24 Nov How to travel with Fibromyalgia
It’s coming up to summer holidays, which for many people is a chance to get away, to camp, see friends or explore the world. For people experiencing Fibromyalgia merely the thought of a long car ride or plane flight will trigger the worry alarm, but it is possible to learn to travel comfortably and visit far away places that enrich your life.
Here are some suggestions for preparing your body and your mindset, whether it’s a long weekend in wine country, a European sojourn or a long hike in China.
1. Write down your unabashed list of travel essentials
Colleague and founder of the Fibromyalgia Support Network Dr Kaye Brand never travels without her neck pillow. She also ensures she chooses accommodation with access to a heated pool because daily exercise keeps her muscles relaxed and mobile so she can enjoy walking around new places.
What can you absolutely not go without when you leave home? Perhaps it’s Magnesium powder, your favourite herbal tea or your new massage chair. Write it all down, now matter how ridiculous it may seem, and then think creatively about how to make it happen. If you’re limited for space, take two tea bags rather than the whole box. If mixing magnesium into water is impractical, invest in tablets that you can swallow whole without the fuss. And if your massage chair won’t quite fit in your backpack, why not factor the cost of a massage or two into your travel budget.
2. Start building a travel body two months ahead
If you tend to worry about an eight hour drive months before you’re certainly not the only one, but the worry will make your muscles tighter and sleep lighter – not conducive to happy travel. Instead, direct your energy to preparing physically and mentally for an easy trip. Begin a gentle exercise and relaxation routine two months ahead so you’ll be more likely to sleep well leading up to your departure. It will also help build your body’s strength to sit more comfortably in cramped seats, and give you the energy for holiday parties and tours.
3. Don’t be afraid to (gently) ask for what you want
One client of mine was worried that her travel partner would be inconvenienced by her need to rest during the day, but it turned out her friend was actually really grateful for an afternoon siesta. Again, write down what will make your trip comfortable for you, such as regular stretch stops, an aisle seat in the plane so you can get up and move around, or a salad at least once a day to get your vitamins in. You may find you can do many of them easily, such as booking an aisle seat in advance or taking your own meal on the plane. For those you think might put someone out, reflect on how you can ask for what will make you comfortable in a way that’s honouring and respectful of all concerned.
4. Devise your own travel yoga practice
Maeve enjoyed a trip to China, due to her graceful daily yoga at home in the lead up, and an adapted practice on the plane to keep her body mobile, her mind calm, and her sense of self-nourishing ever-present. Maeve’s “plane yoga” included listening to guided meditations, some modified “asana” (yoga postures) and you could even include mantras that reflect some of the Yamas and Niyamas, such as Ahimsa (non-violence) and Samtosha (contentment).
If you have a trip coming up soon, or even in a few months, I offer consults via Skype and in person to help you develop a yoga practice that will help make your trip comfortable and enjoyable. Please get in touch.