For many of us with chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, the wintertime blues is a fact of life. A stormy sky or a sunny day can affect and impact you mood and your ability to get outdoors. Rainy and windy weather can exacerbate pain and other symptoms. Winter is fast approaching and many of us with fibromyalgia wonder if there is anything we can do to avoid getting the wintertime blues.
There are many things you can to keep your fibro symptoms down and your mood up. Consider some of the following suggestions from the National Fibromyalgia Association.
• A sun box or full spectrum lighting in your room can help to boost your mood and your vitamin intake. A timer to turn on the lights before your alarm goes off can help you to awake to a bright room rather than a dark one.
• Staying warm in the winter months will help you to manage pain. A heating mattress, heating pad or electric blanket can help you to stay warm. You can even take a heating pad to work with you or get yourself a portable heater to keep in your work area. Warm baths and showers, hot tubs, extra layers of clothing, gloves, hats, and socks can help to keep you warm at home.
• Watching your weight during the winter months is as equally important as keeping your body warm. During the winter months, many people crave comfort foods, sweets and fatty foods. A change in diet and decreased activity levels leads to weight gain.
• It is also important to stay active the winter months. As you know, exercise is the best way to minimize fibromyalgia symptoms. Most fibro patients have found walking to be the most gentle of exercises but in the winter months, you really don’t want to be out walking in cold and damp weather. Find yourself an exercise regimen you can do at home (such as yoga or Pilates), sign up for a tai chi class, or go to an indoor poor, etc.
• Consider alternative therapies to deal with the increased pain such as massage or physical therapy. Invest in a hand held massager, massage chair cover or an actual massage chair. This is something you can use all year round. If your winter symptoms are debilitating, discuss physical therapy or chiropractic massage options with your doctor.
Now that we are in the winter months, we are all quite aware of the increase in our fibro symptoms, and if you are like me (I also have RA), you expect an increase in symptoms for a second chronic condition. Do you generally see an increase in your fibro symptoms during the winter months? Do you become depressed? What things do you do to keep flare-ups and depressed feelings away or to a minimum? How you plan on remaining active during the winter months?