ways to avoid these triggers & when unavoidable find ways to reduce the impact.
You can read more about what other triggers there are on my fibro flare blog here.
Now how do i manage my triggers to reduce the impact and reduce the risk of a major flare?
Learning my limits when it comes to over doing things. Breaking up tasks and events to ensure i don't over do it and become burnt out. This is a VERY important one. I do my very best to ensure that i don't do to much in one day. It can be hard to find this balance and it can take time. This is where tracking comes in handy. I personally have found the spoon theory to be very helpful in regards to not over doing things. You can read about the spoon theory here.
To cope with temperature changes which are unpredictable and hard to manage i ensure i have ways to get warm on those cold days. Jumpers , Blankets , Hot water bottles , Socks , Beanies , Scarfs etc! I have spare blankets & jumpers in the car so that i always have the ability to get warm if the weather all of a sudden changes and it gets super cold.
Stress is the hardest one to mange because it comes out of the blue and there is not much you can do to avoid it! I do however do my best during stressful times to focus on keeping calm and relaxed by doing things like meditation , Talking to someone and listening to music. I also find that during stressful times i need to focus on self care and ensure i make a plan to get through the stressful times that take rest into consideration.
Ensuring i get enough sleep is important which is why i do my best to follow my sleep routine which helps me get a good restful sleep. Unfortunately this does not always work as one of the symptoms of fibro is of course sleep issues. I find that my night routine does help most of the time though.
Travelling causes flares no matter BUT i can do things to reduce the severity of the flare. During travelling its important to take breaks to stretch the legs and i find staying hydrated also helps. Ensuring the right about of movement and rest is difficult but is something you learn over time. If travelling long distances i find breaking up the travel is helpful so your not traveling to far in one day.
The most important thing when it comes to managing Fibro is to listen to your body at all times! Don't do anything that is too much for you! Never feel guilty for resting or not being able to do something! YOU are important and looking after yourself is very IMPORTANT!!
If you have any further questions get in touch! I am happy to talk anytime.