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Seven Fibromyalgia seasonal stress strategies
Sunday 14 December 2014
7 Fibromyalgia Seasonal Stress Strategies
Odds are, if you step into an elevator, walk into a department store, or turn on the radio right now, it wouldn’t be long before you hear Andy Williams crooning “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!” It’s December. It is a wonderful time of the year for most – including those of us with fibromyalgia.
But, it’s also the most stressful time of the year.
We don’t hear a lot of holiday songs about increased fibromyalgia pain and symptoms.
What does holiday stress mean to you? Do you find yourself experiencing any of the following symptoms?
_____ Feeling jittery and/or twitchy
_____ Feeling nervous
_____ Feeling anxious
_____ Tightness in the chest
_____ Heart racing or pounding
_____ Heart fluttering or skipping beats
_____ Cognitive confusion
_____ Poor memory or recall
_____ Poor ability to concentrate or focus
_____ Feeling nauseous
_____ Experiencing constipation, or diarrhea, or alternating (both)
_____ Realizing that you’re unconsciously holding your breath
_____ Taking short, shallow breaths
_____ Difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep
_____ Increased irritability and feeling short-fused
Of course, these symptoms are just the beginning. There are many more linked to stress and it’s likely that many of them are ones already familiar to you as someone dealing with a chronic health challenge.
The question here is, “Do you find an increase in your stress-related symptoms at this time of year?”
I remember a particularly busy Christmas when my children were very young. I worked full-time, attended school part-time, and felt stretched in far too many opposing directions. I sewed, baked, shopped, wrapped, and prepared for Christmas morning as best I could.
Yet, I didn’t think my efforts were good enough.
I hadn’t the time to select the perfect stocking stuffers. I hadn’t the financial resources to purchase the gifts that my children asked for. I felt frustrated, overwhelmed, and just plain exhausted. I watched my children open their gifts with my own sense of defeat permeating my experience.
As I later fixed breakfast for the family, I watched my children bring their favorite toys into the kitchen and laugh with each other. I suddenly realized that the disappointment I’d felt over their gifts was my emotion -- not theirs. They were enjoying themselves in the moment. I decided to make the meal a bit more fun with music, adding some decorative touches to the table, and some impromptu dancing in the kitchen.
I learned a great lesson that day about taking a step back to see the big picture. Sometimes, we simply get too close to our stressful situations to see them as they really are.
That’s why it’s important to consider the alternatives. Rather than focus on the unavoidable aspects of stress, here are a few suggestions. Below you’ll find 7 Seasonal Strategies to help you to lower your stress levels and put some fun back into your festivities.
Increased dietary sugar has an emotional impact, too. High blood sugar levels are connected with cognitive issues, depression, sadness, poor judgment, confusion, and more. So, do yourself a favor instead. Limit the treats and provide your body with limitless abundant nutrition.
There you have it. Seven Stress Strategies! Can you review the previous strategies and select ones to implement now? Go ahead and look over the list and see which ones you’ll put into practice first.
Preventing stress in the first place is easier than dealing with the physical and emotional damage resulting from stress.
Would you like a bonus stress strategy? This one sounds a bit weird, but I know it works. I’ve done it myself.
Shrine - For many of us, our holiday happiness quotient relies on our ideas of the perfect day. We have memories or expectations of what we interpret as ideal. Why not create a display that reminds us of what we love about this time of year?
Most of us collect decorations and mementos of this inner idea of the perfect holiday. It’s time to put this collection into one place. Sort through your Christmas boxes and pick out a select few things. Gather items that have sentimental meaning and/or represent your holiday ideal. Then, arrange these items where you’ll get to see them most. You get to decide how much or how little. Create a room, a corner, a mantel, or a shelf that’s just for you. Set up your holiday vignette all in one place to cherish and treasure.
As a suggestion, choose from your favorite books, toys, cards, ornaments, candles, snow globes, centerpieces, village miniatures, decorations, crafts your children made, etc. Put them in one place (you could even choose a private place such as your bedroom dresser or nightstand), and allow yourself the time to take it all in and enjoy the scene.
Here’s an example of a fun little arrangement I set up last year. I did it just for my own delight. It worked ... I grinned every time I walked by.
Fostering the feelings of joy, happiness, gratitude, and wonder is the best stress management strategy of all.
The above originally appeared here.
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