Naturopathic Nutrition

Fibromyalgia and Diet – Week 10

Happy Monday to you all 🙂

It’s been a funny old week here at The F Word headquarters. Work has been going well and I’m gradually increasing my hours to return to full time (fingers crossed). Eating has also gone well but I didn’t have the energy to cook as much asI usually do, and it soon became apparent why! On Thursday, what I think was a small fibromyalgia flare began, and I was in more pain than I had been for a long time, with my sleep taking a backwards step and the fog and fatigue out in full force. It took some hard work and determination but luckily the worst of it was over after three days, and although I’m not quite back to where I was a couple of weeks ago I am making small steps in the right direction.

I’m still learning about fibromyalgia flares and what makes them happen for me, and also learning how to get myself back on track once a flare rears its ugly head. However, for now I’m happy with my efforts, I didn’t miss any work (luckily I’m still on short hours otherwise not sure I would have recovered quite so well), I continued to maintain a good anti inflammatory diet with only the odd naughty bits, and I kept up the good work that I know keeps me well.

So because last week was a flare week, I didn’t get much chance for recipe developing except for a spaghetti bolognese recipe which is coming up later this week. My apologies if this weeks food isn’t quite as adventurous as previous weeks, but I think considering the circumstances I did rather well 🙂 I also had a bit of a love affair with avocados, and you can find out why here.

Anyway, without further ado, heres the pick of last weeks noms! As always, its all gluten and dairy free.

Strawberry and Avocado Milkshake
One of the avocado love affairs and last weeks recipe on the blog, strawberry and avocado milkshake.

Above is last week avocado adventures, feel free to pop over to my special post dedicated to this wonderful fruit!

Chocolate gluten free porridge
Gluten free porridge with cocoa, banana, raspberries and pecans. Totally indulgent breakfast but worth the guilt! Easy to make by just stirring in a teaspoon of cocoa into the porridge while cooking.
Fresh Mint Tea
Sometimes simplicity is best. Saturday morning was spent having a lazy morning (well until 9am) in bed with some fresh mint tea. Better than anything you will buy and free once you have brought a plant to keep on your windowsill!
Mackerel with New potatoes, asparagus and eggs
Spring would be spring with new potatoes and asparagus. Here we baked them in the oven with some egg and mackerel. Very tasty!

I promise this isn’t all I ate, but simply the pick of the crop, where they both tasted great and looked good on camera!

What are you eating at the moment? What food love affairs are you having? Let me know in the comments below!

I also wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who reads this blog and either shares on social media or  with their fiends over a cup of coffee. Every time to visit you increase awareness of fibromyalgia and associated conditions. Each week that goes by I have slightly more visitors than the last and that really drives me to keep on going. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Please come and visit me on Facebook and Twitter where I share news and information on fibromyalgia, and on Instagram where I document my daily life with Fibromyalgia.

Toodle pip!

Naturopathic Nutrition

Anti Inflammatory Diet – Avocado

Its been a bit of an avocado love affair this week, in fact, over on Instagram, I decided it was #avocadoappreciationweek and who doesn’t love an avocado??!! Not only do they taste great but they also packed a punch on the anti inflammatory properties too, a food and lifestyle change I am embracing in an effort to treat my fibromyalgia naturally.


The anti inflammatory properties of avocados are believed to be so strong that they actually offset perhaps not so healthy food choices (but don’t let that be an excuse to eat too many treats!). Avocados are rich in monounsaturated omega 9 fat, good fat in moderation, and this fat is high in anti inflammatory properties. They are also chock full of phytosterols, a nutrient often taken in supplement form by those suffering from inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, but I think I would much rather eat an avocado than take a tablet. They also contain plenty of omega 3 fats which are proven to reduce skin inflammation. These anti inflammatory properties, along with many anti inflammatory foods, are incredibly useful in treating my fibromyalgia, particularly the pain and bowel symptoms.

However, avocados are not just great for reducing inflammation in the body, they are also great for delivering these amazing health benefits too –

  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Improving heart health
  • Aids digestion
  • Regulating blood sugar (which makes them great for breakfast)
  • Regulating blood pressure
  • Reduces risk of vision loss due to cataracts
  • Improved immune system
  • Anti cancer activity
  • Improved complexion

I could go on (but I won’t)…..

