4 Easy Tips That Will Help You Be Successful While Living with Fibromyalgia

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Living with fibromyalgia isn’t easy. The chronic pain, brain fog, and fatigue that accompany it can affect every facet of your life, especially when it comes to finding success in the workplace. While fibromyalgia has no cure, there are steps you can take to prepare for and reduce the symptoms so that you can build a successful professional career.

What Is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a painful disorder in which a person who suffers from it experiences widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and other cognitive issues. These body pains may feel amplified, as fibromyalgia may actually influence your brain’s ability to process pain signals.

While this disorder can result from trauma (both physical and psychological) or infection, it can also come on slowly over time, without being preceded by a triggering event. Fibromyalgia develops more commonly in women than in men. It is often accompanied by other disorders that compound the discomfort of those living with fibromyalgia. 

Fibromyalgia does not yet have a cure, but living with fibromyalgia is easier by managing your symptoms. In addition to medications that are available to reduce the symptoms of the disorder, there are steps you can take to mitigate its impact through exercise and stress-reduction.

What Are the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia? 

Widespread Pain

People who are living with fibromyalgia often suffer from widespread pain in their bodies, a constant aching pain that can last for more than three months. 

Related: How to Get Through a Fibromyalgia Flare-Up

Cognitive Difficulties

The cognitive difficulties facing fibromyalgia patients is often called “fibro fog.” This fog can make it difficult to concentrate on tasks. Patients often struggle with focusing and paying attention to things around them.


Although people with fibromyalgia frequently report sleeping for excessive periods, they often wake up tired. Sleep disorders, like sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome, are commonly found in patients with fibromyalgia. 

Unfortunately, those who suffer from fibromyalgia are frequently found to have other painful coexisting conditions, like migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, and joint disorders.

4 Tips for Living With Fibromyalgia & Being Successful At Work

When you are living with Fibromyalgia, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by your symptoms. It can be a challenge to overcome your symptoms, especially at work—but with some tips and strategies, you’ll be able to cope with your symptoms and find success at work. 

Do Some Self-Reflection First

Before you dive into the workplace, spend some time reflecting on your needs, and wants first. Identify and accept your feelings about your condition (working with a therapist can help you do this). If you have fibromyalgia, your condition’s psychological impact needs managing just as much as the physical symptoms.

When it comes time to choose a workplace, choose one that sets you up for success instead of stress. Figure out what you want to be doing (and what you physically can) and find work that aligns with your goals and abilities. Engage in work that fulfills you so that you leave the office knowing that the satisfaction you feel is worth the fatigue that follows.

Do What You Can & Take Breaks

You know your body better than anyone else. Listen to it. Don’t try to push yourself too hard to please your colleagues or your boss. Make space in your day to step back and rest so that you don’t get overwhelmed and end up crashing. 

This will be different for everybody because everybody has different needs. Maybe this means working part-time instead of full time, or maybe it’s taking a nap on your lunch break. Being proactive in protecting yourself is one of the best ways to ensure you can be (and remain) successful at work.

Communicate With Your Boss or Team

Communication is vital in all relationships, and your working relationships are no exception. You’re likely to find people are compassionate and understanding most of the time, but they can’t support you if they don’t know you’re struggling. 

While you may want to keep your condition to yourself, if it’s frequently impacting your performance, it may be better to be upfront with your boss or colleagues. Be honest about your illness, ask for help when you need it, and don’t be afraid to say no to extra tasks.

Consistently Practice Good Coping Habits & Be Prepared

If you want to thrive in the workplace, self-care is essential. Develop healthy coping habits and have whatever you need on hand to deal with tough days. By taking steps ahead of time to mitigate your flare-ups’ effects, you’re taking control of your health and improving your success odds.

Maybe the key is having a consistent schedule you adhere to or making sure to get up and move around throughout the day to prevent stiffness. Perhaps it’s keeping pain management tools, like a heating pad or gloves, at your desk. Pay attention to what your body needs and develop a routine to support and protect it.

Living with fibromyalgia can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be debilitating. By listening to your body and taking proactive steps to care for it, you can take control of your life back from the disorder and find professional success.

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