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Fibromyalgia Treatment: Reducing Stress and Clutter

Updated on January 10, 2013

The Stess Trigger

Stress is the cause of several health problems, but fibromyalgia sufferers know it can trigger flare ups of pain and fatigue. For us, stress is one of many things that can compound our other symptoms. It's important to keep a low stress home environment in order to remain functional.

Visual Stress

A visually "busy" home can contribute to fragmented and distracted thinking. It exaggerates fibro-fog and complicates our ability to function mentally. When we start to get frustrated, our stress level rises and our symptoms seem to go straight downhill. It's exhausting to force yourself to focus and think straight through will alone. Why not make it easier on ourselves?

How much clutter do you have in your home? Are there a lot of knick-knacks you could do without? Take a moment to stand in the middle of your living room (or whatever room you spend most of your time in) and take inventory of what's here. Clothes, shoes, books, bags, electronics, dishes, mail, projects, and any number of other things just sitting around. What about decor? Do you have an eclectic mix of different styles and colors? Acknowledging the number of different things you have going on in this room will help determine what can be eliminated.

It does fibromyalgia patients well to adopt some minimalist attitudes. Starting small by focusing on one room alone gives you an attainable goal for reorganizing and refreshing your life. If you're able to expand this mindset to the rest of your home, all the better. Now, what do you do with all that "stuff?" Find a place for it in another room, or store it out of site in this one. If you don't use it regularly or can live without, consider eliminating it. Donating, selling, or trashing are your options. If you're really not sure about something, try storing it away for a while as "undecided." In six months, go back and look at what you've put aside and ask again if you really need it after not even seeing it for so long.

Think organizationally. It's okay to keep most of these things in the room, but bringing in order will also bring relief. Keep magazines and books in a rack or shelf. I tend to kick shoes under the sofa because it's both convenient and out of sight. I do the same with my laptop, protecting it and de-cluttering the scene at once. I bought two large woven baskets from the thrift store to toss video game controllers and other sturdy electronics in, tucking those underneath my coffee table for quick, accessible storage.

The important thing is to keep it simple. Find a place for things and stick to it. Keeping down your clutter WILL lessen your stress level.

Color Your Moods

Even on a smaller budget and less free time, it's possible to redecorate a little further to improve your mood and energy. There's something to be said about the psychological effects colors have on our lives. You'd be surprised what changing out a few throw pillows or adding a slip cover to an excitably colored chair can do.

Blues and greens on an otherwise neutral pallet offer the most refreshing and low stress ambiance to a room. Lighter shades of these work better in lifting our spirits and leave us with more mental clarity. While some individuals favor bright and bold colors, these may not be the best choice. Many people with fibromyalgia are sensitive to visual stimuli so a bold color has an energy draining effect rather than inspirational.

It's also helpful to avoid a lot of patterns or contrasts in styles. These things can be kept on a small scale as accent pieces, but are overwhelming to many fibro sufferers. Aim for solid colors, and focus on different textures if you desire more variety, not patterns. A brown shag rug contributes visual interest to a room without being distracting and showy.

The Effects

We are not always aware of how a room affects our mood and energy. Some fatigue can be due to your surroundings. Having a relaxing place to spend time at home is key in managing fibromyalgia. This, among other natural approaches, has worked to reduce flare ups in my life and I hope it gives you some ideas about how to combat yours.

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