Okay, so hopefully I’ve convinced you to want to eat more of these beautifully smooth, creamy, buttery fruits, but apart from guacamole to dip your Friday night nachos into, what else are you going to do with them? Well, I’ll tell you! Here are just a few ideas to get you creative avocado juices flowing.


Aromatherapy

Fragrant Friday – Black Pepper

So we are back to aromatherapy again! Fragrant Friday (and note this is not every Friday!) is a series of posts that looks at the potential benefit of using aromatherapy in Fibromyalgia and for anyone who may have other ailments they wish to treat naturally and holistically. So far in this series we have already looked at Lavender and Peppermint, and this time we are taking a look at Black Pepper.


I would like the think that everyone is familiar with black pepper. If you cook at all then this spice will likely be a staple in your kitchen. I put black pepper in pretty much everything but it wasn’t until I started looking at treating my fibromyalgia naturally that I considered using it in aromatherapy. The great thing too is that it is pretty cheap to buy which makes aromatherapy affordable.


So while we have all enjoyed the heat and appetising aroma of black pepper in our food, I’m betting not many of us have used it in its essential oil form. Black peppercorns are the dried fruit of the Piper Nigrum plant and in history was considered to be scared and extremely valuable. So much so that merchants even used it to trade it for gold! Nowadays it is easily available and really not valuable at all, but that doesn’t makes it any less special. In fact did you know that black pepper can benefit you in the following ways?

  • Digestive complaints, especially of the windy kind!
  • Antispasmodic
  • Relief of arthritic symptoms
  • Removes toxins from the body by making you sweat more and increasing urination
  • Antioxidant
  • Delays signs of ageing (think wrinkles and loss of vision)
  • Antibacterial
  • Anti cancer activity
  • Ease symptoms of cigarette cravings

I personally use black pepper essential oil for its ability to ease the muscular aches and pains I experience with my fibromyalgia, to aid digestion and to protect me against opportunistic viruses and bacteria. If I do get a cold I find it a very useful decongestant. It is also known to help ease symptoms of anxiety which is particularly useful after a hard day. I typically use black pepper at the end of a challenging day.

There are many ways to use black pepper essential oil, but here are a few of my favourites.

  • Topically – by adding to a massage oil blend with lavender and peppermint, black pepper brings quick and effective relief of muscular pain (especially when someone else does the massaging!)
  • On the chest – dilute a couple of drops of black pepper oil into a little coconut oil and rub onto the chest like vaporub to ease congestion during illness
  • Inhalation – Place a few drops on a tissue and inhale directly to ease symptoms of anxiety
  • In food – Add a couple of drops to a bowl of soup or even into a smoothie to ‘pep’ up the taste and ease digestive complaints.

DISCLAIMER

As with any new method of treating symptoms for any reason, always take precaution. I AM NOT AN AROMATHERAPIST and all thoughts and opinions are my own based on the research I have made and the results I have had. I do however always follow these rules when trying a new essential oil –

  • Some essential oils can have an allergic effect on some people so I always begin using essential oils slowly and carefully.
  • I never put essential oils directly onto my skin without diluting in a base oil first unless it is safe to do so. I test for skin sensitivity by testing on a small patch of diluted oil my inner forearm and if there is no irritation after 48 hours I consider it safe for me.
  • I always check which essential oils are phototoxic (sensitive to the suns UV rays) so that I make sure I have properly rinsed it off my skin before going into sunlight, to avoid burning.
  • Less is more – just a couple of drops diluted into a base oil is enough to carry through to the whole mixture, so don’t get too excited and add too much essential oil, it will be too overpowering and may irritate.
  • If I was pregnant, I would speak to an aromatherapist first to check what is safe to use.
  • I don’t assume that all essential oils can be used in aromatherapy, some can’t, so I always check.
  • I would never ingest essential oils without first speaking to an aromatherapist.
  • And lastly, I keep them out of reach of children and away from fire hazards.

I hope you enjoyed this instalment of Fragrant Friday! As always it has been a pleasure!

Finally, please leave your comments down in the comments section or you can get in touch with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, all the links are at the top on the right hand side of this page.

This post along with many others from fellow fibro bloggers can be found at the Fibro Blogger Directory.

Toodle Pip!

Recipes

Recipe – Dairy Free Avocado and Strawberry Milkshake

As you may have guessed by my food diary posts (see here for the latest post), I love breakfast. I also love avocado. But sometimes I fancy something lighter than porridge, or avocado on gluten free toast. So here we have another glugable smoothie/milkshake recipe. As with all of my recipes, it is suitable for a gluten free, dairy free, anti inflammatory diet which is perfect for is you suffer from Fibromyalgia.

