5 Tips for Living Rural With Fibromyalgia
Living rural has many perks. I wake up every morning looking over the valley and the forest. I feed the birds on my balcony after breakfast. I enjoy the freedom of nature, and the ability to wind down and relax. Living rural has actually been life-changing and has positively influenced my health. My mental health has improved, and so has the overall quality of my life. That’s not to say it doesn’t get tricky sometimes, though. Without the convenience of supermarkets, general practitioners or nearby medical supplies, living a rural lifestyle can be complicated with fibromyalgia.
1. Get a ride-on mower.
I have a big, beautiful backyard. Perks aside, there’s always work to be done. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just means I have to pace myself. There are many large trees, which means there are also many leaves and fallen branches. With my ride-on mower, I am able to easily mulch the leaves and smaller sticks. It takes much less effort to mow the lawns using my ride-on mower, and it gets done within an hour or two. If I’m not feeling well, I can always do one section at a time, or even spread it out over a few days. If you also get a trailer for your mower, it will be much easier to relocate those larger fallen branches.
2. Light a fire.
The easiest way to dispose of all those branches is to burn them. The best part about that is you can set up a chair and relax by the fire. It’s a great way to wind down and warm up those aching muscles. There’s something soothing about watching the flames of a fire. It always puts my mind at ease and takes my mind off my pain.
3. Plan ahead.
Shopping isn’t the easiest thing to do when you live rural. That’s why it’s important to plan those shopping trips in advance! Whether you decide to go weekly or fortnightly, it really helps to set aside one day to do all the shopping. Write your shopping list slowly throughout the week leading up to your shopping trip. That way you’ll be less likely to forget anything that may be important! Take someone shopping with you if you can, just incase you need any help along the way. It’s also a good idea to book in with the general practitioner on the same day. Make sure if you need any prescription medication that you have enough before your next visit.
4. Wake up early, and go to bed early.
If you get any control over your sleep pattern whatsoever, try to wake up early when the sun comes up. It’s important to make the most of your day when you live rural, especially if you have to go anywhere for the day. Driving at night can be dangerous because of roaming wildlife, not to mention the sensory overload from the headlights of oncoming traffic! It’s important to try and establish some sort of routine. By regulating my own sleeping patterns to match the daylight, I feel much better and more productive. It may take some time to adjust, though. I suggest setting an alarm in the mornings, until your body clock adjusts. With such an unpredictable illness, sometimes it helps to have a little bit of predictability in your daily life. That’s not to say you can’t be spontaneous and have fun, though!
5. Take a break.
Whether you live rural or not, it’s important to pace yourself and take a break every now and then. I recently went tobogganing with my family and it took me a whole week to recover. It’s important to let yourself recover. Don’t push yourself if you’re not OK. Ask someone to help you if you’re struggling with anything, whether it’s chopping wood for the fire or cooking dinner. Sleep in or take a nap if you can’t fight it anymore. Take a warm bath with Epsom salts when your muscles are aching. Cry those tears of pain. Laugh at yourself. Take a breath.
Living rural is a breath of fresh air. Living with fibromyalgia is the opposite. I take comfort in the fact that I am living my best life in spite of my pain. I’m grateful for this lifestyle everyday.
Photo submitted by contributor.