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Dealing with chronic pain during the holidays can make an already stressful time of year even more difficult. Marty hurt his back years ago and has had several failed operations that haven’t improved his chronic pain. He is always in some amount of pain and the cold weather and busyness of the holidays can make that even worse. He doesn’t want to miss out on the family fun or the activities he’s enjoyed in the past, but the pain limits what he’s capable of doing.
Tips for Dealing With Chronic Pain During the Holidays
Chronic pain is never an easy thing to deal with. The cause is different for everyone and what tips work for you will really depend on your unique situation. For my mom, it’s her arthritis in her knees. For my husband, it’s his back and leg. For someone else, it may be their hip or shoulder. Your first response may be to curl up in a ball and stay in bed, but that doesn’t have to be the answer. Pay attention to what your body is telling you and try a few of these suggestions.
If you’re used to handling all of the holiday preparations by yourself, you may need to find support from others. In the past, my Mom has hosted Christmas dinner at her house. She can no longer take care of all of the food preparation herself. My father helps where he can, and everyone brings something to dinner so she needs to cook less. We also make sure to show up early so we can help with setting the table and take care of any last minute needs.
In the past, I’ve made my own Christmas wreaths. This year, arthritis in my hands and a busy schedule just didn’t make that possible. Instead, I hung wreaths from a nursery. My home looks just as festive as if I’d made them myself. If you aren’t able to do everything you used to do, it’s OK. You don’t need to be perfect or to take care of everything yourself. Know your limitations and recruit the kids, your husband or a friend or family member to help out when needed.
Remember to Rest
Be sure to get enough rest and to take breaks as often as you need to. You don’t need to do an entire weekend of baking Christmas cookies. Instead, make the dough one day and store it in the refrigerator until the next day you feel up to baking the cookies. On days that are more difficult than others, do small tasks like writing Christmas cards. Do what you feel up to doing and then take a break until the pain is more manageable before you begin again. This isn’t a race.
Manage Your Medication
The holidays can throw your routine off and that may mean that you aren’t taking your medication when you should be. Use medication reminders, notes in your planner, or alarms on your cell phone to remind you when you need to take your next pill. When Marty is having problems coping, I take over helping him with his medication so he stays on track.
When you’re in pain, you may be tempted to just sit this one out, but you don’t want to miss the fun and excitement of the holidays because of chronic pain. Ask yourself how often chronic pain is making you miss out on time with friends and family. Don’t keep missing out. Find a doctor in your area who can talk to you about possible solutions for your hip or knee pain. Find out more at TimeToHitPlay.com.
Ellen is a busy mom of a 22-year-old son and 27-year-old daughter. She owns 5 blogs and is addicted to social media. She believes that it doesn’t have to be difficult to lead a healthy life. She shares simple healthy living tips to show busy women how to lead fulfilling lives. If you’d like to work together, email firstname.lastname@example.org to chat.