Dairy Free Avocado and Strawberry Milkshake

Ingredients – Serves 1 to 2 depending on how hungry you are (I’m greedy!)

  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 150g strawberries
  • 4 tbsp plain dairy free yoghurt such as soya or coconut
  • 200ml dairy free milk such as almond or coconut
  • 1 tsp honey or to taste

You can guess the method I’m sure, plonk in the blender, whizz until smooth and enjoy!


As always, for inspiration of how you can use food to treat fibromyalgia follow my on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Also, I’d love to know what you would like to see more of on the blog! What do you enjoy, what do you find helpful and what would you like to see more?

Toodle Pip!

 

Sleep Hygiene

The Fibromyalgia Sleep Chronicles #3 – The effect of blue light on sleep

Good morning! How did you sleep last night? Was it long and restful, or frustratingly disturbed? This series of posts is looking at how we can make our sleeping habits healthier and more beneficial, and I hope that what I have learnt throughout my journey to better sleep will help others.

I started off learning more about sleep before I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Leading up to diagnosis I found myself in a cycle of going to bed and then either not falling to sleep or not staying asleep and this of course meant that my days were littered with yawns, pain and forgetfulness because I was so tired.

However, there are many reasons for somebody suffering a sleep disturbance, whether it be chronic or temporary, and it can be easy to just accept it and never do anything about it. It doesn’t have to be this way. That being said, I don’t have the secrets to solving everyones sleep problems, but following the advice I sought in the posts I am sharing along with a few of my own ideas, has led to me sleeping infinitely better than I was 6 months ago. Having good sleep hygiene also isn’t a quick fix, all of this advice would need to be taken on board and practised as part of a permanent lifestyle change and not just for a few days and then giving up.

I have also decided to break down the posts to get into the nitty gritty of these sleep changing habits, in order for you to have some time practising them before moving onto the next step. I also like to fully understand the reason for trying something before I embark on a lifestyle change, something that in healthcare we call an informed decision. It helps us to feel more in control and that increase our sense of wellbeing. It can be all too easy to look at the end goal and want to make all the necessary changes at once without fully understanding them, but this can often be overwhelming and lead to somebody giving up before they have even begun to see any benefit.

The effect of blue light on sleep

For this post we are looking at how to be kinder to our body clock in order to make our bodies actually want to sleep and the effect blue light can have on our circadian rhythms. It helps if you read my previous post about circadian rhythms before reading this one, and that you get your bedroom sleep friendly.

What do I mean by being kind to your body clock? Well, your body clock and circadian rhythms are responsible for making sure you fall to sleep, stay asleep, and wake up refreshed. If you body clock is out of rhythm, chances are, you are struggling with one or more of these things, but there are some gentle and effective ways to help reset your rhythm, and using blue light to our advantage.

We are especially sensitive to a wavelength of light known as blue light, which you may associate with the bad reputation of screens and mobile devices have when it comes to getting a good nights sleep. You’ve probably been told to avoid blue light if you want to sleep better, and this is partly true, because as we have already said, blue light suppresses melatonin which is responsible for making us sleepy. However, please do not think that blue light is all bad, it is simply about the timing of this light.

The good news

If you are somebody who is waking up unrefreshed, and really struggles to get yourself going in the morning then blue light is going to be your biggest ally. By using daylight, which is rich in blue light, to kickstart your day you are suppressing melatonin production, and melatonin is your sleepy hormone. So it figures that by suppressing melatonin you are automatically going to be less sleepy. Daylight is full of blue light, and in the morning when you want to wake up this is good! So instead of pressing that snooze button, get up, open the curtains and let the light flood over you. I guarantee you will start your day feeling better. I also find it useful to step outside into the light and the coolness of the morning air also helps me become more alert and ready to tackle the day.


Now, it is all very well saying this in May when the mornings are light in the northern hemisphere and opening the curtains is all that is needed, but what about those long dark winter months, when the most daylight we see maybe from across the workplace as we peer out to see what the weather is like? Then it isn’t so easy but there is something that can help.

