Fibromyalgia is My Thing #8
Sleep, Exercise and Attitude
Sometimes you just need to be alone. How alone? It depends on what you have on your plate. I, for instance, have much on my plate and I enjoy the opportunity to get some of it taken care of. However, more often than not I find myself alone and sleeping. I surely cannot be that tired. Yet, I turn my head and fall back asleep.
This is not a good thing. Mind you, sleep is essential; and not just any sleep, but deep sleep where you go into REM sleep, what ever that means. I think it means you dream. Well, I dream alright. I dream in living color and always there are aspects of my dreams that stay with me throughout the day.
Is this because I have fibromyalgia? Insomnia is indeed a huge problem for the Fibromite. Once your body clock gets off it stays off for a long time. It takes much effort and conscious thought and action to get back into the right kind of sleep.
There are some things that will help. You will only know by trial and error as we are each different with similar and many different symptoms of FM.
First, there is nothing wrong with a nap in the middle of the day, as long it is not four hours or so. Ninety minutes works for me. You have to experiment to find what works for you.
Some days I can sleep all day and all night and then I don’t sleep for two or three days. That is a pattern no one wants to emulate.
Ideally we should get between eight and nine hours sleep a night. Here is where the planning comes in.
Get out a pad and pencil (or pen, I prefer pencil) and write down all of the activities that you do each day. Next to them write down the amount of time it takes to accomplish them. For instance:
Get up and do the toilette thing. Ten Minutes 10
Fix and eat Breakfast Thirty Minutes 30
Watch world news Sixty Minutes 60
Eat Apple or banana Five Minutes 05
Read part of a book Thirty Minutes 30
Rest Sixty Minutes 60
Fix and eat lunch Fifteen Minutes 15
Computer Two hours 120
Nap Ninety Minutes 90
Fix and eat Dinner Thirty Minutes 30
Check World News Fifteen Minutes 15
Check Tomorrow’s weather Ten Minutes 10
Evening snack (cheese) Ten Minutes 10
Prepare for bed Twenty Minutes 20
Go to bed and sleep Nine Hours 540
Total hours accounted for Seventeen ¼ 17.25
That leaves six hours and seventy five minutes that you can do other things. It’s always nice to know.
So take a pad with you all day and jot down how many minutes it takes you to accomplish whatever it is you are doing. Then add the numbers and see what you have to work with.
As soon as two months ago I got out of bed only to go to the powder room. It exhausted me. I have had to learn to very slowly stretch and exercise a little at a time to get back to being able to walk again. (This does get old after a while.) I am so grateful that once again I am getting back on my feet.
I am permitted to drive, however I do not feel strong enough just yet. The day will come when I pile my Snuggles in the car with me and we go see my kids. They all live a distance away (some further than others). I’ll start with the close ones!
Now we come to the part where I must exercise. And trust me friends, no matter what anyone says, exercise is essential to good health. Having said that let me be clear that the Fibromite does not and should not exercise like normal people!
We are not normal, but then, who is? What is normal after all? It does exist, in each and every one of us. Our actions are normal for us.
Exercise in water (WARM water) only. Even if at first all you can do is get in and stand. As the water moves around you it is exercising you.
Cold water will cause the muscles to cramp so badly you may think you should never get in a pool again. The heated pool is much much different. It soothes your entire body, relaxes you so you are able to exercise.
You don’t have to move a lot, just move. After a few trips to the pool you will find you are moving more and some day will be able to join an exercise class. Even that will seem a bit difficult the first time. So, don’t be hard on yourself. Do what you are able to comfortably do. Each time you go you will find you can do more. You will look forward to exercising in the water and you will find energy, not exhaustion.
So, sleep and exercise are essential for the Fibromite. So is a positive attitude.
If you have anger inside of you, you need to find a way to rid yourself of it or it will quickly cause your entire body to crumble.
I’m not one for being angry. I can only remember two times in my entire life that I was truly and completely angry. It was horrible.
