Christmas is a challenging time for many people.
It is especially difficult if you are suffering chronic pain because of the busyness of the time of year, expectations, emotions and cold weather to name a few.
What can you do?
Here are some ideas that I share with the people, as it’s a common question I’m asked in December.
1. Make a flexible plan
Write out a plan each day with the different activities you want to do and decide how you will do them. It may not turn out this way exactly, but it gives you a framework.
2. Choose your approach
What will be your style? Your intent? Putting it out there helps you to focus. You can check in periodically to see if you are on track and make adjustments.
For example, I will look out for joy in myself and others. This intent brings joy onto your radar. We know the more you look for it, the more you see and feel.
Or something more general: I will do my best.
3. Keep your routine as best you can
What does your practice look like? Your practice is the different habits you have in line with being well; eg/ regular movement, breathing, mindfulness, prioritising sleep, diet, pursuing a purpose.
Which of these can you keep through the festive period? You can put them on your plan. Occasionally you may miss one because something else is happening. Being able to accept this rather than worry is important. You are doing your best.
You are still doing your best if your plan changes.
You can be doing your best and still have pain — but you keep up with your practice because you know that this is a route of wellness. Just as a musician continues to practice even when they hit the wrong note, a sportsperson continues their practice even when the game doesn’t go to plan and you continue cleaning your teeth each day even though you see little difference.
Share your plan with those around you. Clear communication means people can understand what you are doing and their role in helping.
Take time out through the day at regular points to refresh and renew. Eg/ a breathing practice, imagery or going to a quiet space. Consistency is key to manage your energy levels.
6. Breathing awareness
Sitting upright and relaxed, close your eyes. Become aware of your body, knowing that you are sitting. Bring your attention to your breathing. You don’t need to control or change it. Just follow it in and out. This can be for a few breaths or a few minutes. Feel what happens in your body as you breathe out.
If your mind wanders, come back to your breath each time.
What other practical things can you do to experience joy?
The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu share their thoughts in this wonderful book; The Book of Joy. A gift for someone or for you.
💥 I am Richmond. I help you understand, ease and overcome your chronic pain by living life and using practical skills and tools.
💥 And mentor clinicians/therapists who help people who are suffering 😊.