Daylight lamps, such as a Lumie, are probably the best way forward if your problem is waking up in the morning. These ‘lights’ gradually take your bedroom from darkness to as close to daylight that is possible with an electronic device, and best of all it happens while you are sleeping. This gradual move from darkness to light begins the melatonin suppression before you even get up and this may help you to feel more refreshed when the alarm finally goes off. Or you may even find that it works so effectively that you don’t even need an alarm! Imagine that! Daylight lamps can also be useful for the mid afternoon slump if you aren’t able to take yourself outside for a walk.

The bad news

So we have determined that daylight and blue light is good for helping you wake up, but by now you should have guessed that it isn’t so good for the other end of the day when you want to fall to sleep. The major offenders for preventing healthy sleep patterns are mobile devices and any screens, like computer and televisions. The longer in the evening that we use these devices, the longer it will take for our bodies to begin secreting enough melatonin to get us to fall to sleep. I find for me that I need to to be away from blue light for a good 90 minutes before I begin to feel sleepy enough to fall asleep. So if I don’t stop using my phone until 10pm, I’m looking at it being at least 1130pm before I’m ready to sleep. The less I use blue light in the evenings, the sooner I am ready to sleep because my body clock is recognising that it is the evening and therefore time to rest.

I do realise that it can be very difficult to drag yourself away from mobile devices in the evening, and for many of us it forms part of our social habits and entertainment. I recommend avoiding them if you can as it is not only the blue light but also the effect it can have on stress levels and brain activity before we sleep. An example of this may be that we read some distressing news before going to sleep and this then plays on our minds and stops us from being able to switch off. But if you simply can’t drag yourself away then a compromise would be using the nighttime option on your phone. I use an iPhone and the nighttime option can be set to the same each day. This option turns the light on the screen from blue to varying degrees of red. Pair this up with turning the brightness down to its lowest setting and you will still be helping your melatonin production somewhat. Even though I don’t really use my phone before going to bed I do still use this setting from 2030 each evening, until 0730 each morning as this reminds me of the time and to start thinking about moving away, as well as reminding me not prioritise engaging with things I can’t control too early in the morning which would get my day off to a stressful start.

It isn’t just phones and television that are responsible for emitting blue light. Most ceiling lights and even table lamps in our homes also let off blue light, so if your house is lit up like Blackpool until you go to bed, then chances are you may also find it difficult to sleep well. Luckily for me I adore candle light, whether it be winter or summer, and candle light emits amber light, which actually helps our body clocks do what they need to do to make us sleepy as there is no melatonin suppression. Another benefit is that we all look better in candlelight! So why not try lighting a few candles in the evening and have them dotted around your humble abode? You’ll also save money on electricity as well as sleeping better! I also make sure I have a large candle on the go as this follows me from room to room as I go about like some medieval peasant in the dark brushing my teeth and getting my things ready for the morning.

So there you have it, what do you think of blue light? Do you have any experience in how it can affect sleep and our mood? Will you be trying any of the techniques I’ve described? Please feel free to let me know in the comments below. I promise I am really friendly and won’t bite!

As ever you can always find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

This post along with many others from fellow fibro bloggers can be found at the Fibro Blogger Directory.

Toodle pip and I hope you sleep well tonight!

 

Naturopathic Nutrition

Fibromyalgia and Diet – Week 9

What a week of eating! As I wrote the title of this blog I can’t quite believe that it has already been 9 weeks since I have been treating my fibromyalgia through changes in my diet. What initially started out as cutting out anything artificial and processed, has evolved into also cutting out gluten, dairy, and on most days refined sugar (although I do allow myself to have the occasional treat!). I have also learnt to embrace anti inflammatory foods, a series of which I have started writing about within this blog (see posts about ACV and Alliums). Through these simple changes I have noticed a marked difference in my energy levels, my skin, hair and nails, my pain levels, and my resistance to bugs. My fibromyalgia related bowel symptoms have also pretty much cleared up, with the odd exception.

What has also been great about cutting out the nasties from my diet (as I refer to them), is that I no longer have to worry about how much I eat. Which is good because I love eating. I’ve been eating more in quantity of food than I ever used to eat and in 9 weeks I have lost 17lbs without even trying, even with all the cake! My appetite is also more under control without the rollercoaster of blood sugars surging through my body, which is simply down to the changes. My body is working better, feeling better, and ad someone who has always struggle with body image, I’ll never pass up a compliment or two when they come my way.

So here’s to another week of good eating and a healthier future. This week is a bit heavy on the breakfast front, only because I’ve been really enjoying it this week, will work on sharing more lunches and dinners net week!

