It’s the most wonderful time of the year…Or so they say! However for chronic pain sufferers it can be a time where pain is perhaps heightened by the increased activity, pressure that we put upon ourselves and many social engagements.
With presents to buy, Christmas dinners to cook, family parties to plan and travelling to relatives afar, our minds are full with things that we need to get done and our usual routine for taking care of ourselves often gets neglected or overlooked.
There’s wrapping, cooking, cleaning and planning and it’s so easy to overdo it. Now more than ever it is important to keep a check on our activities, what is essential, what isn’t, what can be delegated and what tasks can be shared. Those of us living with chronic pain can so easily have flare-ups or setbacks.
Make your health a priority over the festive period and you will be able to enjoy the time, without it impacting your health or pain levels.
Top tips for coping:
- Spread out your tasks and don’t try to do them all in one day/week
- Try and stick to your normal regime in terms of exercise, eating and rest – your body copes best with familiarity
- Listen to your body – if you’re tired rest, if you need help ask for it
- Allow others to support and help you and reach out to friends and family who understand your circumstances and are willing to help
- Simplify your life – only arrange social arrangements that you really want to go to
- Consider agreeing with family that you only buy gifts for the children in your family to save on time and energy
- Only have visitors to stay with you if you have the space and support to accommodate this. If it’s going to put extra pressure on you alone, arrange alternative accommodation for your friends and family. This will allow you opportunity to rest when everyone leaves at the end of the day
- Cooking Christmas lunch? Consider pre making some of your dishes so you don’t have to do everything on the day
- Make time for meditation and mindfulness – this is always important, but especially over a busy period like Christmas. Allow your body and mind to switch off and relax
- Make a ‘to do’ list and add to it whenever you think of something – this way it frees up your mind and reduces the chance of you forgetting it. Brain fog can be common in chronic pain sufferers
- Be mindful of alcohol intake with your specific medications
- Ensure you manage any regular medication and continue with any home exercise plans
- Have a wonderful break, enjoy time with family and friends and make lovely memories, but call it a day when you’re still feeling ok to save yourself for the next day!
- Remember to rest, enjoy, delegate and relax!