08 Dec 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!
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