The coconut collaborative mango and passionfruit yogurt
I’d been looking for something thicker and altogether more interesting than soya yoghurt as my dairy free alternative and was delighted to find this little pot of delight from The Coconut Collaborative in my Sainburys Local on my way home from work one day!
Omelette Pizza
I had been meaning to share a post on my omelette pizza’s but that was shelved when I got sick a week or so ago (what was that I said about resistance to bugs??!). I really enjoy this as a quick and filling lunch, and what’s great is that you can pretty much just stick anything on top that you have in the fridge.
Comforting Gluten and Dairy Free Cottage Pie
Last weeks featured recipe on the blog was this comforting cottage pie which went down well in our house seeing as winter returned last week at the end of April!
Overnight Vanilla Chia Pudding with Rhubarb Compote
Ok, I’ll admit, I really do not like the texture of overnight chia seeds, but the taste was alright. The rhubarb compote was delish, made with rhubarb grown on our allotment, oranges and ginger. If you are tempted by overnight chia then I used this recipe. Oh, and chia seeds are super healthy!
Porridge made with almond milk, banana, pumpkin and chia seeds
I had to forgive the chia seeds for their insult to my mouth with this lovely bowl of porridge, I don’t think I could ever get bored of porridge!
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A trip into Kingston had to mean my first trip to Glutopia this weekend, a shop that specialise in gluten and vegan cupcakes. This chocolate and vanilla cupcakes were amazing and they will be able to count of my custom! They also do the most amazing celebration cakes for those special occasions. 
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Yes, more porridge. I’ve really enjoyed using mint and edible flowers on my porridge this week, and they look super pretty too!

Now for the usual stuff, you can follow my journey on Instagram if you want a feast for the eyes, or Facebook and Twitter if you wantbto keep more up to date on recent news, research and information on Fibromyalgia. I look forward to sharing the journey with you as I continue to rise from the beast!

Toodle pip!

Lifestyle

Finding the right balance – Daily life with Fibromyalgia

One of the things I have found most frustrating since living with fibromyalgia, is the sometimes uphill battle with daily life. Somedays feel great and it can be easy to feel obliged to pack as much as I can into these days, and other days are really not good at all, and fibromyalgia can rob me of joy and opportunity. Finding the right balance can often be tricky. However, there is a simple way of managing your life on a daily basis, while living with fibromyalgia, and I would like to share this with you today.

I was taught about this technique in a recent Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) session. It was my second session and we were reviewing my previous sessions ‘homework’. I had been asked to keep a daily activity diary, which looked a little bit like this.

I had filled this in for 9 days straight, just as I went along, or at the end of the day as I was reflecting back on what I had achieved. When I went along for my CBT session I felt embarrassed that my life looked boring, too routine, but at the same time knew that building a routine was helping me to feel better, helping my overall wellbeing, and my ability to sleep. Yet I still found myself saying, as I handed my diary over ‘I haven’t done very much’. Heres a sneak peak into what my diary looked like (excuse the messy writing!).

My very lovely and patient therapist took a few moments to look at it. Then she said “Actually, it looks quite busy to me…..”

She asked me why I felt I hadn’t done very much and we spoke about how sometimes it can be easy to compare your current fibromyalgia self to your past self. You find yourself thinking “am I lazy?” because you feel that you should have perhaps done more or that what you have done has left you feeling tired and no longer productive. We spoke about how you can often find yourself thinking that you haven’t done much because compared to your own extraordinarily high standards you haven’t and yet you are still tired at the end of the day. However, in reality, you have actually done quite a lot of activities, just not necessarily in the right order or with the right approach.

Prior to having Fibromyalgia, I could pretty much go out on a whim, childcare permitting. I could have late nights, sleep like a log, with alcohol in my system, and even with only a few hours sleep still function like a relatively normal human being, knowing that I would catch up the next night. I could squeeze in running without much thought, be out all day with the kids and still cook dinner, and whip round the house in a flash tidying up.

There are no more late nights, no more evenings out, and if I do go out it has to be planned so I know that the next day I can recover. Alcohol? Pah. My sleep is all over the place, and I never catch up. If sleep is worse than just ok, I just well write the next day off. If I mess up my sleep routine, well, I can forget sleep. I don’t run anymore, but haven’t given up all hope of this, and I have to make a choice between going out for an entire day or cooking dinner, I can’t do both without consequences. For every activity I have to sacrifice something else, I simply cannot do it all, and thats ok. I’m at peace with it. What I had never considered however, before this session, is how I plan my activities and my days so that every day can potentially be a good day. I’m already quite good at scheduling “me time” in, but further consideration needs to go into when that time is.

