31 In Personal

How to Enjoy the Holidays with a Chronic Pain Condition

Happy Friday ladies!

I thought I would talk about tips or how I enjoy the Holidays with my chonic pain condition, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. If you are a regular reader, you know that I have been dealing with this genetic condition for almost 10 years now. People without a condition may find the Holidays stressful. Lots of running around, preparing the house for company, shopping for loved ones, making meals, and possibly traveling. If I let myself get overwhelmed, I can easily feel anxious or stressed as well. If you are one with a chronic pain condition, I hope to share some of the ways to make the Holidays enjoyable, and not set you back with your health during this time.

In the beginning, when the disease was at it’s worst, and I did not have the proper pain management, I can not say it wasn’t difficult. Presently, my pain is more manageable, which was more than have the battle. I do take medication each morning and evening, and I as i have mentioned, I schedule more dry needling sessions around this time, knowing I will be doing more activity than usual. I would say if I could wish for anything this Christmas I would love to be pain free! but since anything short of a Christmas miracle, I will just include ways i lessen it and enjoy the Holidays, nonetheless.

One thing to consider is making modifications. If you have difficulty standing for periods, perhaps consider doing part of the activity and meeting others. For example, the Christmas at Biltmore is gorgeous, seeing all of the decorated and lit trees, chorus, and decor by candlelight is a wonderful event this time of year. Because I have hypermobility and my body has to use much energy to stand, moving in a slow line is going to cause more pain.. Perhaps you see some of the exhibit and meet somewhere for lunch afterward.

Don’t be afraid to say no. if there is something suggested that you can not do, or you have enough on your plate, just politely decline. You may feel guilty about saying no to a relative, but your health is most important, and you can then go on to other activiites.

Take breaks. When decorating the Christmas tree, I don’t stand for hours. We have an abundance of Christmas ornaments, some from my hubby when he was a little kid, that were saved, and some we collect each year. Play some music, decorate the tree and take breaks. Sit for a cup of hot cocoa or cider and enjoy the Holiday music before you get back to decorating. Don’t try to do it all at once.

Take a nap! i am a beleiver in afternoon naps. Try and rest, taking an hours nap. i was watching a program about the longest living inhabitants, who live on a Grecian Island. One of the factors they said to their longevity is taking a nap everyday! Your family will understand if you need to rest during the day to recharge and feel better.

If possible, break up your travel. I have a tough time with my muscles staying in one position for a long period of time in the car. It is 11 hours to my inlaws house and that is a LONG drive! My brother has offered we do a pit stop at his place in Virginia, so it is 6 hours there, plus a stop, and then only 3 hours the next day! it makes a difference! It is hard to be cramped in one position in a car.

Bring a heating pad, medication, epsom salts or other medical needs. I have to take a number of medications every day, both in the morning and at night. 

Engage with others-   I know this seems self explanatory as you visit relatives etc, but I know if I have been in pain, there are times you just want to be alone. Try and engage and enjoy talking to family, friends as it does help to distract your mind from the pain as well.

Take an Epsom Salt bath- I do this daily, as the magnesium helps muscle pain and soreness. Have a bath, with candles, and some soft holiday music in the background.

Cuddle and Spend time with your Furbabies- I am looking forward to dressing up my lil ones in ugly sweaters and Santa suits for Grandma! This is a given for me, but the act of just petting my puppies and being with them relaxes and calms me. Plus they are so fun!

Remember, added stress and anxiety can increase pain levels ( it does for me) so don’t overdo, enjoy your friends, family and surroundings. Smell the festive scents of the season, watch an old Christmas movie ( who doesn’t love Bing Crosby’s White Christmas)

Have a great weekend!

