Are you riding the fibro stress cycle? Are you trapped in its grip? Stress triggers a series of unwanted symptoms in the fibromyalgia and chronic illness body. But what can help?
Yes, stress is going to happen. That’s outside our control. How we respond to stress, however, is another matter. That’s completely within our control.
Our reaction, then, is our saving grace.
5 Fibro Stress Strategies
What’s your fibromyalgia and chronic illness stress relief strategy? Under duress, do you head out to the beach or head for cover under your favorite quilt?
Don’t let your body fall victim to stress without a strategy in place. Instead, plan ahead to overcome it.
Consider the following stress strategies as a menu. CHOOSE your reaction right now.
Choose one or all.
These strategies actually tell your body to shift out of the stress response.
- 1) Get Relaxed
The stress response fires off without much (or any) effort on our part. The relaxation response, however, takes action. It takes a pre-ordained decision to do something healthy in response to stress.
To learn more about WHY it’s important to fire off the relaxation response, check out my Antidote to Stress article.
Here are a few basic relaxation response suggestions. Which ones are your favs? Which ones do you intend to try, but simply haven’t made them a habit?
- Prayer and Meditation (don’t ever underestimate the healing benefits of talking about your stresses and listening to the inner voice that guides you)
- Deep Breathing (the fastest “trick in the book” to shift your body into the relaxation response)
- Moving Meditations (my favorites are restorative yoga, tai chi, and qigong)
- EFT Tapping (I do this daily and also use it frequently with my clients – check out more on this healing modality in this article)
- 2) Get Moving
Yes, I know. Moving your body may not be what you feel like doing. But not moving has disastrous results. Instead, we have to embrace the unfamiliar and move outside of our comfort zone. Moving the body has been proven to help the body heal in multiple ways including detoxification, building a stronger immune system, helping with sleep and much, much more.
Here are a few suggestions for beginning a fitness routine for those with chronic illness.
Be sure to also check out this fibro-friendly fitness article.
Want to double the healing benefits of movement?
Connect with nature at the same time and move it outdoors.
Want to triple your benefits?
Adopt a pet and see the benefits multiply for both of you. Check out Does Your Greatest Teacher Have Fur?
- 3) Get Lost
Give your brain a break and grab your favorite book, magazine, puzzle digest or whatever floats your boat. Sip a mug of tea, coffee, golden milk or of course, pure, fresh, filtered water. Curl up in your favorite chair or snuggle spot and zone out for a short time. Soon you’ll discover a regulated breathing rate and a sense of peace as you engage the relaxation response.
Your mind can also “get lost” in sitcoms, movies, and various repetitive artistic endeavors such as coloring, painting, knitting, crocheting, sewing, woodworking, sculpting, and much more.
Check out Chronic Coloring — my favorite activity book for people just like us!
- 4) Get Connected
Isolation amplifies the worries that clog up our thoughts. Call a friend or reach out and text. Send an email, a hand-written letter, or a carrier pigeon.
Do whatever you need to do – call, write, text, or send a carrier pigeon. Connecting with others doesn’t have to be about your worries. Simply spending time in social settings can help to alleviate stress and anxiety that’s compounded by isolation.
For more ideas on reaching out and community engagement, check out this article.
- 5) Get Restored
Sleep is the ultimate body restoration technique. Most of us would like more sleep, better quality of sleep, and a simple way to drop off into blissful slumber every night.
Because this is a complicated issue, I’ll limit the conversation here to two techniques.
First, if you implement any of these stress strategies, you can begin to heal your body which in turn can improve your sleep. Pay particular attention to strategies #1 and #2. Prayer and meditation can help you to shift into a “ready to sleep” mode by getting things off your chest and embracing a sense of gratitude. And, #2, may have a fast and lasting impact on your sleep. A body that is exercised tends to slip more efficiently into a state of relaxation at the end of the day.
Second, it’s imperative to develop a healthy sleep hygiene. To learn more about this practice, check out this helpful and informative article linked above.
Your Favorite Stress Strategies
There are so many stress strategies to try!
Many of them fall into subcategories of those listed above. For example, I love to soak in an Epsom salt bath before bed (part of my personal sleep hygiene).
So, now it’s your turn.
What are your favorite stress strategies? What helps you to shift gears?
I can’t wait to hear your favorite stories!