How to Manage Your Fibromyalgia When Working from Home
Working from home has its pros and cons. Not only does it allow you to skip your daily commute, but it also often gives you the opportunity to plan your day around you, which is ideal for those suffering from fibromyalgia. Whether you find you’re more productive in the morning, or prefer to play it by ear according to your symptoms – remote working allows you to be more flexible with your routine, helping you to keep your stress levels down and your symptoms under control. From taking regular breaks to maintaining a healthy diet, these techniques will help you to manage your fibromyalgia when you’re working from home, keeping you as healthy and happy as possible.
Keep Your Stress Levels Down
One of the biggest triggers of a fibromyalgia flare up is stress, which is why it’s important to keep your stress levels down when you’re working from home. Even if you’ve got an incredibly stressful job, it’s still possible to keep your stress levels within a healthy range and help you to avoid a flare up.
Some of the best ways to keep your stress levels down when you’re working from home include:
- Remove all distractions – from the TV to housework, it’s easy to become distracted when you’re working from home, but distractions will lead to less time to do your work, thus, an increase in stress levels. Therefore, it’s a good idea to remove all possible distractions from your work area to make sure you stay focussed during the day.
- Practice deep breathing – whether you meditate when you get up in the morning, or just practice deep breathing at regular intervals throughout the day, studies have shown that deep breathing for up to 30 minutes a day can help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. This is due to the increased oxygen supply to the brain which stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, resulting in a feeling of calmness and relaxation.
- Ensure you’re getting social interaction – whether you catch up with your family over lunch, or you schedule regular calls with your colleagues, it’s important to ensure you’re getting enough social interaction to help you keep your stress levels in check.
- Set a strict schedule – from planning in regular breaks, to setting strict work hours, it’s important to stick to a schedule to keep your stress levels to a minimum.
If you feel your stress levels rising, it’s important to address the issue and establish the cause. From discussing any issues with your manager, to evaluating and reworking your schedule, it’s important to address any feelings of stress as they arise to ensure they don’t get out of control.
Get Enough Rest
When you’re working from home, you might feel as though you’re getting plenty of rest. After all, you’ve no longer got a stressful daily commute and you don’t have to nip out to your favourite sandwich shop at lunch. However, just because your body might not be moving as much, it’s still important to switch off your mind to give your body a break and avoid a flare up of your symptoms.
If you’re struggling to think of ways to switch off your body and mind, practicing any combination of the following each day will help you to relax and reset your body:
- 10 minutes of meditation
- Wake up and go to bed at the same time each day
- Have regular breaks from screens, such as laptops, phones and TV
- Take a nap during the day if you’re feeling tired
- Don’t work from your bed
- Read a book or magazine
Take Regular Breaks
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they’re working from home is that they don’t schedule in enough breaks. Whether it’s due to the fact that they feel they need to be seen as being productive when they’re working remotely, or their meeting schedule doesn’t allow for it – it can really take its toll on productivity, concentration and stress levels.
If you struggle to take regular breaks when you’re working from home, then the Pomodoro Technique might be able help you. The time management technique encourages you to break up your working day into 25 minute slots, each one followed by a five minute break. After four Pomodoros, you should take a 20 minute break from your work, helping to keep your productivity levels high and your stress levels low.
Activate Your Muscles
When you’re working from home it’s incredibly important to ensure you’re activating your muscles on a regular basis to help keep stiffness at bay – especially if you’re sitting down for a prolonged period of time.
Although you may not always feel like exercising, regular strolls and gentle stretching can help to keep your muscles activated, helping you to keep your symptoms at bay. You should base your activity levels around your symptoms, keeping it short and light on the days when your symptoms are worse, and slightly increasing the intensity on your better days. Some of the best exercise for fibromyalgia include:
- Low-intensity cycling
- Light stretching
So whether you start your day with a few light stretches and end with a short, relaxing walk, or head out on your bike during your lunch hour – it’s important to keep your muscles activated when you’re working from home to help you keep your fibromyalgia symptoms under control as much as possible.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
As tempting as it may be, working from home isn’t an excuse to raid the fridge every few minutes – and it certainly won’t help your fibromyalgia. When you’re working remotely it’s important to maintain a healthy diet. Not only can a healthy diet can contribute to a healthy mental state, helping to reduce feelings of depression and anxiety, but the foods you eat can also help you to manage your condition.
Some of the best foods to include in your diet include:
- Antioxidant-rich foods, such as dark chocolate and berries
- Plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Omega-3 fatty acids from fish and seeds
- High energy foods to reduce fatigue
- Gluten free grains, such as quinoa and buckwheat
From starting your day with high-energy porridge topped with seeds, to enjoying a healthy, brain-boosting tuna salad for lunch, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet to help you to manage your fibromyalgia.
So whether you’re working from home as a temporary measure, or you’re a full-time remote worker – these tips will help you to manage your symptoms, remain productive and, most importantly, keep you happy and healthy at work.
We do not endorse any research, studies or sources mentioned within our blogs and comments. Furthermore, we do not endorse any medical advice provided, and would strongly recommend anyone seeking medical advice to contact their local healthcare provider.