Activities of Daily Living with Fibromyalgia

Activities of Daily Living with Fibromyalgia

Through the Fog

Let’s face it: Doing “normal” everyday things becomes a huge challenge when you have fibromyalgia. We really need to pace ourselves to make sure we can accomplish ordinary tasks — tasks that I used to take for granted. The pain may get worse after overdoing it, but the fatigue is what worsens for me. It can put me totally out of commission for a few days.

Our energy occurs in spurts throughout the day, and we need to learn to conserve it. It would be like getting 10 gallons of gas a day. You use them up in a certain way and when you are done, you are running on fumes. All of a sudden you can be standing at the kitchen sink and you just can’t stand there another second. You can’t cook, you can’t wash another dish. You just have to sit down. Sometimes you can’t even talk. Many of us have all we can do to shower, do the laundry, and cook simple meals.

Driving becomes an issue for many. I personally make all my appointments when my husband is available to drive me. I have a difficult time focusing on driving and it becomes really exhausting. Before fibromyalgia, I loved to drive and was a horrible passenger. Now I’m content to be a passenger. There are times when the brain fog is as thick as pea soup. Even when you know where you are, it can be easy to forget how to get to your destination .

Fibromyalgia can be socially isolating for many — it is for me. As much as we love spending time with friends and family, it takes a huge toll. Because we may have to cancel plans at the last minute, we not only disappoint others, but it’s incredibly discouraging for us. We look forward to a party or other event, and then have to bow out due to our health issues.

Often, after every physically demanding activity, there needs to be a time of rest. There are a couple of ways I have chosen to improve my daily life. I hired someone to clean my home twice a month. I keep a chore jar. I take several slips of paper and write on each of them one thing I need to do. I fold them up and place them in my jar. As I have energy, I take one out and do that one thing. There are days you may only get one thing done, or days you may get several things accomplished. Then there are those days nothing will get done. That’s OK. Give yourself permission and don’t worry about it. Just do what you can do. If you have children, they love helping and you can make it a game for them.

Be creative and do what works for you and your family, in your unique situation.

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. 



  1. Scott says:

    I identify with all of this. Pacing myself, doing what I can do when I have energy. There are days I can get hours worth of work done and other days when I can’t get out of bed. And when I overdo it, I am easily back in bed for three days recovering. I can drive on some days and I don’t attempt it on other days.

    Making plans is nearly impossible because I never know how well I am going to be that day. It affects every relationship when you make plans and subsequently have to cancel 80% of the time or leave early. I have family members who don’t understand and say they think it’s all in my head. If only!

    Anyway, I am happy I found this post today. It perfectly describes me and at a time when I feel like I am the only one going through this.

    Great suggestions too.

    Thank you!

    • Robin Dix says:

      Scott, it’s great to have community with others who get it. No one in their right mind would wish this on themselves, so no, it’s definitely not all in our head. Wishing you a very low pain, high energy day!

  2. Jamie Savala says:

    Robin I would also like to thank you for your blog. For so many years I was extremely hard on myself.I contributed my pain and my inability to complete tasks and follow thru on social obligations as laziness on my part. so like many ppl I mentally took a huge hit as well; but reading your blogs and reading the comments frm others.. knowing that I’m not alone when I have to lay in bed for 3+ days at a time, I just can’t describe to you how completely not alone I feel now. I am fortunate to have a wonderfully fantastic supportive husband and kids who unfortunately have grown up with a sick mom.. but I could not ask for better familial support. thank you again for your blog I appreciate the validation of my symptoms.
    Sincerely jamie????

  3. Barbara Fiedler says:

    Are your blogs only here? Is there a way to read past blogs? I love your style and would like to catch up! You have such a positive attitude and I would like to capture that and use it.


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