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Friday, August 29, 2014

Social connections when energy runs low

Most people take socializing for granted, but socializing actually requires a great deal of energy.  When chronic illness is present, energy is low and it is critical that people choose daily activities thoughtfully and with intention.  No one knows this better than someone with fibromyalgia.  Every activity throughout the day must be carefully weighed for priority and necessity.  Socializing may seem to be low in priority so it may tend to take the back burner, but that may be a mistake.  The mind/body connection cannot be dissected from one another and we need to regularly care for both to ensure our health on every level.  Depression and anxiety are common with fibromyalgia so attending to emotional health is so critical and yet it seems that we frequently neglect our brain's needs.  The brain's complexity makes this task even more difficult, because there are needs to be met on many different levels.  Top that with being a highly sensitive person and the task becomes daunting.

We are a gregarious people and social connections are critical for our emotional health and our general well being.  Connecting socially may not be possible face-to-face every day, but setting time aside for socializing is key in managing the depression and anxiety that frequently accompanies fibromyalgia.  I make it a point to connect with someone every day.  There are days when I don't have the energy to connect with others, but social media has made that easier and less energy draining than connecting face-to-face.  On facebook I have rekindled friendships with people I haven't seen in 44 years and facebook doesn't zap energy like face-to-face encounters do.  Same thing with Twitter except it's even less taxing because the messages are so brief.  I hadn't spent much time on facebook or Twitter, but I am now learning their benefits and it has been a positive experience.  I can interact with people and not feel the energy being sucked out of me.  That leaves me with energy to spare for other necessities.

Currently I have been experiencing some stressful events in my life and that naturally takes its toll on my body and tends to put me in a flare.  Bad news.  I inherently know this and have made intentional decisions regarding my emotional health, which also makes my body feel better.  That single act of intentionality saves my mind and my body from traumatic and stressful events.  This may seem to be a no brainer, but I am amazed when I see other people that don't seem to understand the critical nature of this connection between mind and body.  This is an amazing phenomenon!  The other positive element for me is that I have had fun learning new things and my brain gets exercise at the same time.  That is good for my body too!  When my brain is happy, my body is happy too.  The problem with learning new things is that it takes a great deal of energy.  But for me, it is well worth the energy it drains.  I just have to use small amounts of energy and be aware of how much I'm going to need to get through the day and not sabotage myself for the next day too.

So when you find yourself feeling lonely and blue, text a friend, meet a new friend on facebook -- just communicate with someone outside of your immediate environment.  This simple 10 minute act will change your perspective on life and re-energize your mind and body.  May you meet each day with intention, purpose, priority, understanding and awareness of the energy stores that are available to you.  Blessings!
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