Let's be real. Living with an invisible, chronic illness like Fibromyalgia sucks. Living with and managing an illness like Fibromyalgia affects you both mentally and physically, and can sometimes take everything out of you. This is why I think it's so important to make sure to create time and space to do what you love.
Hear me out. When life, or Fibromyaglia symptoms, get you down, you have to have something to lift your spirits. Something that makes you go, "Man, I love doing this! Life is great sometimes!" Something to hang on to when things go wrong and you want to yell, "Man, this the worst! Life sucks sometimes!"
To intentionally bring joy into my life on a regular basis, I added something to my self-care routine that I call "cultivating joy." I not only do this when I'm feeling particularly down or having a high symptom day or a flare, but I also practice is regularly to try to keep my base level as close to joy and happiness as I can. This involves bringing things into my life that make me happy, to combat or keep away what I call the "dark and swirly place."
Sometimes this is putting on some fantastic up-beat music, or watching something that makes me laugh. (No murder dramas or melancholy music to bring me down!) Other times this is doing things like crafting, dancing, and going to gardens or museums on weekends (when I can).
Now sometimes doing these things is no problem at all. A lot of my crafting is done in bed with the happy music or funny tv show going on in the background. But other times, doing the things I love means doing them even though they may bring a few extra symptoms along with it. I often times go right to bed after a dance class or hitting a museum exhibit- but it's worth it because life can't just be me sitting in my bed in pain feeling sorry for myself. Sometimes I just say, "Screw it. If I'm going to be in bed and in pain anyway, I may as well be there because of something awesome that brought me joy and happiness" and then I go do the thing and try to manage the symptoms that pop up as well as I can knowing I did a thing that I love today- which almost always makes it totally worth it.
A lot of times I think my brain tries to trick me into thinking that most of my life is spent in bed or managing my symptoms- totally boring and not great right? But other times I look back at my life and think, "Man, I've done a lot of cool stuff!" And that's what keeps me going on my really bad days.
This is why I think it's so important to have hobbies, interests, or a close supportive family or group of friends- you have to have something made up completely of sparkling joy and happiness to shield yourself from the dark and swirly things and thoughts that can try to bring you down.
So I encourage you to take a moment to think about what brings you joy- and I urge you to make a point of finding ways of incorporating those things into your everyday life and/or regular schedule. Even if it's just doing something fifteen minutes a day, a few hours a week, or once a month. Your happiness is worth it. Your mental health is worth it. YOU are worth it.
Wishing you the time and space to do what you love,
FSC Founder and Fabulous Fibro-Fighter