4 Tips to Help Manage Chronic Pain During the Holiday Season
Do you manage chronic pain during the Christmas season or does it manage you?
Chronic pain doesn’t take a Christmas vacation, but it’s that time of year when the hustle and bustle starts to increase as we get busier preparing for the upcoming holiday season. Routines are disrupted, there’s a lot more activity than you’re used to and our lives are seemingly turned upside down. This causes stress in our lives and quite often we start to feel our chronic pain get worse. Is there a correlation to holiday stress and an increase in chronic pain?
If you can manage chronic pain during the other relatively calm and quiet times of the year, you may find that the increase in stressful activity is wreaking havoc on you and causing your pain to increase more than normal levels. The usual routine of expending most of your energy doing basic daily tasks falls by the wayside as you’re now forced to channel that energy into socializing. It’s a tough change and one that the body doesn’t react well too because of the added stress.
There are some ways to intentionally counteract the stresses of the holiday season to help cope and manage through those days when you feel the pain is simply too much to handle. Here are a few tips to help and perhaps you have other that you can mention in a comment down below:
Your schedule will be turned upside down, so you’ll need to schedule your rest times as able. The holiday’s tend to be very busy, so finding time may be a chore in itself. Your energy level will decrease because of all the constant running around, and this will cause grief for those who already suffer from chronic pain and fatigue. A great idea would be to take a soothing bath with epsom salts, lay down in a quiet place in the house with a good book and be intentional about getting the recommended eight hours of sleep at night. If you don’t, the lack of sleep with most definitely catch up with you. The reality is, balance is key when it comes between holiday activity and your chronic pain.
Prioritize your activities
We’re all increasingly busy and the holiday’s will sometimes overwhelm you with all the things that need to get done. The reality is, there probably is a lot for you to and you simply aren’t able to get it all done. So, prioritize according to importance. This way, the most important things will be accomplished before your pain kicks in and you can rest your mind knowing that whatever is left over to do isn’t going to make or break the festivities. Remember, it isn’t against the law to ask for help, either.
Watch what you eat
“Mmmmm… just one more chocolate covered sugar bomb and I’ll stop”, you say to yourself. Food will be everywhere, and it’s usually foods that we would never eat too much of. Showing self control during the season so our body doesn’t react to sugars, etc is very important. We should all be eating healthy diets anyway to manage our chronic pain, but a treat every once in a while (or in moderation) will be fine. Eating fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods is recommended to help manage chronic pain conditions.
Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself
Cooking for an entire household for more than a single day in a row is enough for anyone, let alone one who suffers from chronic pain. Ask for help – people won’t think any less of you. Remember, you suffer from a condition that people can’t see, so taking a break occasionally will not ruin Christmas for the family. Also, people won’t know you need help unless you ask them. Quite often we put extra stress and pressure on ourselves thinking people will think less of us if we aren’t performing at 100%. Stop that thinking as it only leads to more stress and a vicious cycle of stress and self doubt. It’s always better to guard yourself than to burn out and suffer the consequences later.
These tips for you to help manage chronic pain may help you enjoy your Christmas vacation a little bit more. If you have other ideas that you’ve used, we’d love to hear them in the comment below! Have a fantastic Christmas season! God Bless!