Ten Tips for managing pain during the holiday season
(plus a free bonus holiday tip)
It's supposed to be the "most wonderful time of the year," but the rush of the holiday season can leave many people anxiety-ridden. Juggling competing demands, such as work, visiting relatives, parties, cooking and Christmas shopping at crowded shopping centres, can be stressful. And stress aggravates many persistent pain conditions and can cause pain flare ups. It's important to pace yourself and build in deep breathing (from your diaphragm).
Here are some helpful tips to reduce stress and help ease pain around the holidays:
1. Get organized and plan ahead!
Make to-do lists and delegate tasks to trusted family and friends, so you won't feel overwhelmed.
2. Don't feel pressured to entertain house guests.
Tell them to make themselves at home and show them where to find the essentials (e.g., towels, drinks and snacks). Surround yourself with people who are supportive of you and will pitch in and help.
3. Look after yourself.
As hard as it might be, put your own needs first. If you feel the need to withdraw to another room to rest, do so. Pass on activities that you're only doing out of obligation; instead, concentrate on those that are important to you. You'll be able to enjoy the festivities much more as a result.
4. Prepare food well in advance
or, better yet, consider hosting a BYO dinner. Order a ham instead of cooking it yourself. If you decide you want to chop vegetables or peel potatoes, do it sitting down rather than hunched over the kitchen bench.
5. Stay on top of your treatment plan
and plan ahead to avoid interruptions in routine care. Don't let your treatment slip over the holidays. Talk with your GP to find out who you should see over the holidays, so you get help when you need it. Be sure to have enough medications on hand as many chemists are closed (or have limited days/hours of opening).
6. Set expectations.
It's difficult to enjoy time with family and friends when you have too many responsibilities and not enough time. Talk openly with family and friends about what activities you think you may or may not be able to handle.
7. Pay attention to your mood.
The holidays have a way of reminding us of loss and how things could have been. If you have the holiday blues, talking about your feelings with friends and family may help.
8. Keep up with regular sleep patterns
eat healthy meals, exercise within your limitations and stay hydrated. If you don't already, consider practicing relaxation techniques, including deep breathing and visualization, to help ease stress.
9. Avoid crowded shops.
Standing in long queues and fighting against crowds of people may worsen your pain. Think about shopping on-line instead.
10. Keep a healthy sense of humour.
Remember that not everything has to be perfect.
11. Join us and take out APMA membership
- for support, advice, encouragement and friendship. As part of your membership, attend one of our Pain Support Groups – you’ll meet new friends and find you are not alone. Go on, give yourself a present.