Honoring Your Body: Practical Advice, Part 1

June 16, 2011

Bilbo Baggins quote

J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Fellowship of the Ring”

In my healing journey, I’ve found lots of info on why I should honor my body and many ideas on ways to do it. Sadly, I haven’t found as many day-to-day tips for how to live with fibromyalgia. Below are some of the things that have made life easier for me, things I wish I’d heard when I was first diagnosed.

The articles, First Commandment of Healing… and Honoring Your Body: Getting to Know YOU , both lay ground work for this article. Read them and do the exercises to discover the best ways to honor your body.

Rhythm
We all need a pattern of activity and rest. I schedule my errands and appointments on Wednesdays. It’s my “running around” day. Thursday, I don’t schedule any appointments and leave it as a day for working in my office. This helps me feel less fatigue than if I had activities on both days.

Too often, I see my clients have activities spread throughout the entire week. It reminds me of what Bilbo said, “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter, scraped over too much bread.” By having a pattern of activity and rest, just like waking and sleeping, we have time for our bodies and spirits to recover; ultimately, we accomplish more.

I’ve also analyzed what my best time of the day is and do my best to schedule my activities around that. Certain things I schedule into the times when my energy and brain clarity are the best. These may be appointments, creative time, reading, or networking; often, however, it’s a date with my husband. I don’t leave Scott with “leftovers” all the time!

If you want to get well, you’ll want to plan your rhythm so that you can still enjoy your life. Be sure to schedule some of your favorite activities into your best times of the day.

This is good for both you and your family. It will keep you from feeling like such a prisoner to your illness and keep your family from feeling like they’ve lost you. This may mean saying no to things you want to do so that you can say yes to what you really want to do.

Calendars & Scheduling
Another thing I realized was that scheduling everything with my iPhone led me to overbook myself. On the iPhone, the month view only shows a dot if something is scheduled. The view that shows what you’ve got scheduled only shows one day at a time. (Scott does tell me the new iOS 5 will add a week view. Yay!)

Basically, I realized that I need to see a whole month at a time when I book my appointments; I need to see The Big Picture. However, with my fibro fog, I still need the electronic reminders that my iPhone gives me to remind me when my appointments are.

This was especially true when my fibromyalgia was at it’s worst. At one point, I was only booking one appointment a week to manage my energy. Any more than that and I was too wiped out and in too much pain to enjoy my family.

Tami's system for scheduling appointmentsMy perfected system is a combo of a small monthly calendar for scheduling my appointments, where I can see the whole landscape of my time, and my iPhone for reminding me when to go to those appointments. Every few days, I sit down with the calendar and make sure all of my commitments are in my phone with the appropriate reminder alarms.

If this last step is a hard one for you to remember, or if you want to delegate and save your energy, maybe you can have a support person do it for you. Lots of times they’re asking us how they can help and we say, “You can’t.” Keeping your calendars in sync is something they can do.

I’ve also changed how tightly I schedule my appointments. At first, I didn’t worry about the ones that were already booked; I just scheduled the new appointments at better times, giving myself more time to transition between activities and get to my appointments.

With fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, we don’t always move as fast or think as clearly as we once did. By having more transition time, we give ourselves time to change gears, get our bodies moving, even get a little bit lost on the way, and still arrive on time — calm, cool, and collected!

Timers
Whether it’s fibro fog or just my behavioral style, I easily lose track of time. This is a huge part of why it’s so easy for me to miss going to bed on time or forget to take breaks when I’m working on a project. A big help for me is using a timer.

I love timers! In fact, I’m using one right now to remind me that I have a phone call to make. I know I’ll get working on sharing all this good stuff with you and totally forget about that call. :)

I use the timers on my phone and at my desk to remind me:

Pampered Chef Clock/Timer

At my desk, I love using my Pampered Chef Clock/Timer!

  • when to eat again.
  • when to drink more water.
  • when to take my supplements and medications.
  • when to give Mr. Bear (my cat) his medications.
  • when it’s almost time to go to bed.
  • when it’s actually time to go to bed.
  • when to take a break from working.
  • when it’s time to get ready for an appointment.
  • when it’s actually time to leave for an appointment.

There are just so many uses; timers can be a major lifesaver! (Ah, there goes my timer! Time to make that call…)

Action Steps
What have you identified, either from your Book of You or from this list that excites your spirit? Which way to honor your body will be the easiest to incorporate into your everyday life? Which will bring the biggest change if you make it a regular habit? I’d love it if you shared some of your insights here!

TPF June 16, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Great article, full of helpful information! Looking forward to part II.

Tami June 16, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Folks should check out your website for more practical advice. There’s great stuff there, too! =)

Kathy Bricco June 21, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Great ideas, Tami, even for those of us who are trying to manage busy lives even without chronic illnesses. I must get a timer for my desk! On keeping calendars in sync – that is something someone else could do, but in our family we go on “Date Dates”. Wayne and I gather up all our various calendars and go to a fun restaurant or coffee shop and sync our calendars. It adds a fun element to the task. We also try to add in a few other dates to do something fun without the calendars.

Jara Halfen June 18, 2017 at 2:22 pm

The idea of Rhythm is so important to all of us. It reminds me of the importance of knowing our bodies and our minds well enough to know when we are at our peak. Also, love the idea of scheduling some of your favorite activities into the best part of your day; life needs to be joyful and not always so rigid that only the tasks at hand are getting done.

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