If there’s one thing in life I know like the back of my hand, it is chronic pain. Recently during a flare-up triggered by college and stress, I created a list of all the ways I could cope. Here is a list of tools I wanted to share with you or anyone who may benefit. Please share with anyone you know who has chronic pain.
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13 Ways to Cope with Chronic Pain:
1. Music. Listen to music that makes you get tingles down your spine and makes you want to get up and sing! Increased serotonin and dopamine helps fight fatigue, sadness, the stress hormone “cortisol”, and keeps you feeling good! Singing also soothes the soul.
2. Have a playlist of your favorite workouts, yoga, or dance videos. Chronic pain tends to get worse the less you move the body, so find your favorite way to move and shake what your mama gave you! 😊
(I’ve recently began Pilates, and for someone who has severe Musculoskeletal, nerve, and connective tissue disorders- I find the exercises to be effective, gentle, and relieving! Give it a try. 😁)
3. Rest! As much as you should move, make sure there is a healthy balance. Try to create a schedule where you wake up and go to bed around the same time. This will allow your body time to heal properly, and a schedule helps prepare the body!😌
Also, try to remove stimulants before bed: coffee, lights, electronics, Bluetooth, upbeat music. These will make it even harder for you to focus on relaxing. Try picking up an interesting book, writing, or listening to calming music instead! Make sure you’re in a low light environment, melatonin is produced when there is less light- this includes your phone!!
4. Meditation. You don’t need to meditate for hours upon hours, 5-10 minutes will do. Taking a moment to connect with your body and tapping into the present can make a big difference. Allow yourself time to breathe deeply and relax. My favorite times to meditate are before I go to sleep and before I start my day.
5. Avoid unhealthy foods! Now, I’m not saying avoid all guilty pleasures, but definitely cut back- especially if it’s during a flair up. Try soothing teas, veggies and fruits. These will help ease the stress and inflammation in your body! Avoid hard foods to digest like dairy, grease, and processed sugar. These can weaken your immune system and make it even harder for your body to recover!
6. Take your vitamins and medicine! If you have medication that you must take, make sure you take it everyday on schedule. This will save yourself time and stress, along with your body. If it’s hard for you to remember, consider setting alarms and keeping a planner.
Since most people do not get the recommended amount of vitamins in their diets, we must incorporate them through supplements, etc. Seamoss is one of my favorites! It is packed with over 90% of the nutrients our bodies need everyday. It comes as gel, capsules, and dried. It helps with inflammation, digestion, immune system, weight management, natural energy, and much more! (I recommend capsules because the gel has a very ocean-y taste. Although, I do notice that the gel works significantly better than the capsules.)
7. Drink your water!!!! I shoot for 64 oz a day, but this will differ with your body weight. Proper hydration helps keep our muscles flexible, keeps our organs healthy, and fights fatigue. Our bodies are over 70% water, so please don’t bamboozle yourself. Keep in mind, the quality of your water is just as important. Water stripped of all its nutrients with added chemicals is just as bad as not drinking water at all!!!!
8. Get out in nature and connect with animals. Petting animals and breathing fresh air naturally helps us connect to our inner peace. It reminds us of the simplicity in life. Try it, go find a dog, cat, or even a guinea pig and tell me how happy you feel afterwards! I pet my guinea pig whenever I notice I’m stressing out, works every time. 😊
9. Spend time with those you care about and avoid people who drain your energy. Stress is a huge factor when it comes to chronic pain management. Personally, whenever I get too stressed out my immune system is compromised and my nervous system is flared up… not a good time. Protect your energy and work to maintain a peaceful, non-cluttered aura! Don’t forget, cleansing your energy is just as important as taking a shower everyday!
10. Allow yourself a safe space to vent. Whether it’s to a trustworthy friend (with their consent of course), therapist, diary videos, or even writing- allow yourself a space where you can release the negative energy inside. Chronic pain is a difficult challenge to live with, so be patient & gentle with yourself.
11. Heat/ice, creams, and aroma therapy. Although these are more short term fixes, they are small acts of self care. We all should incorporate more self care in to our lives. After all, who are we left with at the end of each day? ♥️
12. Don’t forget to have fun. It can be easy to get caught up in pain. Thoughts like “It will never end” pop up, and although it feels like that in the moment, we shouldn’t deprive ourselves of the small pleasures in life. Watch that movie, start that new hobby, buy those flowers. Take time to appreciate the small things in life, even when they feel so insignificant in moments of stress. They can help bring you back to the present and see the situation from a higher perspective.
13. Last but not least, find time for gratitude. Set aside time to write down, speak out loud, or simply think about all of the things you are grateful for in life. The more we practice actively seeking things to be grateful for, the easier blessings will naturally occur in our lives. Who knows, you might even find a way to be grateful for the challenge of chronic pain.
Thank you so much for reading and please comment if you have any other tips.
Let me know if these helped you 🙂