How Office Organizing Relates to Fibromyalgia

Cherry blossom in green bowlWith fibromyalgia, you have to learn to take care of yourself, honor your body, and know your limits. Unfortunately, I used to treat my body like it was a donkey that was there to do my bidding. I would push it and prod it and force it to do what I needed it to do. In fact, I treated my body just like many people treat their computers or offices, “Why won’t this darn thing work right? I’ll show it who’s boss!” No wonder my body responded by often not supporting me the way I needed it to… and by being as stubborn as an ass!

A couple months ago, Jennifer Hofmann of Inspired Home Office wrote, “10 reasons why self care is good for your business,” an article which includes a definition for the four kinds of self care. It reminded me that nearly everything I know about self care, I learned from Jennifer. Working with her on my office really put me in tune with “what do I need?” (One of Jen’s favorite questions.) It also gave me practice in actually listening to that still small voice that knows what I truly need. I noticed that when I gave myself what I needed — nourishing my body, spirit, soul, and mind — my fibromyalgia started to get better.

Noticing that I needed clear space on my desk translated to clear space on my calendar, which gave my body time and space to heal.

Being gentle with how I viewed my “in process” office translated to being gentle with my body that’s “in the process” of healing.

Noticing that when I was stressed out about being two months behind on my finances and what I truly needed at that moment was to take a long hot bath, translated into a breakthrough in how I listen to and treat myself in times of stress. I realized that I actually end up with less pain when I listen to my needs and take care of myself with compassion. (You might say that the donkey responds better to sweet talk than pushing and prodding!)

A year and a half ago I got stuck in Jen’s Inspired Organizing class because I’d started working on painting my office and ended up in a fibro flare. Since I couldn’t finish painting, my office was a disaster. I ended up finishing the class in my living room working on my laptop. I was frustrated! Jen worked with me and we found things that I could work on that didn’t require me to be in my office. I organized my email. I dreamed of cherry blossoms, which took on a whole new significance. I was reminded to pace myself and be gentle with myself. I was reminded that even on the days I feel great, I’m not quite “there” yet.

Since that class, I’ve been able to come off of nine medications and haven’t had even one flare. (And yes, my office is painted and I’ve moved back in!)

Some of my improvements are because of things that my doctor and I have been working on. My doctor, however, says that 90% of it is me doing “the hard part” — the daily walk of taking my supplements, going to bed on time, eating right, watching my energy level, etc. Self care.

I highly recommend reading Jennifer’s article, even if you don’t have a business of your own; it’s just good advice to help you live your life. Then, if you struggle with clutter or organization in your home or office and long to find a compassionate way to deal with it, please take one of the Inspired Home Office classes. Finding Jennifer in Twitter literally changed my life!

If you want to read more on self care, I suggest reading my series about honoring your body:

How about you? How has your relationship with self care been? Are you an old pro at it? Or are you still learning?
Tami Stackelhouse


Medication, Self-care

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  1. Tami, I can’t tell you how moved and touched I am by this article. You’re right, self-care is central to everything. To organizing, to health, to living. That you learned to practice this in my class and that is has helped your healing is as astonishing to me as it is wonderful. Your life is proof that when you put the basics first (the things we usually consider optional), you create a stable foundation for everything else you want in life.

    Thank you so much for the kind words about my work. I’m so proud of you and so thrilled to hear that you’re healthier than ever. Look out world, here comes Tami!

    Huge hugs,

  2. This is a wonderful article/blog. So much so that I’m emailing the link to my friend, Donna, who has been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. She’s taking MANY pills which I don’t think are helping…as she is still in pain most days.

    However, in the moments since reading your words and thoughts, I’m thinking that she doesn’t really take care of herself in the ways you’ve described.

    So thanks for describing exactly how taking care of your living and office space relates to taking care of yourself!

  3. Jen – In my mind, this article is subtitled, “Everything I know about self-care, I learned from Jennifer Hofmann!”

    Pamela – Thanks so much for coming by and commenting! I would love to chat with your friend, if she’s up for it. Sometimes, just talking to someone who has “been there, done that” can make a big difference. It took me a long time to learn how to take care of myself. And if I’m really honest, I couldn’t at first. There were times all I could do was get out of bed. Forget even changing out of my pajamas!

  4. You are so right. I cleared my desk recently… filed, tossed out, eliminated and it gave me such a feeling of FREEDOM. And an awareness of free time to schedule my yoga, liver cleansing and other acts of self-love, I mean self-care that are necessary for me to maintain my health.

    Similarly, if I make my bed in the morning, shower and dress, I feel unencumbered and more joyful, like everything is gonna flow easily today. With these small, yet seemingly large things taken care of.

    Thanks for the blog Tami!

    Infinite Love and Gratitude,


    1. Thanks for coming by, Abigail!

      I think so often we look for the BIG answers when we look for healing, but sometimes it’s found in the small things we do every day. =)

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