Each person who struggles with fibromyalgia can have different triggers and different things that make you feel better. It can be very difficult to navigate what is working to minimize your pain or prevent you from becoming in pain.
Keeping a fibromyalgia journal is the perfect way to keep track of your eating, exercising, and feelings. When you read back through your journal you may be able to identify certain foods that triggered your fibromyalgia, or certain exercises that made you feel much better for days after. It can also help identify stressful situations or people that caused anxiety or even a flare-up. Take the time to keep a journal and see if it can make a difference in your fibromyalgia.
We all have stressful lives and it might not be possible to totally eliminate stress from your day to day life. By journaling, you might be able to plan out your day better or deal with your feelings, which can reduce the stress you are feeling. Sometimes simply writing something down will give you a release so you can move forward with the rest of your day.
Reducing stress is an important part of your day to day health. Take whatever steps you can to write down your stressors from the day and try to tackle them one at a time. Make a list of things you don’t want to forget, or of people you need to call. Your fibromyalgia journal can be used for anything that will reduce your stress.
Use as Your Investigator to Identify Food Triggers
A key component in staying away from fibromyalgia triggers is the ability to identify what foods are making your symptoms worse. This is a long process that involves eliminating and reintroducing foods to test what effects they have on your body. A food journal is a perfect assistant on this investigative journey.
Write down everything you eat, when you eat it and how it makes you feel. You will quickly start to identify items that are causing you more fibromyalgia pain. If you are unsure if an item is a trigger for you, try reintroducing the food and see if you still notice the poor effects on your body.
Basics of Journal Keeping
Journaling can be as detailed as you would like or as sparse as you would like, it is all up to you. Your journal is what you want it to be. You can keep track of only your foods that you eat. Or perhaps you want to keep a detailed list of all your aches and pains throughout the day to see if exposure to other items may be making your symptoms worse. You decide what is most important to you and keep the journal with that information. It is important to be consistent and keep the journal for several weeks, even months, so you can accurately identify what works and does not work for you.
Electronic vs. Paper Journals, which is Best?
Everyone has their opinion on what works best, old-school paper journals or new journals you can keep on your phone or tablet. Both options have their positive and negative points, so it is important for you to find the journal type that works best for you. If you are not allowed to have access to your phone at work, it would not be good to keep your journal on there.
Instead, use a small notebook so you can accurately keep track of all the things you want to track. If you travel a lot and your phone is what you use for your calendar, appointments etc; your phone may be the best option for you to keep your journal on. There is no right or wrong answer to which type of journal you should keep.
Fitness Journaling can Help Too
Because staying fit is such an important part of managing your fibromyalgia, you might want to include your fitness activities in your journal as well. Keep track of the days you are more active and the things you do. Write down when you go for walks or get a chance to go to the gym. Then make sure and write down if you feel like your symptoms improved or got worse after your exercise. It is important to track which physical activity is making you feel better and which might be doing more harm than good. If you try out some Pilate’s classes or other new activities, track the changes they have in your mood and body to see if it is something you would like to try again.
Share Your Fibromyalgia Journal with Your Doctor
After all this work of keeping a journal, what do you do with it? Share it with your doctor. You and your doctor can go through the foods that you felt were causing you trouble and decide which one food you should eliminate first. You do not want to make too many changes at one time because you will not know which food was actually your trigger food.
Talk with your doctor about other items that you feel may be making your fibromyalgia worse, like your menstrual period or new tooth fillings. Your doctor is your partner in this fight against fibromyalgia, make sure and share as many details as you can with them.
Keeping a fibromyalgia journal may seem like a tedious task or something only your teenage daughter would do. But you may find that keeping a journal is the perfect solution for identifying your triggers and reducing or eliminating them. Take the clues you gain from your journal and work with your doctor to find the perfect solution for minimizing your fibromyalgia symptoms. You can also use your journal to monitor your own fitness and diet goals. Keep your journal on paper, or in an electronic device, but make sure you are updating it frequently throughout the day so you can have the best possible results of what your triggers are.