The ABCs Of Bouncing Back From A Flare
Flares are a part of life when you deal with a chronic illness like Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue. While the flare itself it stressful, sometimes bouncing back from the flare once you feel better can be just as stressful. Rather than trying to jump back into life and catch up on everything you missed while maintaining "normal" levels of activity, take some time to allow yourself to adjust. Remember these ABCs of bouncing back to help you recover.
Accept & Acknowledge
Accept that you are returning from a flare and acknowledge that it will take you a little time to get caught up. Take some time to make a list of what you feel needs to be done. Ask yourself whether the things that you missed really need to be done at all. Once you've made the list take some time to prioritize the list. Don't try to do everything at once, but rather spread them out. Pick the most important thing and do it. If you still have energy do another thing. However, don't keep going to the point that you over-do it and create another flare situation. Do a little each day until you get caught up.
Balance is Key
It's important to keep a balanced life whether you are dealing with a flare or recovering from one. If you are feeling better remember to continue to give yourself some quality time, and not spend all of your energy trying to catch up or "make it up" to others in your life. It's also important to surround yourself with people who understand and listen. Your loved ones should be willing to pitch in and help you get caught up, and you need to feel comfortable asking for their help both during a flare and when you are feeling well. Remember that over-doing it trying to get caught up can send you back into a flare. Balance is key.
Confront Your Feelings
Confront your feelings. We all feel a bit overwhelmed when we look at our "to-do" list and see all that we've put off while we were dealing with pain. We also have a tendency to blame ourselves for the things that didn't get done. We have to learn to confront those negative thoughts and deal with them head on. Recognize that you are overwhelmed and deal with it in a way that works for you. Don't avoid your responsibilities but do remember that you can and should ask for help and that you don't have to do everything.
Deal With Negative Thoughts
If you are having negative thoughts towards yourself, try one of these ideas to help you change your thinking. Journal your thoughts. Sometimes just writing your thoughts down gets them out of your head and allows you to let them go. Review your journal for changes over time and watch your own improvement. If journaling doesn't quite cut the negative thoughts, try "Thought Stopping". Put a rubber band around your wrist, and whenever you find yourself having a negative thought, snap the rubber band. Snapping the rubber band is a re-enforcement against the negative thoughts. But, the next step is just as important. After snapping the rubber band, replace the negative thought with a positive thought. Compliment yourself with how well you have done, or talk to yourself about how much better you are feeling and that it's great that you are even trying to do things.
Recovering from a flare feels great in some ways, but mentally it can be stressful. Deal with the stress by remembering your ABC's. Accept & Acknowledge, Balance, and Confront. Keeping a balance in your life and surrounding yourself with a good support system will not only help you recover from a flare, but may help prevent them.