How to avoid stress

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Anybody got some good methods of avoiding / reducing stress as it is strongly believed stress can make our ME symptoms worse? 

Please share your ideas / methods so we might try them too.

Good luck to you all in reducing your stress levels.biggrin

2 likes, 16 replies


16 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Julie

    Sorry to jump on this thread but wasnt sure how else to contact you. I noticed in an earlier post you are from Norwich. I'm also from Norwich and wondered what local support there is for CFS/ME ? I've had it for about a year only mild compared to others though.

    The Dr referred me to see a speciallist for help and I going to a place in Bowthorpe next month - do you know what they do there ?

    Better chip in with a way to reduce stress. I try to drive as little as I can (esp living in Norwich as the traffic is a nighmare) - I find biking (when I can) and walking good ways to reduce stress



    • Posted

      Hi Jimmy, thanks for the tipswink.

      I go to Bowthorpe to meet with an ME Occupational Theoropist. I was officially diagnosed in Yarmouth.

      Not so far found any specific ME/CFS groups in Norwich.  There is one in Dereham but that's too far for me to travel.  I have Fibromyalgia too and there is a Fibromyalgia group that meets in Notcutts every 3rd Tues of the month.  Some of them have ME too.  If you can make it to that meeting they are very welcoming and very supportive. They are Norfolk Fibromyalgia Support Group. Julie

  • Posted

    I've got 2 stress reducing tips to share;

    1. Don't think about everything you've got to do in the whole week right at the beginning of the week (even worse thinking of it at the weekend).  I find I need to think of each day one at a time.  I put events in my diary and then forget about them until that day.  If I think of them all together I get too stressed about how will I manage to do them all? Where will I get the energy from  to do them?

    2. Smile - it really does make you feel better.  Just for those moments stress seems like someone elses problem. 


  • Posted

    Hi Julie, avoiding stress - I avoid the people who stress me out as much as I can- including shop assistants! I will only go to my local mini market when I know the lovely friendly, happy staff are working and avoid days when the grumpy ones work. Do you keep a daily journal?- you can then see who/what stresses you out the most and write a 'lessons learnt' list so you can avoid the stressors in the future. I feel like I'm stating the obvious but hope I've answered your question xx
  • Posted

    Hi Julie  smile  I've found mindfullness and meditation has been a huge help to me, especially when coping with the stress of being ill and coping with pain - Jon Kabat Zinn is worth looking up for more info on the subject if it sounds interesting.  It helps me step back from it all and I've found great comfort from the practice.  I did a course about compassion with Alistair Appleton (best known for Escape to the Country on the telly) but he's also teaches mindfulness and other things, though compassion is the most M.E. friendly course as you don't have to 'sit'.  I pretty much spent the whole compassion meditation weekend lying down (as it was being compassionate towards myself lol)   I feel it gives me confidence when things get really intense with the M.E. and has really helped me self-nurture in a guilt free way.  I find most of my stress is from being pushed into things when I'm just not well enough (including from myself when I want to do things and I'm just not well enough - I'm a bit stubborn and don't like to think I'm giving in to the illness, so I think of it as surrendering to my body's need to rest and heal) and I've found it's helped me be more assertive about my need to pace.  I'm much kinder to myself and find it easier to set my boundaries and still being able to carve out a little joy in my life, which was lacking from several years battling this illness.  I also listen to a lot of meditation CD's and even Paul McKenna's ones (He does a control stress CD that comes with his book).

    I also see a councellor regularly, about once a month.  I found it a great support to confide in someone as I really loathe talking to friends and family about the challenges of living with such a debilitating illness. I get to spend so little time with friends and family I don't want to my conversation to be dominated about illness.  It means I can let of steam in a safe place and it's kinder on my personal relationships, which I find are much less stressful.

    Since getting sick I have found I am more brutal about who I share my precious time with.  Weeding out stressful people and surrounding myself with more positive, relaxed vibes has definitely reduced stress in my environment.  I found some people really drained me and stressed me out with their 'drama' and weeded them out. I don't think I would have seen it without the M.E. It does seem a bit brutal, but as I result I feel more confident, assertive and much more relaxed. I can be whatever I am that day and don't feel judged if I'm having a bad (or good) day.  Keeping good company has definitely helped my stress levels as has setting good boundaries.  I was a bit of a people pleaser before and found I kept setting myself up to fail with over enthusiastic expectations of what I could do.  This has helped me set good pacing baselines and I know what I can get away with and when I need to take it easy. Knowing where I am with energy and what I am able to plan and what I'm not has really helped minimise stress and what others may expect of me and trying to meet those expectations.

    Weirdly I've found 100-200mg Magnesium Glycinate a day and drinking lots of water helps and avoiding sugar.  When I'm really tired and push through with sugar or tea I can feel really stressed, even when it's a small task.

    When I feel that hyper wired but tired thing I try and do a very gentle walk or tai chi like Smile Qigong.  If I am not able to stand I do a sitting version. If I can't do that I have a massage or bath or if I can't do that I lie down and do the relaxation thing where you go through each body part and tense and relax it.  There is also this weird (Buddist?) thing where you sigh loudly, which aparently helps switch off the flight and fight response when you have been after stress. It works on the vagus nerve (it may be called vegus sighing) and because you sigh audibly it physically tells your body it's safe and you can relax.  May want to warn people what you are doing though lol

    I think the greatest lesson I have learned is to be kind to myself, I've found stress greatly reduced on all occasions when I'm mindful of this.  Also living in the moment. and maybe not getting so attached to outcomes and just allowing life to flow a bit more and not taking things personally.  I have some limitations and feel this doesn't make me any less of a person or of any less value.  If people can't cope with that it's their problem.


