The stress of dealing with chronic, widepread pain means that about 20 percent of fibromyagia patients suffer from anxiety and depression:
About 20 percent who live with this chronic pain also suffer from an anxiety disorder or depression. Fibromyalgia and its connection to these illnesses should not be ignored.—Anxiety and Depression Association of America
Even without fibromyalgia, even if anxiety or depression hardly presents a problem for any reason, the holidays worsen moods. That’s because of
- money woes
- marriage woes
- divorce and custody woes
- revisiting past regrets
- relentless forced cheer
- sensory overload.
These issues combine to make all the glittering lights look like one dark shadow of gloom. That’s no good, and that’s why we’ve put together some tips to help manage any anxiety or depression issues that put a damper on the holidays. They aren’t going to cure anxiety or depression nor are the tips meant to replace medication. But they do increase your chances of a better holiday. Follow FibroDaily’s tips to keep the holidays magical!
Exercise and Diet
One of the best ways to handle anxiety or depression comes from staying physically active. Sweating. The old get up and GO.
I know you’re tired of hearing that and I’m tired of typing that. There. But it can’t be stressed enough: people suffering from fibromyalgia, anxiety, and depression need to move a lot and in addition to that, perform an exercise routine.
Not everyone commands the same level of dexterity, but think about this: People involved in serious accidents as well as soldiers suffering traumatic injuries receive intensive physical therapy and follow exercise routines. Some even undertake it on their own:
Exercise strengthens your
- cardio capability
- muscles and joints
- mind and mood
- keep your doctor informed
- build up to the movement
- change the dynmaics to stay challenged
- maintain patience
Just moving about day to day—carrying groceries, cleaning, walking the dog— releases certain hormones that stimulate a positive mindset. It’s not a cure, but the movement helps. Add in a regular workout session, and the results will astound.
Keys elements for success:
Or at least maintain enough patience to watch another video about maintaining patience when starting an exercise routine:
Additionally, keeping your weight down improves your self-image which in turn improves your mood as well as issues like anxiety and depression. However, we need to take a closer look at weight loss.
Many people think that exercise keeps off weight or causes weight loss. While it does help do both, weight loss occurs primarily at the table, whether the table is in your own house, a friend’s house, or a restaurant.
Speak to your doctor about starting a healthy diet to determine what works for you from a medical standpoint. Steer clear of fad diets. Opt for eating healthy foods you enjoy and will stick with longterm. Take the time to research how to eat for special occasions or how to use a streamlined, daily method of eating so that you can enjoy a variety of foods without blowing your healthy routine.
If you eat your way through holiday anxiety and depression, then you wind-up feeling worse with even more problems to fix due to health and weight problems. Take some measure of control by exercising and eating right.
Meditation and Breathing
The ancient practice of meditation provides benefits that help manage anxiety and depression. YouTube offers many such videos for free. Spend time finding a meditation guide that you like then set aside time to practice each day.
And stick to it! Meditation provides ways to clarify muddy thinking, fear, and hopelessness.
Breathing plays an important role in meditation. You can always place your hand on your stomach and breathe into your hand when you’re in public or at a holiday function that causes distress. This causes your stomach to move in and out rather than up and down, promoting relaxtion of both the body and the mind.
Maybe you don’t want to celebrate with family because you’d rather go on vacation. Maybe shopping gives you sensory overload. Maybe you can’t stand Uncle Don and Aunt Lacy’s cooking. Maybe you hate Christmas carols or spinning dreidels. Maybe the work involved in this time of year overwhelms you into a fibro flare and crippling pain. Maybe the fire that your relatives insist on making causes your body to feel like it’s being compressed into the world’s tiniest oven. Maybe you just find the holidays tacky.
Ask for help with the errands and set limits about noise, lights, and the temperature. You have fibromyalgia. Depression and anxiety make it worse. Help from loved ones makes all the holiday chores and shopping easier to handle.
Whatever makes you cringe this season, consider if there’s a way to be honest about it. And if there’s not, then be honest with yourself and find a way to deal. Maybe that means only eating dessert at Uncle Don and Aunt Lucy’s; maybe you make a pact with yourself to tell everyone about your Christmas vacation plans for 2017.
And no, they can’t join you.
If unable to afford gifts, don’t keep up with the Joneses by blowing out your credit cards. Offer to cook treats or do other things that make you feel like you’re participting in the season’s activities without impairing your fibromyalgia or credit rating. Make a pact to keep gifts under a certain amount or to exchange vouchers for household chores. These options ease the stress that results in fibro flares and other fibor problems. They also ease anxiety or depression.
Anxiety and depression require the treatment of a doctor. If your doctor doesn’t know you suffer from either, it’s time to make him or her aware. The sooner the better so make the call today and if it’s too late to call today, call the first thing tomorrow.
Avoid self-medicating your moods, whether with alcohol or drugs. If you need help with addiction in the U.S., tell your doctor, or start with the Addiction Center or AA or another reputable source. In other countries, speak with your doctor or start with In the Rooms.
If anxiety or depression has gotten so bad you are considering suicide, please reach out to your doctor or another trusted adult. In the U.S., you contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 1-800-273-8255; in other countries, check out this link.
Do not increase or decrease any medication your take for anxiety or depression Without a doctor’s help. Doing so could cause serious damage to your health or even death. Always inform your doctor of any medication/routine changes you make, even if you think you’ve found a better way to treat yourself. A professional commands knowledge about withdrawal and other important factors.
Things can be so tough, but here at FibroDaily, we want you to pull through and find peace.
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