Don’t let chronic pain get the better of you – explore your self care options
Living with chronic pain, fatigue, anxiety etc can leave our bodies in constant fight or flight mode. Which is not an easy place to be caught up in, trust me, I know how it feels! But with years of experience also comes years of creative self-care experimenting. So I thought I would share my top ten self care things that are in my daily survival kit for self-managing myself out of the flight or flight scary flare zone.
What helps me might help you
Now I am not saying these will cure you if only they would. But they might help to distract, relax, energise your feel-good chemicals or send you to sleep! I am hoping by sharing my experiences of what helps me it can encourage you to explore to find what works for you. If you try any please stop by and let me know how you got on. Likewise, if YOU have any suggestions for me then do share them in the comments below – I’m always on the lookout for new things to try that will help me to Feel Good. Anyway, hope you like my selection…
Flare up plan
Last year I was a patient on the Active Back Programme at Stanmore. Over three weeks they taught me so much about pain, my body and my mental health. They also helped me to create a flare-up plan. This has been an extremely valuable tool that I was able to share with my family. It has helped them to understand that when I am in a flare I am not able to communicate effectively so if they refer to plan they can offer support. Writing a plan really helps you figure out what you should be doing before it happens, that way you can feel in more control.
My go to when I start to feel pain is my trusty hot water bottle. I have also prepped my family that if they see me struggling to offer me a hot water bottle as sometimes I forget about the simple things! My personal experience of travelling in a car is that having a hot water bottle helps to take the edge of the
Having a wide range of pillows at hand is vital to keep you as comfortable as possible when pain or fatigue strikes. This can be slightly annoying if you share a bed or sofa with anyone!
I have been known to carry a cushion around with me – hidden in a tote bag. When you are out and about their aren’t many places that offer comfortable seating. They tend to go for practical which often means uncomfortable seating. For those of you who experience pain or numbness, you will understand my dismay when all I see are hard, cold seats. So it is better to be prepared than to risk a flare.
During winter months I use a huge scarf as it is easier for me to carry, keeps me warm and no-one questions why I am sitting on it!
I carry my sketch pad with me. It helps me when I am travelling – don’t worry I don’t drive so I am safe doodling when on a train or on a bus! I find it useful when I am in meetings as it allows me to jot or doodle down what is going on. This not only acts as an aide memoir but also allows me to contextualise what is being said. Chronic pain and ME/CFS can both cause brain fog which can make conversations hard as you have a tendency to forget what you are saying and or you lose the thread of conversations. I highly recommend giving doodling a go – if you are not sure where to start. To find out how I started doodling check out ‘story of an idea’ as it will also give you a rundown on how doodling can make you happy!
Weapons of mass creation
Otherwise known as pens and pencils! My pencil case has an array of different pens but my go to are Micron fine liners. The multi-pack is a must as it means you can experiment with a range of thickness. They are perfect for sketching, hand lettering and doodling. As for pencils I prefer to use a mechanical pencil and Pentel are by far my favourite brand. Once again I buy the multi-pack so I have a choice of thickness. They also come with a handy eraser on the top that is perfect for small mistakes.
Creativity is a huge distraction for me – it helps me to focus on something else rather than pain or anxiety. Creativity with a purpose adds an extra element of Feel Goodness as you are actually creating something for someone or something. I love making Feel Good messages – needles, a piece of
Although it is good to have a detox from tech it is also handy to have your phone around when you are not feeling good as there are so many apps and sites that can help you to relax. It is vital you remember to keep your charger handy! some of my faves…
- Skillshare – I have been using this for ages now and I love it! On-demand creative classes taught by experts – get a two-month free trial to see if you like it
- Youtube – I have saved lots of handy videos to my playlist so whenever I need to relax, breathe properly, be motivated or listen to music I access the app
- Instagram – a place of inspiration! I only follow accounts that make me feel good.
- Headspace – you can access sessions for free to see if you like it before subscribing
- Word Swag – create amazing text over your photos in minutes!
A hug in a mug
Tea is my fave tipple, so having a selection of brews is essential. Although drinking anything with caffeine after 2 can mean sleep is disturbed. So I am always on the lookout for tasty teas that will hit the spot no matter what time of day. Have you tried Queen Of Camilla’s amazing blends of herbal teas? They are
when all else fails take a bath and go to bed
Ever since reading an article about the benefits of Epsom Salts I have been hooked! So when things get too much I fill up the bath, add some salts and a few drops of lavender oil and let them work their magic before hitting the sack or my multitude of pillows! Be careful though adding too much lavender can have the adverse effect by actually stimulating you…so only add a couple of drops if you want their relaxing qualities to take hold. If you want more info about Epsom Salts there is plenty. here is one I found earlier on Epsom Salts and back pain.
Sleep tight night night
There is nothing better than retiring to your own little sanctuary aka your bedroom. So for Christmas, I asked for a diffuser so I can create a sense of calm and a smell of zen! I can now experiment with my collection of oils as my weary body prepares for sleep. To help me on my way I like to play one of the many bedtime meditations I have found on Youtube which will hopefully help me to dream of being a mermaid!
Extra special something from me to you
I have doodled a Feel Good quote especially for you, when you enter your details for the monthly roundup you will receive it in your inbox
Over to you…
If you have liked what you have read or have suggestions for me to try please do stop by and write a comment below. Likewise if you know someone who would like this post please feel free to share using the buttons below. Thank you for stopping by Melissa x