Blog, Fibromyalgia, Meditation, Relaxation

Relaxation techniques to help de-stress…

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with fibromyalgia. Although if your reading this without fibromyalgia the techniques are still worthwhile to try; we all need to know how to relax, particularly at the moment with Coronavirus.

The constant pain experienced with fibromyalgia makes every day tasks more difficult to do.

Simple things like preparation of a meal and shopping for food are tasks that become challenging.

I choose simple meals to cook that have a minimum of preparation. Buying some vegetables ready to cook; like butternut squash can speed up prep time and help to avoid struggling to cut them up.

Having my shopping delivered has made a big difference and can help me budget easier.

Like most things you find your own way to getting these jobs done.

My experience….

When I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia I had pain in my neck and shoulder constantly.

I remember thinking I’d do anything to get rid off the pain.  I was constantly visiting my doctor for help with various ailments, due to fibromyalgia. It was suggested I try physiotherapy.  I went along and was given various exercises to carry out along with relaxation techniques.

The relaxation exercises were really helpful, although it took a while to learn how to do them properly and get some benefit from them.

Why should I try relaxation?

Just the thought of being able to relax can seem out of reach if your in pain. Finding ways to de stress and relax is something that can make a difference.

Our bodies are under a lot of stress constantly and I found this stress had a big impact on how severe the pain was.  When I was able to relax the pain was not as severe.

How do I relax?

There a number of techniques you can try and it’s a good idea to try more than one technique, as you may respond better to certain ones. It’s more beneficial to practice for as long as possible, up to 20 minutes.

What can I try?

Breathing Exercises

To do this properly, find a quiet place you can sit for a while. Start to focus your mind on your breathing. Take long, deep breaths, try not to rush these. Breathe from your belly and focus your attention on the sound and feel of the breath. By concentrating on breathing it can take your mind away from other thoughts. Check with your health professional to see if this is suitable for you, if you have experienced breathing difficulties.

Body Scan

Try this technique by taking a few deep breathes first. Now focus the mind on the body as a whole and scan it from top to bottom for areas that seem tense. Think about each area in turn and imagine each part in turn, releasing tension in the muscles. When you have completed each area. Try another full body scan again, the tense areas should feel much more relaxed. This technique helps your mind to become more aware of areas that need attention.

Mindfulness Meditation 

Taking mindfulness a step further incorporating it into daily meditation practice can encourage the mind to work in a regular pattern.

Mindfulness meditation works by silently spending a few minutes every day thinking about one aspect of the body, such as breathing awareness and acknowledging thoughts.  When they arise and bringing back attention to the breathing. Take a look at my post.

Visualisation Therapy

To carry out this exercise successful you need to concentrate the mind on places and images you find calming and encourage positive thoughts. Looking at photos from the past or remembering places you have visited could help. There are apps that you can download to help with this technique.

Yoga

Yoga is a gentle form of exercise that combines controlled breathing with movement and postures. It’s a good choice if you want to improve your flexibility. It’s recommended to start by joining a group to learn the basic poses. Check with your doctor first to see if they think it’s suitable for you.

Most of these techniques can be carried out almost anywhere to help reduce stress and concentrate the mind.

As with all forms of exercise check with your doctor first it you are not sure if an exercise is suitable for you.

You can find further help and information on the following resources:

NHS Breathing Exercises for Stress

Mindfulness meditation

NHS Yoga

Blog, Happiness

Unlocking #Happiness….

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Happiness is a bit like searching for a key. The skill is in selecting the correct key and unlocking it. 

So, What would it feel like?

Could you imagine yourself being really happy?

Is there a way of finding happiness and achieving it throughout life?

There seems to be immense pressure on us to be happy. It’s perceived that unless we can find happiness, perhaps we are not achieving all our goals in life.

It’s ingrained in us from a early age.

As a small child, I remember singing the song,

‘I am H-A-P-P-Y,  I am H-A-P-P-Y,

I know I am,  I’m sure I am,

I am H-A-P-P-Y’

and then thinking to myself,

I’m really tired, cold and it’s too early in the morning for singing; this is stupid! …There’s nothing to feel happy about at this moment in time.’

Being happy is an important factor to take on board with a invisible illness like fibromyalgia. Living with pain and illness is exhausting and difficult.

If we can find a way to seek out happiness every day; it could make a difference to our lives.

So what is happiness anyway?

It’s different for everyone but it’s not the unobtainable, some perceive.

Maybe for us with long term health conditions it’s not something we can feel every moment but we should be able to find some moments that can be happy in a small way.

How do we find it?

By focusing on the senses sight, sound, smell, feel.

These are some of mine:

Sight

Looking at nature; seeing Autumn leaves on trees changing day by day into more beautiful, rich colours.

Sound

Listening to the sound of birds singing in the morning, or the sound of rain drops falling gently onto a window ledge.

Smell

Holding a freshly baked roll in your hand and feeling it’s warmth and smell.

Opening up a jar of coffee and letting the aroma fill the room.

Feel

Walking in the snow and catching a snowflake on your face.

Sitting by a log fire and feeling it’s warmth surround you.

None of these are difficult or complicated to experience and can bring a sense of happiness to a monotonous day.

However you choose to look for happiness; I hope your able to achieve happiness, even if it’s only in just a small way with some of my suggestions.

Blog, Chronic illness, Fibromyalgia, Invisible illness

What is an invisible illness?….fibromyalgia

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When I created my blog, one important aspect of this was to raise awareness of Fibromyalgia.  Since being diagnosed 16 years ago, I’ve found, others don’t understand how I could have an ‘invisible illness’. 

 ‘You don’t look ill’….

Is something I often hear. Because it’s is not a visible disability, I look normal and people are sceptical about the validity of it. 

People judge others in a critical way sometimes. If they have no knowledge of friends or family with a chronic illness, like fibromyalgia their understanding is limited.

I may not look in pain. Not all illnesses are visible all the time. If you have suffered from back problems or migraines you would be aware of this.

Fibromyalgia is a real medical condition, which can be referred to as a disability for some.  It causes chronic pain and fatigue throughout the whole body. The pain can be debilitating and constant. Some days it can get better or worse. It is not visible for most sufferers.

You may ask, if you know someone or meet someone with fibromyalgia. What should I do?  Showing them compassion and learning about their symptoms can help a lot. Just taking the time to talk about it with them will make a big difference.

For more information about fibromyalgia look at my other web pages and on the NHS Choices website.

If you’re a Fibromyalgia sufferer like me and are looking for a way to let others know about your invisible illness the following website may be of interest to you.  🌻 

https://hiddendisabilitiesstore.com

Blog

#Rememberance Sunday

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During the two minutes silence on November 11th, I will be thinking about those who have died in conflict, throughout the world.
I have chosen the poem In Flanders fields by John McCrae, for my post this week. It was written in 1915 during the First World War. The poppy was adopted and used by the Royal British Legion for remembrance from this point.

In Flanders Fields

By John McCrae

🌺🌺🌺

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

 The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

🌺🌺🌺

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

 In Flanders fields.

🌺🌺🌺

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

 In Flanders fields.

🌺 🌺 🌺