This is where my therapist introduced me to the theory of graded activities into RED, AMBER, and GREEN activities, or as I know them, RAG ratings (we use RAG ratings a lot at work so I’m stick with what I know).

Red activities are those that require a lot of either physical or mental energy. Amber requires a moderate amount and can be sustained for longer. Green are those that don’t require much effort at all, and should be considered as restful activities. These ratings will of course be different for everybody, but I have since re-written the diary shared above with my own personal ratings of the activities to see how it looks, and this is a snippet of the results.


You can probably see that I have a good mix of RAG in there, but the problem is that they aren’t exactly in the right order….. I’m tending to book end my days with green activities, with the occasional one thrown in during the day, and then the rest of my day I am filling with ambers and reds. Also, on some day’s I appear to to have taken the “all or nothing” approach (especially weekends) and this leaves me in danger of having a flare day.

Moving forward what I am now doing is planning my week by pre filling some of these activities into my calendar, the ones I already know are going to be happening, and then building and planning my days around them. An example of this may be that I plan my acupuncture sessions to be at a time where I can place a green activity either side, I may decide to read or listen to a podcast on my train journey there and back and make the journey itself more green than amber, or arrange for the girls to be picked up from school by someone else to allow me to rest with a green activity when I get home. I may ask my husband to cook if I am doing the after school clubs or vice versa, to lessen the impact of too many red and ambers in a row. I may simply ask for a break for 30 minutes to go and read a book in a quiet space if I have been at home with the girls all day (this is probably going to be the hardest thing to do, mum guilt). This planning ahead is going to be especially important as I have now returned to work and gradually building up to full time hours again..

It doesn’t matter what you do with your day, just so long as you bookend red activities with green ones and you don’t do your red activities for too long. Schedule in breaks from these tasks, and make sure these breaks are green. Don’t forget those pesky amber chores which don’t feel like much in themselves, but stuck together can easily turn into an amber marathon.

We are all individuals and will have our own RAG ratings, and just because a task is red doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyable. One of my favourite things to do since having fibromyalgia is to cook, and I enjoy it immensely, but it is still a red task and drains me of energy. However, just because it is red, doesn’t mean I’m not going to do it, or enjoy it. By scheduling your days, putting a little more thought into the order of your tasks, and letting go of some things, you should be able to reach an equilibrium and manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia that are a direct result of simply doing too much.

Since implementing this approach for the last few weeks, I already feel more in control of my day and my symptoms. I am listening to my body and mind more closely and paying attention to how important each task is (do I really need to hoover if no-one is coming over?). I’m working hard on not cramming too much into my good days, and taking a little bit more time to fill the gaps with green tasks, not amber ones. I have also adjusted the way I do some of my previously amber tasks so that they have now become green tasks.


The last thing to consider, which I haven’t had to deal with yet is simply the chance that life is going to get in the way of this well thought out plan. There will occasionally be days when the children are sick, the cat needs to go to the vet in an emergency, or your kitchen floods. On these days you just need to do the best you can in dealing with the issue first and then re planning your day – do you need to do the shopping tomorrow instead and rustle up a quick microwave meal, just this once? Many tasks we do are as a result of a choice we have made, and for some of them there may be an alternative, such as getting someone else to do the washing up or getting the kids ready for bed.

I would encourage you to experiment with RAG ratings by first keeping a diary for a week and not doing anything different at all. After a week sit down with your support, this may be a partner, a room mate or a parent, rate your activities and see what changes you can make. What they can help you with? Have a go at re-writing your diary using colours, are all of your colours clumped together or are they interspersed throughout the day? Are you compensating on your good days and doing too much? If so, have a practise at drafting a new diary,  by first filling in the non negotiable tasks like employment, and switching around the optional tasks. You’ll probably find you can still get the same stuff done with your day but just slightly differently, conserving physical and mental energy and controlling your fibromyalgia symptoms better.

I hope that you have found this useful, and please do not hesitate to get in touch via the comments below, or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

For more information on fibromyalgia and CBT please visit here

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, in the words of Albert Einstien “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”, so try something new and RAG rate your lifestyle today!

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