Holidays and Chronic Pain
Tis the season to be jolly! However, it's not always jolly if you're managing chronic pain. Holidays can be stressful for everyone, let alone managing the draining side affects of chronic pain. The holidays include more prolonged standing, bending, and lifting when you're trying to keep your home clean for guests and baking those holiday cookies. You may also have to dress up more often for those holiday parties, and wear shoes that you wouldn't normally wear... already bad for everyone's backs! So, how can you tackle the season will out spending the New Year recovering? We have a few tips for you!
It sounds so simple to plan ahead, but it's very challenging when you don't know how you may feel from day to day. However, some of the planning ahead can be to make sure your friends and family know what is expected of them when they come for the holiday dinners or overnight stays. Definitely ask people to bring food, and accept any offers of help with the planning.
Many people who deal with chronic pain also know what time of day they work the best, so make sure to utilize those windows when you make plans or when you're preparing for guests.
Along with planning ahead is pacing yourself. This brings up the concept about how much energy you have to spend. So, there is an analogy that you are given only so many spoons per day. People without chronic pain have an unlimited number of spoons, but those with chronic pain have a limited number. Say you're given 10 spoons for the day, but you have 15 tasks to complete. You're going to have to really prioritize which tasks will need your energy. You also have to remember that not all spoons are created equal either; 1 person's spoon may be emptying the dishwasher while another person's could be getting out of bed. Everyone's spoon has a different value, and everyone gets a different amount, yours might be less than someone else with the same kind of chronic pain issues. Don't overspend your spoons since you may take several days to recover. Want to learn more about the spoon analogy? Check out this story here.
Prioritize your tasks and space them out over the weeks ahead for planning for the Holidays. You also have to be kind to yourself if there are things that just will have to be neglected over the next few weeks.
Ask for Help
It's totally ok to delegate tasks that you feel can be delegated! You don't have to do it all. It's also ok to consider spending some money for a house cleaner to come help you out. Remember your time is valuable, and you might save some money not hiring some help, but you'll be paying for it in downtime trying to recovery because you pushed yourself too much. The Holidays always means limited time with family and friends, and no one wants to be laid up in bed because they spent too much of their energy doing a deep clean, when they could have considered hiring someone or delegating some tasks.
Set Aside some Time for Yourself
Make sure that you schedule in some time for yourself. It's always so challenging to attend to our own needs when there is so much going with the holidays. Remember that saying, "place the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping others." If you haven't given yourself some time and energy, you won't be able to attend to your loved ones. So, schedule that massage that helps reduce that hip pain, or that restorative yoga class that helps you recharge your battery. It's ok to treat yourself during the holiday season so that you can give to others!