The holiday season can be a time of joy and love, but for people with chronic pain during the holidays it can be a time of joy, happiness and also stress, anxiety, sadness, depression, frustration, and increased pain.
Pacing, and Delegating:
There is often too much to do over the holidays, but how much do we REALLY need to do? Let’s be realistic about how much you can do, and think about what is really important for you to do. Request the help of others to help prepare some of the food, decorate, shop, or whatever you may need, so that you have more energy for the things that really matter to you. LET”S EMBRACE the “Less is More” philosophy!
Mood and Stress:
Depression and anxiety are often increased around the holidays and in the winter, which makes chronic pain worse, and makes it harder to do the things you need to do to manage your chronic pain. If this has been your pattern, start thinking now about how to manage the anxiety and depression before you get too caught up in a downward spiral. What has helped you in the past? What other techniques could you try? If you see a therapist or counselor, ask them to help you plan.
Let go of the idea of perfection. The best memories are about being together, more than how perfect the setting was or wasn’t. Nobody is happy if you exhaust yourself making everything perfect.
Practice gratitude. Focus on what you have rather than what you don’t have. Consider volunteering, which can get you out of the house and away from family stressors, while letting you help someone else in need for a few hours.
We often engage in a lot of unhealthy behaviors over the holidays, like eating and or drinking too much, staying up too late, not exercising.Some may even have and emotional attachment compulsion to food or drink, if you do look into over eaters anonymous oa.org or AA aa.org
We are also more likely to be exposed to viruses, like the cold or flu, when in a large gathering or traveling. Overindulgence and illness have a direct impact on pain, and can make life pretty miserable. Especially over the holidays, it’s important to pay attention to ways to stay healthy. Limit or avoid alcohol; avoid eating large, heavy meals; stay hydrated and take your vitamins.
Keep to Your Routine
Many pain medications work best if they are taken on a regular schedule, but this can be hard to do when schedules are disrupted by holiday activities. Use your phone or a medication alarm so that you don’t get distracted and miss medication doses. Make sure you will not run out of medications while your provider’s office is closed over the holidays, and address any potential problems early
Keep Your Medicine from children and others Make sure all medications are kept locked away from family and friends who may find them accidentally or on purpose. “Hidden” is not good enough. Be especially vigilant where children are concerned
Remember Christmas is about celebrating the birth of our Lord – what ever pain or issues you may be dealing with take them to God- Our Higher Power is always there.
Have a Safe and Merry Christmas