If you have fibromyalgia, you know that life is 10 times harder. The complex chronic pain disorder affects every part of your day. You’re tired, achy and can’t think straight. So how can you cope? From exercising to herbs and supplements, here are 7 ways to tame symptoms…
It’s bad enough that you have fibromyalgia, a painful, puzzling disorder.
What’s worse is that every symptom – from brain fog to pain, fatigue and depression – hurts not only yourself but also your relationships, work life and physical, emotional and mental health.
There’s no cure, which means you just have to learn to live with fibromyalgia pain and take steps to ease its symptoms1.
Stress may trigger fibromyalgia symptoms. Minimizing stress can improve your quality of life. Some proven stress busters are yoga, exercise, sleep, and meditation. Breathing deeply and exhaling slowly can also help. Or keep in mind activities that you enjoy or that make you feel better. When stress strikes, do one or two of them2.
Often, you can avoid fatigue flares altogether by preemptively giving yourself breaks. This means allowing for time to rest throughout the day, whether it’s lying down for a nap or taking moments throughout the day to pause and meditate. Try to plan for one day off each week where you do nothing but focus on self-care: sleep late, take a warm bath, and curl up with your favorite blanket and a book or favorite TV show. By scheduling regular down time, you can reserve your strength and have more energy for activities the rest of the week.
Rehydrate to improve your energy when fatigue takes over
Hydration is one of the first things you can do to help decrease fibromyalgia fatigue. Dehydration has been connected to increased levels of fatigue in those with chronic illnesses, along with many other symptoms common to fibromyalgia, like weakness and confusion. Hydration is about more than just drinking water or liquids; it’s about maintaining proper levels of electrolytes. Many online or health stores carry electrolyte powders, which you can add to water or any preferred beverage to help improve your hydration. If you’re experiencing frequent dehydration, talk to your doctor about other ways to balance your electrolytes and stay properly hydrated.
Maintain good sleep habits to improve energy and decrease fatigue
Lack of quality sleep has been linked to many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia, including fatigue. When you live with fibromyalgia, it often feels like you are always tired during the day but wide awake at night, making it difficult to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. However, as with many conditions, the symptoms of fibromyalgia are made worse with poor sleep. Stick to good sleep habits like going to bed and waking up on a regular schedule, keeping your room cool and dark, and limiting screen time right before bed. If you’re still not getting a good night’s sleep, talk to your doctor about possible sleep disorders and ways to find relief3.
Fibromyalgia often disrupts sleep due to pain, restless legs syndrome, or other reasons. Try to set a sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day and avoiding naps. Develop a relaxing bedtime routine — maybe reading and a warm bath. And make your bedroom conducive to sleep by keeping it dark, cool, and free of distractions like TV and computers. This is called practicing sleep hygiene4.
Minimize interactions when you feel fatigued to maintain the energy you have
On days when fatigue is overwhelming, even simple interactions with other people can drain what little energy you do have. When fatigue takes over, your mood can take a turn for the worse; you are quicker to react and have less patience with people. On days like these, try to stay home and rest, and limit your interactions with people as much as possible—even online. You may find it re-energizing to find a nice, quiet space in your home where you can rest and focus on feeling better.
Don’t give into sugar and carb cravings when you are feeling fatigued
On days when the fatigue of fibromyalgia takes over, you may find comfort in food, particularly those high in carbs, fat and sugar. They may taste good in the moment, but these foods are more likely to lead to a crash—making your fatigue even worse. Instead, eating a healthy diet rich in protein and vitamins helps keep your blood sugar even, avoiding spikes and crashes that leave you feeling tired. Fill your plate with lean meats, high-fiber fruits, and nutrient-rich vegetables to fuel your body and give you the most energy possible to push through the day.
It can be hard, sometimes, to cope with the overwhelming restrictions that come with fatigue, but keeping healthy habits, a tight sleeping schedule, and drinking a lot of water can help one cause a lot.
 “7 Ways to Ease Fibromyalgia Pain and Fatigue.” Everyday Health. 17 November, 2017.
 “12 Tips for Coping With Fibromyalgia.” WebMD.
 “8 Tips for Minimizing Fatigue with Fibromyalgia.” Healthgrades. 8 August, 2018.
 “9 Things You Can Do to Avoid Fibromyalgia Pain and Fatigue.” WebMD.