February is all about becoming a better fibromyalgia detective or scientist through observation, notetaking and analysis. It sounds like some pretty brainy stuff, but I promise to make it simple and doable in my own signature fibro-friendly way!
Today I want to get you started discovering your baseline level of pain, fatigue and functioning. The premise behind this task is a pretty basic one: knowing your baseline helps you track improvement (or lack thereof) when you make changes to your routine, lifestyle and medical care.
So what is the best tool to use to figure out your baseline? I think it is a time study, which is a proven business tool used to figure out where an employee's time and effort are expended on a daily basis. After all, living with fibromyalgia is like having a 24/7/365 job that's all about taking care of yourself.
Let me introduce my Fibromyalgia Time Study Worksheet I created just for you and have inserted below. I've modified it to track things like your activities, pain and fatigue levels and body position. Page two has lots of helpful advice on how to complete the form and interpret the data you collect.
Let me also add these suggestions:
- Aim for three days worth of logs to get yourself started. Complete these logs over the span of a week or two, depending on your schedule and available time.
- Choose to gather data on days that are the most typical of your current lifestyle.
- Try to record your activities every half hour you are awake; setting an alarm on a watch, clock or kitchen timer can keep you on track all day long.
(Like what you see? Click here to download or print this form.)
So what are you going to do with the data from three days of logs?
Next week, I am going to help you map out the boundaries of your energy envelope using the information you gather. After all, you can't stay in your envelope and be flare-up free if you have no idea what your envelope looks like.