Stress is unavoidable in today’s world, and stress can worsen fibromyalgia symptoms. It’s essential to learn how to relieve stress through various techniques. Here are five must-have items for relaxation in order to better manage your stress and fibromyalgia symptoms.
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How Stress Affects the Body with Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is a typical symptom of and – in some cases like mine – the cause of fibromyalgia. Typically, chronic pain and stress have an unhealthy relationship meaning one usually exists because of the other. It’s a nasty little cycle of chronic pain that causes stress and stress causes chronic pain. It’s similar to the fibromyalgia sleep cycle.
According to the publication, The impact of stress on body function: A review, the effects of stress on the nervous system have been studied for over fifty years and is known as “any intrinsic or extrinsic stimulus that evokes a biological response”. These studies over the decades have revealed that stress can actually cause structural changes in the various parts of the brain, and chronic stress can have long-term effects on various parts of the body.
The body systems stress effects also include:
Stress can affect the immune system’s function when stress mediators pass through the blood-brain barrier. The cardiovascular system’s function is also impacted by stress by causing autonomic nervous system activation which leads to the activation of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
The symptoms of these effects of those systems include:
- cognition and learning
- increase heart rate
- increase blood pressure
- loss of appetite
- slows down digestion
- increase of inflammation of the digestive tract
- negative impact on the release of hormones
- shortness of breath
- rapid breathing
- a decline in sex drive
- a decrease in sperm production
- irregular menstrual cycles
- lower ability to conceive
Other side effects include:
- muscle pain, tightness or soreness
- inflammation of the joints
- worsen existing skin conditions
- increase depression and anxiety
Ways to Relieve Stress
There are various ways to relieve stress and it doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time. Some of these include:
- Regular physical exercise
- Healthy sleep hygiene such as quality sleep
- Get a massage
- Use essential oils
- Soak in a warm bath
- Drink a cup of tea (here’s my favorite tea)
- Listen to music
- Eat some dark chocolate
- Hug someone
- Controlled breathing
5 Must-Have Items for Relaxation
Aside from the previously listed ways to reduce stress, they are some gadgets and other nifty items for relaxation. These are listed in no particular order.
Music has a positive effect on the body and can be linked to increased happiness, energy, and alertness. It also has the ability to calm, heal, and reduce stress. (You can read more about music and it’s the direct link on health in the article Music and Health by Harvard Health Publishing at Harvard Medical School.) One of my favorite ways to listen to music is Prime Music is with my Echo Dot from Amazon. Join Amazon Prime Music – The Only Music Streaming Service with Free 2-day Shipping – 30-day Free Trial
I was surprised (and thrilled) to see they have one for kids! My kids have been wanting one in their rooms ever since I received three Echo Dots for Christmas. I have one in my room, the upstairs hallway (so I can talk to the kids upstairs from the kitchen/living room), and kitchen. They love the ability to speak to me from pretty much anywhere in the house (except their rooms which is why they want one) and the added bonus of listening to music, too.
The kid’s version is the Alexa kid-friendly version. It comes with 1 year of FreeTime Unlimited, over 1000 Audible books for kids, songs, and games. Kids can control lights, plugs, switches and more with compatible connected devices. It can also link to Amazon Music, Apple Music, and Spotify and will automatically filter explicit songs. It also includes parental controls. It comes in green, blue, red and RAINBOW!
Check out these skins for the Kids’ Echo, too!
Diffusers use essential oils as aromatherapy by releasing the smells of essential oils. Diffusers do not use heat as heat can break down the beneficial components of essential oils. The types of diffusers are fan, nebulizing, evaporative, and ultrasonic. Diffusers use essential oils to promote good sleep, eliminates odor, reduce stress, and more.
Himalayan Salt Lamp
Himalayan salt lamps are big chunks of pink Himalayan salt and used as both decorative lights and health benefits. The benefits of salt lamps include cleaning the air, soothing allergies, boosting mood and more. Read more about these lamps and how they work.
Soaking in a bath can soothe sore muscles and help ease stress throughout your body. However, laying in a bath can also put a strain on your neck. To get the ultimate relaxation while enjoying the warm comfort of a bath, try a bath pillow. It gives ergonomic support for your neck and back.
It’s creepy looking, I know. It sort of reminds me of The Man in the Iron Mask minus the beautiful face and gorgeous flowing hair of Leo. However, these things have the benefit of easing migraines, promoting sleep, reducing dry eyes, TMJ, and more. This particular mask featured below can either be used as a cold compress or heat therapy. It has a soft lining and the gel beads form a custom contoured fit.
For more ideas for self-care check out this list for the best self-care gifts for fibromyalgia.