Christmas should be a time of celebration, however it can often feel overwhelming for those living with chronic pain disorder.
Getting through the shopping crowds, preparing Christmas dinner for guests, or decorating the tree – the festive period can sometimes feel like an endless drain on your energy and stamina. Whether this is your first Christmas with the condition, or you’ve had a chronic pain disorder for many years, here are some tried-and-tested tips to help you make the best of the festive season.
Make a to-do list
First things first, make a list of all the things you would like to get done before Christmas. Prioritise them according to importance, and go through the tasks one by one, ticking them off as you go. Savour the sense of achievement, and don’t worry if you don’t make it to the bottom of your list – you can be safe in the knowledge that these tasks were lowest-priority anyway.
Thanks to the ever-rising popularity of online shopping, it’s now easy to get all your Christmas presents delivered without ever having to leave the comfort of your own home! Ordering online can save you valuable time and energy, and can even save you money too, especially if you do your research. If you’re into crafts, you could always order materials and make your own presents, such as homemade candles or personalised photo frames. A thoughtful present, and often a relaxing hobby to occupy you in the festive season.
Stay in touch
With fewer daylight hours and increased stress levels often experienced at this time of year, December can seem like a gloomy month. However, you don’t need to suffer in silence. Stay in touch with friends and family, or reach out to fellow sufferers on Twitter, Facebook, forums and other social media sites.
Don’t be afraid to say no
It’s always hard to turn down an invite, particularly if it’s a special occasion, or it’s from someone you haven’t seen for a long time, but fitting everything in is difficult, and can often leave you feeling drained. It’s important to listen to your body and set realistic expectations based on your energy levels. When prioritising, or deciding whether to attend a particular event, it may be useful to have a checklist of deciding factors, for instance the number of people you will know there, or how far away the venue is.
Let the host know
If you are spending Christmas away from home this year, it’s a good idea to let your host know ahead of time about any dietary requirements or allergies. If you’re worried about inconveniencing them, you could suggest a delicious alternative, or bring a useful side dish to supplement the meal.
It’s easy to get carried away with all the festivities, especially with everyone in high spirits, but it’s also important to pace yourself. That means taking as many breaks as you need, allowing for down time, and stopping when you’ve had enough – all of these steps are crucial to avoid burning out. Staying rested will be worth it in the long run.
The cold can often aggravate some of chronic pain syndrome symptoms, so ensure you keep wrapped up and warm whether you’re at home or outside.
Minimise Christmas dinner stress
An easy way to take the stress out of cooking Christmas dinner is asking your guests to bring one dish each. Not only will this add a nice variety to the seasonal offerings, but it will help to reduce the stress of cooking, so that you spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying yourself.
Rest and recover
As the festive season draws to a close, take a few days to recuperate. Put your feet up, relax and give yourself a big pat on the back!
We do not endorse any research, studies or sources mentioned within our blogs and comments. Furthermore, we do not endorse any medical advice provided, and would strongly recommend anyone seeking medical advice to contact their local healthcare provider.