8 Items to Put in Your Fibromyalgia Winter Care Kit

I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia for about a year and a half now, but I have been living with it for many years before I received an official diagnosis. Temperature changes are some of the worst triggers for me because they tend to increase my pain and fatigue, while making it difficult to function day to day. Summer is always a challenging time for me because the heat increases my symptoms drastically, and because I am also on medications that increase my body temperature, it is easier for me to experience heat exhaustion and/or stroke. But as the summer is ending and we are headed into fall, the temperatures are becoming colder. Unfortunately, winter can also be difficult because extremely cold temperatures really trigger my body pain and make movement just about unbearable.

To prepare for winter and the colder temperatures, something that I like to do is create a care kit. Since winter is challenging for me regarding pain and depression, having a care kit ready helps me to feel some comfort and hope when I may be unable to provide such for myself in the moment. Fibromyalgia care kits are easy to make and can include just about anything that brings you comfort. Personally, I like including items that bring me joy while also including functional items that can reduce pain.

The following is a list of everything I include in my winter fibromyalgia care kit:

1) Warm Socks

Socks are such a classic care item, but don’t let that deter you — they have proven to be so effective for me when I’m in pain and need to comfort my body somehow. What I like to do is put lotion on my feet before I apply the socks to increase the comforting effect. The socks also keep my feet soft and warm which extends well to the rest of my body. When I am in pain from fibromyalgia during the winter, it is the little things such as warm socks that are able to bring me some peace.

My Picks: Fuzzy Socks, Winter Lotion Trio

2) Cordless Heating Pad

Heating pads of any kind seem to work well for me with certain types of fibromyalgia pain, but I particularly like the heating pads that are cordless. This way I can use the heating pad wherever I may need it. This also means the heating pad is portable, and various versions of them can be easily found online, such as on Amazon.

My Picks: Rechargeable Heating Pad, Microwaveable Heating Pad

3) Hand Warmers and Gloves

My hands often become really painful when it is cold, so I particularly like the little warming pads that you shake to activate because they are easy to take anywhere. I usually put on hand lotion first, then I put some of the hand warmers in gloves and wear them wherever I go. This, paired with the warm socks, is something easy to do before going about the day.

My Picks: Hand Warmers, Stretchy Gloves

4) Comfort Heated Plush

I have a plush that is filled with lavender and rice and can be warmed up in the microwave. The smell of the lavender is soothing and having something warm to hug helps when I am experiencing depression. I like putting the plush under a blanket with me to preserve its heat.

My Picks: Warmies Lavender-Scented Sloth, Warmies Lavender-Scented Manatee

5) Calming Pictures

Another thing that helps my depression is having comforting pictures available, such as pictures of places that are or look comforting to me, and I meditate on them. Having a way for my mind to wander is helpful. Just imagining myself at the places in the photographs provides an escape from my pain.

My Picks: Beach Sunset Framed Canvas, Mountain Sunset Canvas

6) Various Essential Oils

I believe in the positive effects of aromatherapy, and I enjoy putting essential oils in my diffuser to use when I am having a lot of pain, experiencing depression, or facing anxiety and irritation. Some of my favorite oils to use are lavender, peppermint, lemon, and tea tree.

My Pick: ArtNaturals Essential Oils and Diffuser Set

7) Supplements/Medications for Pain

While I do take prescription medications for my fibromyalgia pain, I also take supplements that seem to help. In my care kit, I keep turmeric and CBD supplements to help me when I am having an episode. You can also include any other backup medications that you use for your pain or mood so that you have an emergency supply.

8) Favorite Books, Movies, TV Shows, etc.

Usually, I will include physical books and DVDs that I find comforting, but I also include a list of my favorite books, movies, and TV shows, as well as how to access them. Just having this list available brings me a means of escape when I really need it — even just reading the list reminds me of some of my favorite things which provides a great distraction.

Fibromyalgia is a debilitating illness and winter can be a challenge due to temperature and weather changes. However, I have found that providing a care kit for myself gives me a means of assistance when I am struggling. Just having this kit available all season makes me feel as though I have a lifeline on my worst days. A moment of self-love now brings a whole lot of self-care later on.

Originally published at https://themighty.com.

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Ashley Nestler, MSW

Ashley Nestler, MSW

Mental Health Specialist, Author, Empowerment Coach, and Bibliotherapist. Creator of The Ignite and Rise Academy and Releasing the Phoenix