Have Fibromyalgia? How to Lead a More Balanced Life

When you live with chronic pain and fatigue, like people with fibromyalgia do, it's hard to find the balance between taking care of your health and living your best life. This is because symptoms can be worse on some days and better on others. Finding your balance starts with taking care of your self so you can live well. Try these five tips for living a balanced life with fibromyalgia.

1. Be flexible. Whether it comes to your social, work, or family schedule, be prepared to tailor your activities to fit your symptoms. For example, if you're having a day with more pain than usual, look at your to-do list and eliminate anything that's not mandatory. Balance that with spending more time on self-care, rest, stress reduction, and exercise. 

Reschedule the things you didn't get done for days when you feel better. Go out of your way to reach out to friends, do extra work, or pamper your family on your "feel good" days.

2. Make priorities. The key to managing fibromyalgia symptoms is to treat your pain, eat well, reduce stress, and get plenty of rest and exercise. Most people also have to work, take care of their homes, families, and other responsibilities. Don't expect to be able to do it all. 

Make a list of "most important" duties and include rest and exercise right near the top. Then, spend your energy crossing those items off your list. Whittle away the rest of your list with whatever energy you have left.

3. Make an effort. It's tempting to spend all day on the couch when you're not feeling well. While there may be some days when that's just what you'll have to do, don't let that be every day.

Most people find they feel better when they make an effort to stay active and connected.  Don't overdo it, but don't let yourself totally slack off either. 

People who are inactive and isolated and don't take care of their health are more likely to be depressed, anxious, and have more days with symptoms than days without.

4. Get rest and exercise. Even on your most tired days, get up and out the door for a short walk. Even on your most energetic days, make time to relax. Your body needs the movement and boost in wellbeing it gets from exercise as much as it needs recovery time from rest.

5. Have fun. Don't let your life be all about your illness. Stay focused on the best parts of life like your friends, family, and activities you enjoy. Make it a priority to do something fun every day and schedule events to look forward to. They don't have to be anything big. Even reading a book you love or watching your favorite movie can count as "fun." The important thing is to make it a priority to enjoy your life, despite having fibromyalgia.