If you suffer from fibromyalgia, you will be more than familiar with the debilitating effect chronic pain, tenderness and fatigue has on your body. For people who aren’t sufferers, getting up and making their way to work is a simple process. For sufferers of fibromyalgia getting to work can be onerous, to say the least. Once at work, all your effort goes into being productive. You have nothing left over for the other activities in your life.
If you are struggling to work with fibromyalgia, the good news is that there are ways of coping and life can be more than thea metaphoric mountain you climb just to get there and stay.
The first suggestion is that you take notes of all the activities you engage in on a daily basis and record how you are feeling every 15 minutes. This way you have a record of the tasks you undertake and the way you felt while performing them. A pattern will develop that shows what takes the most out of you and why.
Make your space work for you
Have a look at your workspace and think about how you can utilise it to expend less energy. They may be some distractions in your direct space that are causing you difficulty. The lights may be too bright or you may be located too far from facilities that your need to access more easily.
Are you always on the phone? If so, would headphones help you rest while on calls? You may use up less energy by not having to pick up and hold your phone continuously. Better or more padded shoes might help you to get to and from work and around the workplace. Foot rests and ergonomic seating and furniture can all help to make your workspace conducive to greater productivity.
Plan your day
Referring back to the records you’ve been accumulating will help you to prioritise your day. For instance, if you have seen a pattern associated with a familiar task that would be best done when you have the most energy, then you might need to attend to that as the first thing you do in the morning.
It’s important not to set yourself up for a fibromyalgia flare. That can occur when you are particularly stressed. Give yourself plenty of time to do things. Get breaks between each task and pick up on the warning signs. If it’s too much then slow down.
Be transparent with your colleagues
If you have fibromyalgia it is very likely that you will need time away from your desk of a daytime and occasionally some time off work. This time will be required because your energy levels are so low and because you will need to see your fibromyalgia doctor.
By being transparent, your colleagues will not be able to make false assumptions. Explain fibromyalgia to them. Let them know how debilitating it can be and inform them that you work really hard at making sure that it doesn’t interfere with your performance at work. There could be bad days and you might, on those days, need to provide an explanation for why you are a bit less able to cope.
Dr Dobie has studied anti-ageing medicine in the United States and is board-certified with the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M).
Dr Peter Dobie takes a holistic approach to treating chronic illness, and fibromyalgia treatment in Sydney. As well as providing preventive medical care. Dr Dobie has clinics in Bondi and Pymble and he treats a variety of complex and chronic illnesses.