Published: Mar 31, 2023
Written by: Kelsey

Living with Fibromyalgia As a Woman in Your 40’s

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Tips for Developing a Daily Routine to Manage Symptoms

As a woman in my 40s living with fibromyalgia, I know how difficult it can be to manage the symptoms of this condition on a daily basis. The struggle is real but there are ways to make life a bit easier, and I’m here to help you find them. Moderate exercise tailored specifically to build strength and endurance levels is key, as well as relaxation methods such as meditation or mindfulness training. Getting adequate restorative sleep each night is another important factor that cannot be overlooked. Eating nutritious meals that support good health rather than exacerbating pain levels due to inflammation-inducing foods also plays an essential role in managing fibromyalgia symptoms. Finally, stress management techniques such as yoga, deep breathing exercises or art therapy can help reduce flare-ups and support overall well-being. Let’s break it down a little and get a bit clinical…

What is Fibromyalgia, and what are some of the symptoms?

Fibromyalgia is a condition that affects millions of people across the world, especially women over 40 years old, causing a debilitating chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal physical pain, fatigue, disturbed sleep patterns, cognitive difficulties, headaches, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), memory problems, mood issues, difficulty concentrating (also known as “fibro fog”) and other symptoms that can make daily life difficult to manage if left untreated or unaddressed.

In addition to this, we often feel tenderness where pressure is applied at certain points around our bodies, depression, anxiety, frequent urination, numbness/tingling sensations in our extremities, sensitivity to heat/cold/noise, dizziness, nausea, and vision changes. All of these are because of increased levels of nerve stimulation in our Central Nervous System.

Although managing fibromyalgia can be difficult at times, it is possible to live YOUR best life despite its challenges. I hope this blog post will help you understand what fibromyalgia is and how you can develop an effective daily routine for managing your symptoms. This will help reduce flare-ups from the symptoms and let you focus on taking good care of yourself.

DON’T! Forget checking in with your doctor for treatments and advice for managing flare-ups and other associated symptoms of fibromyalgia. Living with fibromyalgia may seem daunting, but remember that you are not alone in this journey. Don’t hesitate to reach out for support when needed.

Diagnosis and What to Expect:

Diagnosis SUCKS! It takes forever, and once you get the diagnosis, you are relieved that you are finally being heard and not just told there is nothing wrong with you… And then you realize the full extent of that diagnosis and that there is no cure, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of illness. You then go from happy to finally realizing life won’t be the same… It takes a while to come to terms with the NEW YOU, and now you need to figure out what that looks like and how to manage your symptoms. But before we get into that, here is the clinical process of how fibromyalgia is typically diagnosed after ruling out other possible causes of the patient’s symptoms. Doctors use scores on tests such as the Widespread Pain Index or Symptom Severity Scale to diagnose the disorder. Diagnosing fibromyalgia involves an extensive review process that uses patient history, family medical history, and physical exams to identify areas affected by the condition before formulating an appropriate treatment plan geared toward reducing symptom severity over time through medication management (over-the-counter or prescription) and lifestyle modifications.

As women in our 40s, we face unique challenges when it comes to managing our symptoms. The onset of peri-menopause can make the physical and psychological issues associated with fibromyalgia even more difficult to manage. It’s important for me to prioritize overall health and well-being as part of my treatment plan. That being said, having the love and support of family members and friends makes it easier to cope with fibromyalgia over time. It’s comforting to know that I don’t have to face this condition alone, even if it feels lonely at times. Only we truly know how it feels to go through what we go through and the toll it takes on our body and mind, but having someone try to understand and be there even when they don’t, goes a loooong way!

I am grateful for their understanding and encouragement as I work towards living a healthier life. I am also grateful for the medical professionals and support groups available to help me to help manage my condition. Through MUCH trial and error, I’ve learned some strategies that make it easier to cope with my symptoms on a daily basis. I drink plenty of fluids, get adequate sleep, and strive to keep up a healthy lifestyle. I also use relaxation techniques, yoga, and art therapy when symptoms become too overwhelming. In addition to the physical aspects, taking care of my emotional health is just as important for managing my symptoms, and I see a counsellor monthly to help keep my mind strong. I know many people out there who have fibromyalgia also struggle financially, so some resources feel like they are not an option for you.