Jess xo

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  • Reply
    Vanity And Me Style
    December 12, 2017 at 3:54 am

    Some great tips here Jess. I think pain management is so important but can take ages to find the right balance. When found it can make a huge difference. I’m cooing over how cute those fur babies look xx

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      December 12, 2017 at 10:47 am

      Thank you Laurie! It did take me awhile to get my pain properly managed, so right! ah, i love them to bits, and they are so fun to dress up! xx

  • Reply
    passion fruit, paws and peonies
    December 12, 2017 at 3:08 am

    It’s so important to take breaks when you are dealing with so much. Pain is exhausting. Your pups are adorable!! x

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      December 12, 2017 at 10:45 am

      So true! i think many of these tips can and should apply to people without chronic pain as well. We need to slow down and take care of ourselves. I do all of these things and it does help my chronic pain and enjoy the season more. Thank you, they are my little loves! xx

  • Reply
    December 10, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Hi Jess! I don’t have a chronic condition and I still think these tips are great! I’m feeling a little overwhelmed this morning and I think I was guided to your post because I need to take some time to take care of myself! Thanks so much for your advice! I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday!

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      December 10, 2017 at 10:11 am

      Thank you Suzanne! I know it is easy to get overwhelmed, there seems a lot to do. But i really feel we need to take a time out and make things easier on ourselves! so glad you enjoyed the post! Happy HOlidays to you and your family as well xx

  • Reply
    December 10, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Sound advice Jess. I feel like it’s easy for all of us to get overwhelmed and fail to realize that for some it’s even more challenging. Thanks for the reminder; a little empathy goes a long way. Your sweet dogs are just the cutest in their outfits! Definitely the best medicine, spending time with them!

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      December 10, 2017 at 10:08 am

      Thank you Kelly! I know, it is easy to get overwhelmed, but we don’t need to! i used to try and wrap gifts all at once, then i began to dread doing it, until i said, “why dont I just do a few each day”? I do appreciate your comment, and the puppies are just so fun too, yes they have helped me immeasurably! xx

  • Reply
    December 9, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    The pups are so adorable I could kiss them non-stop (except my kitty Toby wouldn’t appreciate this!) Thank you for this meaningful post, Jess. It is really tough to face stress of the holiday season when you are in pain. There are some wonderful tips here and I appreciate that they will help deal with my ever present anxiety and advanced arthritis while I enjoy getting together with friends and family. Thank you and enjoy your time with your in-laws!

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      December 10, 2017 at 10:06 am

      Aw thank you Rebecca! i practically do kiss them many many times a day! Aw, yes, your kitty might get jealous! So glad you found this post beneficial, as i was thinking about things i do to try and make it easier and enjoyable. I know what you mean about anxiety, as i have it as well, and being less overwhelmed and taking things day by day should help. Arthritis must be difficult to deal with , my mother in law was a piano teacher for 40 years, recently retired from it, and can no longer play as much.. I hope you do have a wonderful Christmas as well! xx

  • Reply
    December 9, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    What a wonderful post dear Jess. I am so sorry you suffer with this, but am pleased you shared both your pain and your good suggestions on how to cope. I agree, knowing our limits , and saying no is very important ! I also love Epsom salt baths, they help me too.( I have hypermonilit at the hips and i think that makes my lower back worse) . I don’t take anything for pain, other than steroids which helps with inflammation, so that helps. You look so gorgeous in that red outfit and that photo of your near the tree is lovely, as is your home!
    OH! The fur babies dressed as Santa! LOVE !
    xoxo, Elle

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      December 10, 2017 at 10:01 am

      Thank you Elle. I am glad you enjoy reading it. I appreciate your friendship and comments as always. oh, that red outfit is a full skirt and red cardigan with embellishments, fun to wear. i know about hypermobility at the hips, as for years, my pelvis would dislocate, and either my hubby or pt would have to put it back in. i love holidays with the puppies to, so fun and dressing them in their sweaters and santa suit makes my day! do take it easy as well and enjoy the Holiday with family. xx

  • Reply
    Dawn Lucy - Fashion Should Be Fun
    December 9, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Thanks for sharing your tips with us. You look gorgeous, Dear! That red dress is AMAZING! Wishing you the best, always.
    Have the best weekend!

