Some fundamentals we use to manage our chronic pain
When in pain distract the brain
This is like a fundamental rule of pain. When we ruminate on the pain? It is like we become saturated with it. Like it consumes our brain. Because pain is inherently a distraction. It already takes our attention naturally. And it makes certain things more difficult to do as a result. More pain, less concentration, focus, and memory. At a certain level, we can do other things and distract some of that attention from the pain. But when the level exceeds a certain point, which is different for everyone, we can no longer do so.
We all have things we do to distract the brain. I love to read or write. Other play video games, knit, colour or garden. Not to mention work, which comes with its own set of complications, is also a fine distraction as well… there are perks to work with chronic pain certainly when one has the capacity to do it.
Moderation is something where we learn this pain, fatigue and life balance. It is about pacing and limits really. It is also about still managing to do things we want to do in our lives. For example, I have a family event coming up this Sunday and I want to go to it, so I will. I will pace myself and I will plan for a migraine that may happen and the pain that also may become worse while I am out and about. My pacing. I will make sure not to exceed my limits. Then I also scheduled the next day off from work because due to the extra fatigue and expending of energy I always account for one recovery day. Again, another pacing technique. This is also used on vacations. Account for a recovery day when you arrive and account for recovery when you return.
The way I see it is just Moderation in all things. I do events and activities but I may not be there for as long. I may not be as socially active as other people. I take the time to recover, de-stress. I actively do things to de-stress like meditation. Society is the Hare and I am the Tortoise. I will, and do, turn down things I know will exceed my limits in pain or fatigue or there is no recovery time. And I am fine with that. Pacing is very important for chronic illness management. And I feel so much better when I pace.
The No, or Hell No
We have to learn to say No, or Hell No. Certain times of the year this becomes vital. Like Christmas and you are asked to host dinner and are invited to 5 parties. And you feel obliged to go to them all. Or people ask you for a favour. Or you have two social events near each other and you know if you go to both you’ll be wiped right out.
We have to learn to say no. Pick the one we will go to and stick to that. Whichever works best for us really. Which one is closer, will be less fatiguing and not as long in duration.
I used to be so bad at saying no but much better at it now that I realize I need a lifestyle of moderation. To keep to it I have to manage my pacing. Simple as that. I feel so much worse when I do not.
Napping is your friend
They say if you nap make sure it is in the early afternoon so it doesn’t disrupt sleep. But for fatigue management, they suggest having a short nap before you go out and do something and a short nap when you return to recover. Just short little naps to help with fatigue management. It helps a great deal.