5 Tips for the Newly Diagnosed Mama with Chronic Illness

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Got kids and work and a house and life? And newly diagnosed with a chronic illness?

tips for the mama newly diagnosed with fibromyalgia

You likely feel overwhelmed, exhausted, in pain, validated and totally unsure of what to do next.

Where do you start?

As a mama with four small children who’s had fibromyalgia for a long time, I have recently been thinking about what advice I’d give to the newly diagnosed mama.

Knowing you’re busy and tired, I’ve broken it down into simple pieces of advice, with links to further information in that area for you to pick and choose.

1. Learn

A good understanding of what is happening in your body is crucial, the more informed you are, the more you can help yourself. There will likely be times when you need to advocate for yourself. I don’t believe we can improve without slowing down and methodically implementing plans to manage the different parts of these conditions.

Read The FibroManual by Dr Ginevra, If you read nothing else, please read this (link to the book on Amazon). She approaches fibromyalgia from every angle and has many helpful pieces of advice. Even if you can’t get your doctor on board to try her medicinal suggestions, the things you can do yourself will help.

I’ve also written a book, Fibromyalgia Won’t Win. This is my journey including having four children along the way.

If you need some help explaining it to your children, I wrote a book called My Mama Has Fibromyalgia.

2. Get help

Take a look at what you’ve got going on and see where you can get help. More childcare? Help around the house? Are your kids helping? Your partner? Less work hours? Perhaps you need to relax your expectations? Recognise your energy envelope is different and you’re going to need help to slow down.

Create rhythms in your day, simplify. Say no to the seven extracurricular activities. Prioritise what’s important for you.

3. Figure out your management plans

Hopefully you’ve got some medicinal help. In a dream world you’ve been given some holistic recommendations such as supplements, nutritional support, gentle movement advice (from someone who understands your diagnosis), stress management and more. Otherwise my blog will provide you with a wealth of knowledge. Prioritise sleep, pain and energy management.

Start with a great pain management plan

Affiliate notice, please note that some of my links may be affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

tips for the newly diagnosed mama with fibromyalgia

4. Get some good relaxation techniques (de stress and turn on the parasympathetic nervous system)

You’re busy, I know. But my secret sauce as a mama of four under 10 with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome is yoga nidra guided meditation. Find some time each day to do a 15, 20, 30 or even 40 minute nidra. Ideas include first thing in the morning, as a rest break at lunch, when the baby naps and the toddler rests, straight after work, or right before bed. If you haven’t conquered sleep yet and you get stuck awake in the night, do it then.

My other secret sauce is breathing breaks. When I’m overwhelmed, or tired or in pain, I do some gentle breathing. Simply make your exhale longer than your inhale. Or just notice your breath for a few minutes.

The last suggestion for this section is find some stretches that help and do them throughout the day. Cat and cow pose can be great for mobilising the back. Neck stretches and child’s pose are also great one off tools.

Take my free Yoga for the Chronic Life series here to get you started.

5. See what works for others

I share what helps me in case it helps you. Because an annoying truth of fibromyalgia is that what helps one may not help another. And what doesn’t help one may actually help another!
I share what helps me most in this post. I’ve taken myself from moderate to mild symptoms with everything that I do.

If you do go looking for an online support group, please be mindful of the overall atmosphere of the group. I personally avoid any that are for venting. I look for positive and proactive groups. Look for recovery and improvement stories (that are genuine).

tips for the newly diagnosed mama with chronic illness

Bonus help

Pacing (manage the energy you have well)
Low dose naltrexone (the medicine that changed my life)
Recovery Factors (my favourite supplement)
Five natural pain management options
Myofascial pain syndrome, trigger points and fibromyalgia
Ultimate guide to chronic fatigue syndrome
Fibromyalgia 101

There’s a lot to learn, but you’ve likely already been battling through life with these symptoms for a while. A diagnosis just means you can learn to go more gently on yourself and take the help required. My best tips for coping with children and fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue syndrome is to first look after your health, second have rhythms and systems that make things easier and third to simplify all.

This post was primarily about you, mama. If you put your own oxygen mask on first, so to speak, then you’ll manage better as a mama. There’s many posts in Pregnancy and Parenting Section here on the blog when you’re ready for further ideas.

You’ve got this mama.

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