With the colder weather drawing in, it means darker mornings and evenings. But for some Fibromyalgia sufferers it can mean a few difficult months ahead.
There is ongoing research about the correlation between changes in the weather affecting the pain and fatigue associated with Fibromyalgia. There are people who have Fibromyalgia who are sensitive to the changes in the temperature. I know from my own personal experience after my knee accident that when it is cold my pain and stiffness increases.
At anytime of the year you can struggle with a flare up. A flare up for people who are not aware of Fibromyalgia, is where you experience extreme pain and fatigue compared to usual pain and fatigued days. It can last for days, weeks or even months. It is a difficult time.
Having a Fibromyalgia toolkit for anytime of the year when you experience a flare up will be hugely beneficial. Using a toolkit is something I have learned from the Dorset Pain Clinic programme and how it can help you through a difficult flare up and just bring you some comfort.
A toolkit is basically a storage box of products that will help you, make you feel better and happier during a flare up. I thought the start of the Autumn would be the perfect time to give you ideas on what you should keep in your toolkit. In addition, if you have someone you love in your life living with Fibromyalgia consider setting them one up as a gift or help them to create one.
Photo by Lena Mytchyk on Unsplash
Here are 17 things you could keep in your flare up toolkit:
1. A set of cosy pyjamas
When you are not feeling your best having a set of cosy pyjamas that will be soft on your skin and will make you feel comfortable are a must. You want to feel at your most relaxed. You could also include some cosy socks to keep your feet warm on those colder days.
2. A good book
When pain hits you it can be extremely hard to focus on other things. Choosing a book that has really good vibes can help to take you to another place, where you can focus on the storyline.
When I am having a flare up I spend a lot of time in bed. This almost forces me to focus on a book. I am not going to lie I cannot always focus on reading when I am in pain, but it does help me when I am feeling fatigued.
3. A film that makes you happy
When you read this next point I am sure you had a few films spring to mind and that make you feel happy and smile. Again, this can act as a great distraction to try and make you smile. My go-to feel good films are: You’ve Got Mail, Turner & Hooch, Sliding Doors, Loving Annabelle and 6 Days & 7 Nights are just some that springs to mind. What is one film you would have in your toolkit?
4. Your favourite snacks
When you feel poorly you usually crave the snacky and foods that make you happy and it is the same for when you are going through a flare up! During a flare up it can be a struggle to walk if you are like me and end up being in bed a lot, having snacks near by can be so convenient. What is your favourite snack?
Photo by Theodor Sykes on Unsplash
5. A weighted blanket
From my personal experience a weighted blanket is so beneficial for helping with leg pain and better nights sleep. With a combination of other medication, remedies and weighted blanket I definitely have less bad nights or insomnia. There are a range of weighted blankets so definitely do your research. It is definitely a comforting feeling and aids my relaxation.
6. Warrior Balm by MCC
I discovered MCC around a year and half ago and it is a company run by a couple who have personal experience with Fibromyalgia and chronic pain. This warrior balm is something I have consistently purchased. I massage it into my muscles and joints that hurt and the remedy intensifies if you combine it with a wheatie bag or hot water bottle.
7. A candle
I know this may sound like a strange one but a scent a relaxing environment can help to calm you down when you already are in an intense state. Especially if you are like me and enjoy candles it can also bring you some comfort when you are struggling in a flare up.
8. A notebook and a pen
Journaling is a powerful and effective form of self-care. It can also help you massively when you are dealing with a lot of pain and/or fatigue. Writing your thoughts and feelings on paper can help you work through the mental health struggles that come with consistent pain. Gratitude journaling can help you to focus on the positivity when you are listing everything you are grateful for instead of spending time feeling negative.
9. A wheatie bag or hot water bottle
Having the warmth from a wheatie bag or hot water bottle can help to relax your muscles and to soothe aching joints. If you are someone who is sensitive to the colder weather, sleeping with a wheatie bag or hot water bottle can help you sleep better.
10. Painkillers and remedies
This will not be for everyone and it is something that you should discuss with your doctor. However, if you do take over the counter medication, it is important you have some in your toolkit for when you go into a flare. When I have a flare I can sometimes get really bad migraines, so I use KoolnSoothe strips that stay cool and I always make sure I have a box in my flare up toolkit.
These are just some of the things that I put in my toolkit but you can tailor it to what you like and what helps you during the difficult flare up time. Other things that you could include in your flare up toolkit are:
- Thermal clothing
- Compression gloves
- Epsom bath salts and your favourite bubble bath
- Favourite hot drinks (tea bags, coffee or hot chocolate pouches)
- Your favourite body lotion for massaging sore muscles and joints
- Colouring book and pencils
Do you have a flare up toolkit? Does someone you love have one? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.