    1. Being kind to myself

    2. Setting good boundaries

    3. Good communication of my needs

    4. Not overestimating what I can do to please others at the expense of my health

    5. Not caring so much if people don't understand or don't get it.

    6. Ditching 'expectations' for living in the moment

    7. Write a 'to do' list and do just the things you absolutely need to - most things can wait another day.  I find it helpful way to organise myself and less stressful when things add up - don't be afiraid to delegate and ask for help. 

    8.  If it all goes tits up it's not the end of the world, just a learning experience that enables you to handle it better next time (like a practice run)

    9. Be kind to myself.  smile

    10. Listen to I am what I am by Gloria Gaynor


    • Posted

      Hi Jenny, thank you for spending your energy and time replying to my post.  I've made notes to look up the various suggestions and I really enjoyed loudly sighing as I read your advice (I did feel instantly quite good).  Now all I need to do is remember to sigh loudly lol it might be fun to not warn people and see their reactions.

      Not sure I'm going to do that well on your summary points but I'm going to try.  I've always come so low on my personal list.  Since the CBT I have come higher but it's hard to keep myself up there.

      Thank you again, Julie

    • Posted

      What a stunning post Jenny. 

      I agree with most of what you've said as I've done most of it too, or something very similar. 😊

      Great sunmary! 

      Meditation has helped me greatly

      So has really healing holistically. Understanding my journey and releasing a lot of things,  including expectations,  people, situations and just being. I did alot of forgiveness and letting go work too.

      There is a book called/ about relaxation responses that may assist which teached your body to break the flight response every time something happens. 

      Peace be the journey

      Purple love

      Thembelihle - Beautiful Hope

  • Posted

    HI..Today i am really stressed. I think its because i have sold my home and have to move in 8 weeks, and we have no where to go. 

    It is really getting me down at the moment..

    • Posted

      That is definately not a way to avoid stress! 

      Two main things you need to do pack and find somewhere to go.  Don't forget that you could rent if you can't find the next place to buy.  Start packing some stuff you don't need and start the trips to the dump now.  If you leave the packing to the last minute you will never manage it.  Concentrate on one room at a time then you will see the progress you are making.

      Try rewarding yourself as you achieve so much packing then you will get a pleasure.  If you work one you got an actual moving date book a whole week off work.  Someof the week before and after the date as your symptoms are going to be yucky due to the stress and the physical work of moving.

      Take deep breaths you can do this.  Good Luck and pace yourself otherwise or you will be in a physical mess. 

    • Posted

      Hello Julie

      Where we live in Shropshire its very difficult to get somewhere to rent because we have a little dog and they don't allow it. I've been looking for weeks now. I have started to pack and got 3 rooms and the loft empty, so its good progress. Unfortunatly I don't work , and have not for the last 2 years. I were looking after an elderly neighbour which became a full time job, he has now passed away. Not under my care, but in a Nursing Home.

      I think its the fact of being home all day on my own, and being unable to find a new home its really gettting to me now. I think I am already a physical mess!

    • Posted

      Oh Anne, it will come together and you've done a brilliant start at the packing, well done you.

      Maybe you can do a bit of voluntary visiting people in care homes once you have moved and everything settled down again?  Maybe reading to them for an hour in an afternoon would be nice? But that's for the future.

      Having a buyer you are now in a great position to be accepted as a buyer.  Until you had this buyer other people would of been more appealing when you put in an offer.  It's your turn now. 

      You already I'm sure are glued to rightmove.  Take another trip round the local estate agencies.  Stating clearly what you are looking for and that you have a buyer.  There maybe some which are a little too high for your price bracket but once the estate agent finds out you have got a buyer, they may think it is worth them trying to reduce the asking price so they can sell.  The estate agents want their fee and any properties which are sitting unsold is no money in their pockets and the seller may go to another agency.

      You have a buyer you should be in a stronger driving seat than you were to have a offer accepted.  Your dream house might be just having it's photos taken and about to be advertised biggrin. Fingers crossed xx

  • Posted

    Hi juliebadger,now your going to think im such a sad case haha,but ive been under stress myself for one thing and another,well I bought myself a wild bird feeding station,I know"Get a life woman"ive said to my self anyway its given me something else to occupy my mind with and my aim is to get those collared doves to eat out of my hand if it kills me,now theres a method in my madness, anything that can take your mind from stress no matter what it is,has got to help eh?good luck with what ever may help along the way,take care....
    • Posted

      Love it - it certainly gave me a giggle.  With my 2 killer cats the only thing I would be feeding is them lol.  But hey, anything in the name of reducing stress - well maybe not.

      I've now got a picture in my head of you covered in birds (maybe a dollop or 2 of bird poo on your shoulders - but you don't care) all in the names of reducing stress wink.  Ahh lifes good when you can have a giggle xx

    • Posted

      Oh julie im really laughing now my dobie dog thinks im mad but yay no stress,thanks for your reply.......and still laughing.....keep destressing.......

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