The holidays should be a joyous time but if you have chronic pain, it can quickly making you miserable. Since I was a little girl, I have always looked forward to waking up on Christmas morning. Now that I have children of my own, I have always tried to make Christmas super special for my kids. With the holidays quickly approaching, I wanted to share my tips and suggestions for handling your chronic pain or illness through the holidays like a boss.
This time of year can be very overwhelming busy with a shopping list a mile long, holiday parties, family events, parades, tree lighting ceremonies, decorating, driving around looking at Christmas lights or spending extra time baking your favorite treats. These extra activities can leave you feeling frazzled or stressed out. Do remember that it is okay to say “no” to some of those things that are on your list. Stress can cause your pain to increase and leave you feeling miserable. There is no reason that you should have to miss out on special activities because you are in too much pain to participate. It is okay to say “no.”
Make a List and Prioritize It
I tend to procrastinate when it comes to getting my to-do list accomplished. Over the last four years, I have had to learn new ways of doing things so that I don’t overdo it. If I want to accomplish my holiday list, I have to learn to pace myself before I run out of time. I also found that tasks that tend to take the longest should be completed first in case I have to spread it out over multiple days in order to finish it.
Use the Internet to Catch Up with Family and Friends
The Internet is an awesome tool and you can use it to your advantage especially during the holidays. If you aren’t feeling well and can’t make it to an event, ask someone to video conference you in using a cell phone. You can also use social media to keep in touch with your family and friends.
In the past, I have struggled with staying active during the wintertime. I am hoping that I can remain active this winter when it isn’t too cold or icy outside. I am guilty of wanting to stay snuggled up underneath the warm covers with the heating pad on my achy joints. Instead, I should be up moving as much as possible. I am really hoping the last week isn’t an indicator of how my body is going to react this winter since I was just diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis earlier this year.
Fill Your Calendar with Care
It is important to fill your calendar with care as you are making your holiday plans. Remember to schedule important events first so that you can make sure that you don’t overlook it. Plus, if it is an important event, you can add an asterisk next to it so that you know it is important. Then if you have to scale back on events, you can easily be able to distinguish which events that are near and dear to you.
Take Your Medications as Directed
It is important to make sure that you continue to take your medications on time during the holidays. Skipping or forgetting to take your medications as prescribed can increase your symptoms and make it difficult to get your pain under control. It is easier to stay proactive when it comes to managing chronic pain. Always take your medications that you need with you to events so that you don’t have to leave early or miss a dose.
Take a Break
Don’t be afraid to take a break if you need it. You know your body and how you handle certain situations.
Reduce Your Stress
Stress can trigger flare-ups and make your pain increase. It is super important that you do your best manage your stress. If you are working, ask if you can work from home a few days a week so that you can nap on your lunch break. Check out some of my ideas on how to make the holidays less stressful.
Enlist Help to Do Some of the Tasks on Your To Do List
Don’t be afraid to delegate your to do list. Not only will it allow you to complete more on your list but it will help relieve some of your own stress.
I have learned that I can only do so much when dealing with chronic pain and I wanted to share my tips with you so that you can rock the holidays like a boss this year. I hope you find these tips useful and that you can enjoy the holidays as much as physically possible.