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Fibromyalgia Coping Tip: Do Things You Enjoy

This can be tricky if you are already limiting your activities. “People with fibromyalgia often have difficulty scheduling pleasurable events,” Jones tells WebMD. “Because they use their energy to do things for others, when it comes time to do something enjoyable for themselves, they are often too exhausted.”

But finding and doing things you enjoy can make a big difference in your quality of life. “Doing things that make you feel good can ultimately make you feel better,” Matallana says. Things as simple as taking a warm bath, reading a book, or visiting with friends can lift your spirits.

Don’t always avoid enjoyable events because you’re concerned about fatigue or pain. For example, sometimes you might choose to go to a party knowing it may cause a flare-up of your symptoms the next day.

“For many people, going out every once in a while is important enough to their emotional well-being that it’s worth it,” says William Collinge, PhD, MPH, a psychotherapist and health consultant based in Kittery, Maine. “On these occasions, you can plan ahead and allow yourself to spend the next day in bed or relaxing if you have to.”

Take the same approach when it comes to family vacations or other outings. For example, plan to take a day off before your vacation, and then another day or two after to recover.

Fibromyalgia: Get Enough Sleep

Being well rested is another important way to take care of yourself. Many people with fibromyalgia have difficulty sleeping, which can make symptoms worse. “Poor quality of sleep impairs the body’s ability to recuperate,” Collinge says. “So anything you can do to improve your quality of sleep will help you feel better.”

Collinge recommends these tips to make sure your body is getting the rest it needs:

  • Go to bed early and get up early. You can experiment with what time works best for you, but aim for a bedtime of no later than 10 p.m. and try to wake up around 6 a.m. 
  • Take a nap in the afternoon. The trick is to get enough of a nap to help you feel refreshed, but to not sleep so long that you’ll affect your sleep that night. A 20- to 30-minute nap works well for most people. Setting an alarm will help ensure you don’t oversleep.
  • Eat dinner a few hours before bedtime. Ideally, plan dinner around 5 or 6 p.m. This will help ensure that your body isn’t still digesting food when you’re trying to sleep. You can also try eating your heaviest meal at mid-day and having a lighter meal at dinnertime.

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