    Dawn Lucy

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      December 9, 2017 at 11:25 am

      Thank you Dawn. I am glad you enjoyed the post and for the lovely comment. xx

  • Reply
    Laura || Walking in Memphis in High Heels
    December 8, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    These are great ways to enjoy the holidays! Especially with taking breaks, saying no, and taking naps.

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      December 9, 2017 at 11:24 am

      Thank you Laura! Yes, I am a nap taker, i do so in the afternoon and these things are important for our health. happy weekend! xx

  • Reply
    December 8, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Hi Jess, I agree with you about how lifestyle and mental attitude are very important in managing symptoms. Health is so important, but often I think we don’t realise that until something goes wrong.

    • Reply
      December 8, 2017 at 5:44 pm

      Jacqui, this is a very good point! Prevention and staying proactive are very important. I have always been proactive, but it is easy to take health for granted and not pay it as much attention, like you said, until something happens. Thx for your comment, and have a great weekend 😘

  • Reply
    December 8, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    Wonderful hat!


    • Reply
      December 8, 2017 at 5:42 pm

      Thank you! X

  • Reply
    December 8, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    Thanks so much for the good tips And reminders, Jess! I think it’s so important as you mentioned to not feel guilty for taking time out for a nap or saying no to activities that are just too much for us. Soooo important to make our health a priority and then we can relax and enjoy the things we can do, like dressing up cute pups! 😉😘 💖

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      December 8, 2017 at 3:23 pm

      Thank you for your input Kristin. Yes, I usually take daily naps, even for A Half hour, they can help. Glad you enjoyed the post. Epsom salt baths are a mainstay for me, and I enjoy it with candles. I love to dress up the pups.. more pics on that soon. Have a great weekend and do take care ! xx

      • Reply
        Kristin McMillan
        December 10, 2017 at 12:24 pm

        Thanks so much, Jess, and I hope you are enjoying a beautiful weekend and feeling better! xoxo

  • Reply
    December 8, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    I think these are great tips even if you don’t have chronic pain. The holidays can definitely get stressful and it’s important to not do too much at one time!
    Jeans and a Teacup

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      December 9, 2017 at 11:26 am

      thank you jessica! Very true.. it is easy to get caught up in the Holidays, but i even enjoy it low key with family. xx

  • Reply
    Debbie Hull
    December 8, 2017 at 10:43 am

    Hi Jess ! It’s almost xmas and you dressed your dogs so cute for this holiday. I showed my 4 year old grandson the dogs in their outfits and he liked them. I hope you have a great xmas and don’t have to go through too much pain. Hope the new year brings you all of the best. Take care my friend.

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      December 8, 2017 at 11:11 am

      Hi Debbie, I know it is hard to believe Christmas is right around the corner. We are taking the pups to Philly to visit my in-laws and they have yet to see the puppies in their Santa Suits and ugly sweaters. ill have more pics on the blog for sure. Oh, how sweet, glad your grandson enjoyed them . I do truly follow my tips i have listen in order to enjoy the Holiday. Taking Epsom salt baths in the evening, after activity really helps as well as it is calming and relaxing. i am wishing you the best for the Holidays as well! Thank you Debbie! xx

  • Reply
    December 8, 2017 at 9:49 am

    This is so important even for those of us not in chronic pain, Jess!! This time of year can be so overwhelming!!
    Thanks for such great ideas!!
    Have a great weekend!!

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      December 8, 2017 at 10:02 am

      thank you Jodie. Yes, it is easy to get caught up and overdo things during the holidays. i try to break up activities and take some extra epsom salt baths a swell. enjoy your weekend! jess xx

  • Reply
    December 8, 2017 at 4:19 am

    Hahaha, oh my, those cute little doggies!
    But you mention some great tips there! I have to be carefull these days.To do not as much as I want to, otherwise I am a real mess during Christmas.

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      December 8, 2017 at 10:01 am

      i know, i get a kick when i see that pcture too Nancy. Thank you i am glad you liked the tips. Do take care! i feel like i do need to not do too much as i will pay for it later, when we get home. xx

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