The first time I was attending a funeral. It does not matter what made me angry, only that I recognized it was eating me up and anger is ugly! I went to the casket and talked to the lady, whom I barely knew, and told her how I felt and that I would very much appreciate if she would allow me to bury my anger with her. Then I mentally placed all of my anger in the coffin beside her. I prayed it would stay. I sat back down and watched as they closed the coffin and followed it to the grave yard. Once it was lowered into the ground, I felt tremendous relief. My anger was gone, never to return.
The second time I was angry it was more intense and the pain was so deep I stopped living. I only existed. Then one day I had to lay it at My Savior’s feet and leave it there. Even though I was not the one who broke the fences of trust, I had to be the first to extend an olive branch. My anger is now gone.
It’s hard to let go of anger, but it is such a cruel and nasty beast, it must be done.
The next very important thing you can do for yourself is find a positive way to look at life and keep it. Practice “Thank You.”
Here is an email I received from my beloved brother-in-law in California. I don’t know where he got it, but it is worth pondering:
I AM THANKFUL: FOR THE WIFE
WHO SAYS its HOT DOGS TONIGHT,
BECAUSE SHE IS HOME WITH ME,
AND NOT OUT WITH SOMEONE ELSE.
FOR THE HUSBAND WHO IS ON THE SOFA
BEING A COUCH
BECAUSE HE IS HOME WITH ME
AND NOT OUT AT THE BARS.
FOR THE TEENAGER WHO IS COMPLAINING
DISHES BECAUSE IT MEANS SHE IS AT HOME,
NOT ON THE STREETS.
FOR THE TAXES I PAY BECAUSE IT MEANS I AM EMPLOYED.
FOR THE MESS TO CLEAN AFTER A PARTY
BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE BEEN SURROUNDED BY FRIENDS.
FOR THE CLOTHES THAT FIT A LITTLE TOO SNUG
BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE ENOUGH TO EAT.
FOR MY SHADOW THAT WATCHES ME WORK
BECAUSE IT MEANS I AM OUT IN THE SUNSHINE
FOR A LAWN THAT NEEDS MOWING, WINDOWS
CLEANING, AND GUTTERS THAT NEED FIXING
BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE A HOME.
FOR ALL THE COMPLAINING I HEAR ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT
BECAUSE IT MEANS WE HAVE FREEDOM OF SPEECH.
FOR THE PARKING SPOT I FIND AT THE FAR END OF THE PARKING LOT
BECAUSE IT MEANS I AM CAPABLE OF WALKING AND I HAVE BEEN BLESSED WITH
FOR MY HUGE HEATING BILL
BECAUSE IT MEANS I AM WARM.
FOR THE LADY BEHIND ME IN CHURCH WHO SINGS OFF KEY
BECAUSE IT MEANS I CAN HEAR.
FOR THE PILE OF LAUNDRY AND IRONING
BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE CLOTHES TO WEAR.
FOR WEARINESS AND ACHING MUSCLES AT THE END OF THE DAY
BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE BEEN CAPABLE OF WORKING HARD.
FOR THE ALARM THAT GOES OFF
IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS
BECAUSE IT MEANS I AM ALIVE.
AND FINALLY, FOR TOO MUCH E-MAIL BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE FRIENDS WHO are thinking of me!
One time many years ago we took in a young woman and her two daughters. She was being abused. They lived with us for a year and a half. When she left she wrote us a thank you letter - twelve pages long. She appreciated everything. I’ve tried to emulate her. Make your own Thank You list. And always remember to thank others. The world would be a dull and lonely place if there were not “others.”
If you find yourself indulging in criticism of ANY thing at all, stop and think “Now what is the good I can learn here? What is the positive lesson to be learned? Can I make things better or is it just not in my corner of the world to deal with?” Or “What can I do to make things better?” And do it.
Miles and miles of smiles to you all!