In this blog post, most of the recommendations are free. There are many apps that can help, or if there isn’t an app then there should be a free resource for low-income households in your area.

The struggle REAL folks!

Fibro-Flare, what we all dread and often hits us out of nowhere!

Benefits of Developing a Daily Routine

Although it can be challenging to manage all aspects of one’s life while dealing with fibromyalgia at any age—the benefits are worth it! By creating an effective daily routine designed specifically around managing fibromyalgia symptoms effectively — women in their forties living with this chronic illness can enjoy greater mobility, less frequent flare-ups, improved mental agility, better quality sleep, improved energy levels overall — plus many other positive effects from developing a personalized wellness plan.

Here are some coping strategies for women in their 40s living with fibro:

FIRST RECOMMENDATION – READ “The Fibro Manual” by Dr. Ginevra Liptan MD [CLICK HERE] You can get it on Amazon – no affiliate link here just a strong belief in this book as it changed my life and gave me a sense of control again.

1. Exercise – Building Strength and Endurance:

Regular exercise can help reduce pain associated with fibro flare-ups while increasing strength and endurance levels over time. Gentle activities like walking or swimming are great starting points since they won’t put too much strain on muscles that already hurt from fibro flare-ups. Yoga and tai chi are also good options because they combine gentle movements with breathing exercises, which help relax tense muscles.

In my regular exercise routine, I include some strengthening exercises that are given to me by my Kinesiologist (which is covered under my pain specialist – look into a pain specialist that has other resources in their clinic), which I will either do in one session or sometimes I will break it up and fit in different exercises throughout the day. For example, I have an exercise band that I will wear around my thighs in the house, so when I am walking, it adds resistance to my walk. Going to the kitchen? Why not do lunges on the way there? Just brushed your teeth? Use the counter to do some simple push-ups… adding it in little increments makes it more attainable when feeling overwhelmed. I also incorporate yoga into my routine, which keeps me strong and flexible. Swimming is a great option if you are not sensitive to chlorine. I cannot do it as often as I would like, as I am sensitive, but whenever I take the kids swimming, you will see me doing my exercises in the water!

2. Relaxation Techniques like Meditation, Mindfulness or Art Therapy:

Taking time each day to practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, mindfulness, or art therapy can help reduce stress levels, which can worsen the symptoms of fibro flare-ups. Setting aside even 10 minutes each day for deep breathing, guided imagery, guided meditation, or quick art journaling can help create an overall sense of calmness throughout the day. Many people think that they can’t meditate, which is untrue. Traditionally, meditation is thought of as the person being still and clearing your mind 100%, but that is not the case! True meditation is finding a quiet place to sit, lie, stand, or whatever position resonates with you and focus. Set an intention or mantra for your meditation and repeat it if any other thoughts come into your mind (and they will!!). Just notice them gently and file them away for later). I found the best way to start is by listening to a guided meditation; many free apps are available that are great. Start with a body scan meditation, then move from there and do what feels right. Maybe you are feeling extra tired one day; try meditation for energy. Is anxiety high? Listening to a stress-reducing meditation can really help bring things down a notch. By continuing to practice meditation, you will feel more and more comfortable doing it and will train your body to get out of the constant fight-or-flight mode it is stuck in! Another great way to promote relaxation and relieve stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, pain, and so much more is to Art Journal or Art Therapy. The best part is you don’t need to be an artist or even feel like you are creative to benefit from it! Art Therapy has helped me in so many ways. It is often where I go when the pain is too much, or EVERYTHING is just too much, and it brings me back and grounds me.

3. Restorative Sleep:

Getting adequate restful sleep each night helps keep our bodies functioning properly so that we don’t experience excessive fatigue during times of high activity or stress. People living with fibro should aim for 8 hours of quality sleep each night by developing healthy sleep habits such as avoiding caffeine late at night, exercising regularly during the daytime, and setting up a relaxing bedtime routine before bed, etc. I like to turn off electronics at least an hour before bedtime and practice relaxing activities before bed; they help prepare the body for sleep. This is a great time to journal, do some light stretching yoga, crosswords, read, or anything that keeps your mind calm and less stimulated. Get a watch that can track the different stages of sleep so you can learn which part of your sleep is impaired. This, paired with any medications you and your doctor have decided upon, should help you work toward restful sleep. It will take time to find the right combination, but be strong and keep trying; you will get there!

