Getting Ready for Work — the Fibro Way

Getting Ready for Work — the Fibro Way

It’s hard enough to wake up any morning, but now I have to get ready for work. What’s that about? Most days, it exhausts me to the point that I can’t go to work!

What is someone with fibromyalgia to do? Here are a few things that make it easier for me to get out the door and into work:

Prepare the night before. This is fairly obvious, but not easy to accomplish. I lay out my clothes and make sure my lunch is packed. My keys and purse are where they should be. I do anything I can the night before.

Showers. They are a challenge, to say the least. Showering with fibro can be difficult to impossible. I’ve had issues with dizziness. I can’t catch my breath, or sometimes have heavy and labored breathing. My doctor recommended taking cooler showers and to move slow and easy. I try to take showers in the late afternoon or evening and take sponge baths in the morning. I quickly wash the parts that need it and I am good to go.

Getting dressed. I wear clothes that are easy to put on and take off. If I could go to work in my sweats, I would. But since that isn’t allowed, I tend to stick with shirts without buttons and pull-on pants. Dresses work pretty slick, too, as long as there isn’t a zipper in the back. (I refuse, however, to wear nylons!)

Hair and makeup. I try to wash and style my hair the night before, if possible, and touch it up before I leave. It’s difficult for me to take care of my hair. My arms get tired and sore. It gets to the point where I can’t lift them anymore. I finally opted for an easy-to-care-for hairstyle. I tend to wear only some powder for makeup, unless it is a special occasion or I look like death warmed over. Some days require a little cover-up under my eyes to hide those lovely black circles.

Breakfast. We all know it is important. Instead of running through a fast-food drive-thru, I go for a nutritional smoothie I make at home and drink it on the way to the office. The night before, I start some oatmeal in the slow cooker. I’ll boil a couple eggs and have with gluten-free toast. Another go-to is fruit or granola with yogurt. I aim for easy-to-make foods that are healthy, too. I plan my meals for the week and make sure I have what I need on hand.  

Sleep. Try to get plenty of rest the night before. Easier said than done, right? This has been my biggest issue by far. The lack of sleep has wreaked havoc on my life. It is hard to get ready for work when you can’t keep your eyes open. Of course, there are medications you can take to help you sleep, but I prefer to try natural remedies. A nice, warm Epsom salt bath before bed helps relax my muscles.

I rest an hour before bedtime. I put the devices away. I color, meditate and lightly stretch. I read that malic acid (which you can buy as a supplement with or without magnesium) may help to repair muscle damage, which helps with pain reduction. I’ve been taking it with magnesium for a few months and it has helped calm my restless legs. I’ve heard some swear by melatonin, but I have yet to try it. I always check with my doctor and pharmacist to make sure there aren’t any negative interactions with my prescriptions prior to trying any new supplement.

Once in bed, some noise is helpful for me. A fan or relaxing music helps. I use the same playlist my massage therapist uses while she works her magic on me. I find it brings me right back to the massage table and I’m usually snoring by the third song.

These are just a few things I do to get out the door and head to work in the morning. Please feel free to comment and let me know what works — or hasn’t worked — for you.  

Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.


    • Carrie Anton says:

      No and I don’t plan to. I would rather work as long as I can. My employer is very understanding and is very generous with time off, which really helps. I hope I don’t get to the point where I can’t work any longer. I’m almost 52 so I only need to make it for 15 more years…lol!

  1. Anthonette says:

    Hi there. I was diagnosed with FM last November and it makes perfect sense. I couldn’t figure out WHAT was happening to me. Unfortunately my boss isn’t understanding and tells me “take my meds and see you when you get to work” that makes it even worse. No one in my circle is understanding and that makes this process terrible. I WISH I could work from home 🙁

    • Carrie Anton says:

      I’m sorry your boss isn’t understanding. My previous employer wasn’t either. I got lucky with this job. I do wish I could work at home as well but that isn’t an option at this time. Without support, it is very hard to get through this awful illness. Have you looked into a support group? I’ve found a number of support groups on Facebook and that was a lifesaver for me. It really helps to interact with others that are going through the same thing. Best of luck and gentle hugs!!!

  2. Anthonette says:

    Awww thank you so much. They’re really needed right now. No I haven’t looked into a support group, but I’m on it now. Thank you. I’m desperately seeking a new full time job.

  3. Donna M Mason says:

    This disease It is so mid-understood . when you have FMA ; most people I know say “oh I heard that on a commercial ; or such and such has that?!!!. Never giving that support of comfort; unfortunately I was recently fired due to me exceeding my intermittent of absentee from my FMLA, STD ; or leaving early. I am fighting DUA my Job contested so it is in Appeal; it is just awful going through this alone.

    I am Happy just because I know GOD loves me and will see me through these dark days.

    I cannot find a Dr that will prescribe or Help with other alternatives; and I have to fight for Justice because I have Fybrimyalgia along with depression.

    I get up every morning and Stretch, pray and constantly moving just so my muscles and nerves will not flare up pain.

    Thanks for listening ??

    • Carrie Anton says:

      Donna, I am so sorry you are going through such a difficult time. Have you checked into some of the support groups on the internet, including Facebook? Being able to interact with others who are going through or have gone through what you are experiencing can be very beneficial. I’ve learned so much from other fibromyalgia suffers and I’ve made wonderful friends. I pray your appeal goes well and that you are able to find a doctor who will help you. I recently started seeing a chiropractor and I am very happy with the results so far. Have you sought out alternative treatments on your own? To save money, I’ve used online deals like Groupon or Living Social. I found my massage therapist that way and she offered me a lower price as long as I committed to coming back every month. Finding low cost alternative treatments isn’t easy but they are out there. Thank you for sharing your story! Best of luck to you and gentle hugs!!!

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