Tips for Shopping with Fibromyalgia

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Shopping with fibromyalgia is not easy and if you have kids, it’s even more difficult. However, times are changing and making it easier to get what you need without having to leave the comfort of your home. Here are some tips for shopping with fibromyalgia.

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image created by Brandi Clevinger using the stock photo from Unsplash
#Shopping with #fibromyalgia is easier than you think! Here are some tips to make shopping a breeze! #beingfibromom #fibrofighter Click To Tweet

Shopping with Fibromyalgia is HARD

Shopping is no small feat for our large family of six, and it becomes more of an exhausting task while living with fibromyalgia. A shopping trip involves a lot of planning such as ensuring I have the energy levels, planned on a day without other physically demanding tasks or chores, knowing where all the exits and bathrooms are located in each store, and on and on. It’s exhausting to think about all the planning that goes into just one day of shopping.

This isn’t to include leisure shopping either. I’m talking about grocery shopping, clothes shopping, back to school shopping, and any other shopping in between those trips. Nothing is a ‘quick’ trip and usually takes an entire day especially if it’s grocery shopping.

Living with fibromyalgia, constant fatigue, sore muscles, and sensory sensitivities add to the planning of a shopping trip. Should I become ill unexpectedly or my senses become overwhelmed from bright lights or sounds, I immediately have to find a bathroom or leave. Right then. Each outing needs a backup plan in case one of those scenarios happens or if the kids become too much. Shopping isn’t something I like to do. Not in a real brick-and-mortar store anyways.

Not that many years ago my kids were much younger making any trips out of the home pretty cumbersome. My solution back then was to either hire a babysitter to watch the kids while I shopped or leave the kids with their dad while I did the shopping. This was an okay answer in the beginning, but as time went on it became a hassle to schedule my shopping around his job or the availability of a babysitter. I needed something better and more reliable.

Tips for Shopping with Fibromyalgia

Use Online Shopping

As the years passed, the availability of online shopping became more and more common. Pretty soon nearly all of my shopping could be done online. And now with the coronavirus prevalent, nearly all stores have eased the hassle of shopping in stores. Online shopping takes away the hassle of planning out shopping trips and ensuring I have plenty of energy to do it. Best of all, it doesn’t leave me in a flare for a day or so after.

Now, the stress of going into the stores, finding what I need, and having four kids with me is no longer relevant. I enjoy the convenience of having everything delivered right to my door. I even have the added bonuses of making cashback while shopping using Swagbucks and finding great discounts through Honey. I also make cash referring to friends and family to rebate apps such as Ibotta and other stores.

Plan Nothing Around the Shopping Day

Shopping with fibromyalgia can wear out a person even without the fibro factor, so this means increased fatigue for fibro fighters. In the day or so before and after the proposed shopping day, keep your commitments and activities as light as possible. This gives you a better chance to have more energy while shopping while minimizing the chances of having a flare the day after.

Listen to Your Body

When dealing with chronic pain and other fibro symptoms, we MUST listen to our bodies at all times. This is no different when running errands and shopping of any kind. When you start to feel tired or you know you’re reaching the point of draining your energy, respect your body’s boundaries, and stop. You can always pick up the shopping in a couple of days to finish. Most importantly, do NOT overextend your body by pushing yourself to ‘get it done today’.

Plan to Have Your Kids

Sometimes there is no choice but to take our kids with us. When you have to take your kids, there are a few things you can do before heading into the store. First, explain to them you may have to leave right away but it’s okay because y’all can return at a later time. This lets them have a heads up that plans may change suddenly and unexpectedly. But it also lets them know you are aware it may happen and you have a plan if it does. This will have them more aware and secure in having a backup plan.

And since you have your kids with you, have them help with the lower reaching items or putting items in the shopping cart. Older kids can push the cart if needed or be in charge of the shopping list. Younger kids can be given items to look for to keep them busy and entertained. Here are some tips for shopping with kids from K12: Learning Liftoff.

Parking

This may sound like a silly tip, but it works: always park in the same area of the stores’ parking lots. Parking in the same area each time lowers the chances of forgetting where you park. It’s like always putting your keys in the same location so you don’t lose them. Same here only you won’t be losing your car.

Break It Up

Ensure your shopping trips aren’t too large or have too many stops. Keep in mind your body’s limits in regard to pain and energy levels. If you think it may be too much for one trip or one day, then break it down into more manageable sizes. This will keep you from getting a major flare and have better chances of being able to complete the shopping sooner rather than later.

ways to recover from a fibromyalgia flare #fibromyalgia #beingfibromom

Brandi

Hi, I’m Brandi, the writer and creator of Being Fibro Mom and My Fibro Journal. Aside from my work on Being Fibro Mom, I run a group called Fibro Parenting on Facebook. I've been writing for the Fibromyalgia Magazine since 2016 and recently became the Secretary and Fibro & Families program director for International Support Fibromyalgia Network. Facebook-+-Twitter-+-Instagram

4 thoughts on “Tips for Shopping with Fibromyalgia

  • July 30, 2020 at 9:06 am
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    I don’t do a lot of shopping outside my home. I was leading up to December and Christmas about 8 years ago when I started shopping shopping for Christmas presents on line. I was told by my pain specialist at the time to make my life as easiest as possible. I mentioned shopping and we talked about the pain and fatigue I receive before, during and after shopping.
    Since then I haven’t had to dread any fibromyalgia symptoms through shopping because I do everything on line, even clothes shopping. I have joined lookeroo and stitch fix who send a box of clothes every other month. I decide what I want to keep or send back.
    My fibromyalgia pain hasn’t gotten any less, however I use the Internet to my advantage in order to make life easier for me.

    Reply
    • July 30, 2020 at 9:31 am
      Permalink

      Shopping does take a lot of energy and the sensory sensitivities do not make it easier. Online shopping is so convenient, but I haven’t tried the clothes shopping online yet. I wanted to try Amazon’s monthly box, but hesitant to buy clothes online.

      Reply
  • July 31, 2020 at 11:08 pm
    Permalink

    I’ve learned to give myself plenty of time to shop and to bring my earphones so I can listen to my music. This helps me to be more relaxed during my shopping trip. I also try not to view it as a chore but rather a quiet time to myself, helps reduce my stress levels. Lastly I smile alot and sing along to my music. Sure I get some looks but for me it’s all about trying to make the experience enjoyable, which in turns minimizes the amount of pain I’m in afterwards. Oh, I also make the husband and/or kiddos put away the groceries. I need at least a few minutes when I walk in the door to rest after being on my feet for a while.

    Reply
    • August 1, 2020 at 3:49 pm
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      Great tips to add! Thanks for sharing!

      Reply

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