4. Proper Nutrition:

Eating healthy foods rich in antioxidants helps keep our bodies strong against inflammation caused by free radicals, which can lead to increased pain levels during times of stress or activity. Many people diagnosed with fibromyalgia are sensitive to gluten and dairy; consuming it can worsen their pain and other symptoms. If you are unsure, you may want to do an elimination diet to see what works for you and what doesn’t. I recommend starting with the [FodMap Diet] and going from there. It isn’t easy, but it is worth it in the long run. Seeing how much our bodies react to certain foods in ways other than tummy upset is amazing.

5. Pacing Activities throughout the Day:

All of us living with fibro should practice pacing activities throughout the day so that we don’t overexert ourselves too quickly, leading up to an episode of severe fatigue or pain. I have learned this lesson many times and still have to remind myself of this one. This means planning out tasks ahead of time so that you know exactly how much energy you need to expend on certain activities without pushing yourself too hard. It also means taking regular breaks throughout the day so your body has time to rest before starting another task. Easier said than done…especially if you are a mom!

A daily routine tailored to manage your symptoms can make all the difference when living with fibromyalgia in your 40s as a woman! By engaging regularly in exercise tailored towards strengthening muscles affected by flares up; practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation and art therapy; getting restorative sleep; following proper nutrition guidelines; pacing yourself throughout each day; avoiding excessive amounts of caffeine; setting up calming bedtime routines; managing stress levels through mindful practices; you will be able to set yourself up for success when it comes to minimizing your symptoms! With proper self-care regimens tailored towards individual needs based on diagnosis results, people living with invisible illnesses like Fibromyalgia have hope of leading fuller lives!

Yoga can be a great choice if you are looking for ways to live a positive and healthy life while managing fibromyalgia! Yoga helps you increase flexibility and strength while creating a calming environment and relieving stress. It’s important to start slowly with a manageable routine that feels easy — there’s no competition here, so listen to your own body and move at your own speed. You’ll find that regardless of flexibility or baseline strength, anyone can do it — even if you have never practiced yoga before. With some practice, you can make this routine fun and inviting — perfect for leading your best life. You can find many free apps with yoga routines, or click this link for [CLICK HERE] and you will find a big assortment of FREE videos to choose from.

And finally, we know better than anyone how tough it can be to prioritize self-care. Some days, the pain and exhaustion may feel overwhelming, and you might wonder whether all your efforts are in vain. But here’s the truth: You are not meant to be perfect, nor is your journey with fibro. It’s normal to feel frustrated and throw in the towel from time to time. What matters most is that you keep going with patience, determination, and self-compassion.

Remember, you are a Fibro Warrior! You may have to adjust your self-care routine and treatment plan as you go, but that doesn’t mean you’re failing. It simply means you’re human, and that’s okay. Give yourself permission to take a break when needed, and don’t beat yourself up for it. You are strong, resilient, and capable of rising up again and again, no matter how many times fibromyalgia knocks you down.

So the next time you feel discouraged or overwhelmed, remind yourself of this: You are a warrior, and you’ve got this. Keep fighting, keep learning, and keep moving forward. You’ve got a whole community of fibro fighters by your side, cheering you on every step of the way!

Can’t wait to meet you in Art Journaling!

Talk soon,

Kels

DR; The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-physician relationship as I am not a doctor and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

Please consult your healthcare provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. Beautifully Broken Creations by Kelsey Bornyk Art expressly disclaims responsibility and shall have no liability for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site.

By visiting this site, you agree to these terms and conditions, which may, from time to time be changed or supplemented by Beautifully Broken Creations by Kelsey Bornyk Art. If you do not agree to the foregoing terms and conditions, you should not enter this site.

Written by Kelsey Bornyk

My name is Kelsey Bornyk, and I am an artist, creator, chronic illness warrior, and coach who helps:

Guide female entrepreneurs to create calm, clarity and success in their business.

Transform challenges, break through barriers, and step into your power.

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