(Published on "fibromyalgialivingtoday" Network June 2018) When you have chronic pain and fatigue, it is easy to get overwhelmed at just the thought of warm weather outings. When I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia, planning family time, date nights or simple personal days out was subject to change at a moment’s notice and often daunting. Add chronic pain to the mix, and it seemed all but impossible sometimes.
Fun Fibromyalgia Summer Activities
When you have chronic pain and fatigue, it is easy to get overwhelmed at just the thought of warm weather outings. When I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia, planning family time, date nights or simple personal days out was subject to change at a moment’s notice and often daunting. Add chronic pain to the mix, and it seemed all but impossible sometimes.
Over time, I discovered that it was still possible to have fun with those I love. People with chronic pain and fatigue need to get out and experience and explore life despite these annoyances. It takes determination not to allow fibromyalgia steal your joy for living or erode your quality of life.
When planning any activity in the summer, there are a few things to keep in mind in considering how, when, and where to explore:
Is there any spot to sit and rest at the place where you are going?
Will it be easy for you to get to the car soon and leave if you need to?
How much walking is required in that place?
Is there a place of shade from the sun and heat?
Below are some suggestions of activities that you can do even if dealing with chronic pain and fatigue from fibromyalgia.
Street Fairs and Farmers Markets
You can find street festivals, farmers markets, and craft fairs everywhere in small towns or big cities. These events are fabulous summer activities.
First, you can adapt your outing according to your capabilities. You can stay close to your car if you know that you can’t walk a long distance or explore more of what the venue has to offer if you feel like walking.
For people with fibromyalgia or other chronic pain conditions, these venues permit you to support the community while enjoying local food, flavor, and flair.
Keep in mind to choose an environment where you can customize activities and surroundings according to your needs. Do you need access to a restroom? Will you need shade? Are their adequate food accommodations for mealtime?
There is so much to love about traveling the countryside. This is a great way to get out and look around the world from the comfort of a car seat. Some people cannot go very far in a car without being in pain while others feel fine as they are seated in a vehicle.
Generally, going on road trips and long drives are a good option if there are no time constraints and you can stop for breaks, rest, and walks when needed.
I have taken a few road trips in the last few years and was surprised at how therapeutic those adventures were. Rather than experiencing fatigue and pain, I felt energized and relaxed. Of course, I was not the one doing the driving!
Even if it is just a drive around town or to the next county on a lovely summer day – get out and get some vitamin D while the sights and sounds of summer warm your heart and soul! Fibromyalgia does not have to dim your view of the world.
Antiquing is a favorite activity for people dealing with fibromyalgia to do while they are out. Stretching your legs and looking around the quaint items at these antique stores can be revitalizing.
Whether it is searching for something you want specifically, or looking for yet to be determined keepsakes, turn antiquing into a treasure hunt, and get your mind off your pain and fatigue. You might be surprised how much this can lift your mood when you set out with a purpose!
Such places should have ample options to sit or stand as needed until you are ready to leave.
Walking Tours of Historic Places
In most every town or city there is so much heritage and history to explore. Many of us can live in a city our whole lives and never know about many of these hidden gems.
Learning about hometown history or visiting other cities and historic places unknown, walking tours can divert your mind from your pain and fatigue. You can also rest or retreat if you need to.
In my city, we have a fantastic art museum that is located on the campus of one of our lovely parks. We can enjoy walking the park trails, sitting near the lake under the willow trees watching the ducks, and then retreat to the museum for shade, rest, and a bit of culture all at the same time! There is even a café for meal time.
Picnics are also great activities for those dealing with fibromyalgia. Choose a location where you can walk as little or as much as you want, that is interesting and soothing for you. Your meals can be prepared in an easy, romantic, or extravagant manner depending on the location and who you are sharing the day with.
Some cities like mine have special designated “picnic in the park” days, concerts in the park, square, or on the beach, where you can spread out a blanket, listen to the area symphony or jazz band, all while enjoying your basket full of delicious snacks.
Some parks also offer dog trails if you would enjoy sharing a summer day with your fur baby. Picnicking is a fun activity that you can share with your spouse, children, or friends without a great deal of preparation and even less exertion.
Swimming is also a great activity to get out of the house for. You can choose whether you prefer to swim in a river, lake, ocean, or pool. Getting some sun and exercise can be very effective for people with chronic pain and fatigue – in fact, aquatic therapy has been known to be quite useful for those battling fibromyalgia pain and fatigue.
A favorite past time for my family and I in the summertime is grilling. We love setting up the grill and how the aroma of bar-b-que floats into our back screened porch.
There is nothing more calming than sitting in the swing under our shade tree, sipping on sweet tea or lemonade, while burgers or kabobs slowly cook on the grill. Sometimes the best moments of summer are found right in your own backyard when you don’t quite feel like leaving the house. A sunny day together is perfect no matter where you are! Even rainy days are doable under the awning!
The Bottom Line
These are some ideas that help you in getting out of the house and into the sun. It is very important to take your life into your hands and not let your illness manage you.
While you do need to find out your limitations, you might be surprised to discover that you aren’t as limited as you once thought. Just get out there and experience your life! Mostly, be kind to yourself on bad days, reward yourself on good days and never give up.