If you experience chronic pain, you know that there are days, weeks even, where you may struggle more to just get out of bed, where the pain is too much to allow you to do your everyday activities.
This can be a difficult thing to accept, especially in a culture that has taught us that productivity is key and well, the rest is basically just us choosing to be lazy.
You know that’s not the case, you know you should be kind to yourself and listen to what you body needs but there’s still that nagging voice telling you that you should be doing more.
If you’re someone that struggles with chronic pain and finds themselves experiencing that narrative, now’s the time to realize the importance of self-care, and just how much you’re doing for yourself and those around you when you practice it.
What is Self-Care?
Self-care refers to the activities you do that put you first – that prioritize your health and well-being both mentally and emotionally.
It’s the act of consciously taking care of your needs.
These activities can be as small as taking a bath or more involved like getting the support of a medical professional, if it’s helping to improve your ability to function and your life in any way, it’s an act of self-care.
Self-care in relation to chronic pain often takes a more preventative and long-term approach (but prioritizing a bath in the evening is just as important, don’t get me wrong) because the goal is to reach a point where your self-care choices are helping you sustain your lifestyle and maintain your symptoms.
Also Read: Brain Health and Quality of Life for Seniors
If you experience chronic-pain, take the time for self-care with these ideas:
Schedule a Massage
Symptom management is one of the best ways you can practice self-care if you experience chronic pain.
For many, the help of a Registered Massage Therapist is essential in the maintenance of their chronic pain related symptoms.
While more research needs to be done, there is modest preliminary evidence that supports the use of massage in managing chronic pain so, if you find that you benefit from massage therapy (or haven’t tried it yet) practice a bit of self-care by scheduling yourself a massage at DCOMPRESS DOWNTOWN – even better, schedule yourself regular appointments, I promise that in the future you will thank you!
This is a tough one for many, while we know that our bodies are physically or emotionally telling us we need to rest, choosing to rest can elicit feelings of guilt, not doing enough, laziness, etc.
While we may think that taking the time to rest when we need it is putting us behind, taking away time from our to-do list, or relationships, the fact is that when we allow ourselves to listen to our bodies and rest when we need it most we are setting ourselves up to function better.
You can’t give tasks and relationships the dedication and presence they deserve if you’re not giving yourself the same.
Be compassionate with yourself when it comes to what you need – especially when all you need is rest.
Make Your Appointments a Priority
When you’re managing chronic pain or any other chronic health condition, one of your main priorities should be the things that help you manage symptoms, maintain function and overall improve your quality of life.
With chronic pain, this often means a big part of your self-care will be making time for your regular appointments – whether they’re medical appointments, visits to Delta Physiotherapy & Rehab, or therapist.
Sometimes it can feel like a lot of work to make, manage and attend these appointments but it’s important to recognize their overall benefit to your health and there are ways to take some of the work out of it – like having your practitioner schedule recurring appointments for you to take all the mental energy of scheduling an appointment off your plate!
Most importantly, be gentle with yourself.
As someone experiencing chronic pain, it can feel like you’re up against a lot, and you are, so allow yourself the compassion you would a friend.
If you need to miss an event to rest or for an appointment, that’s okay there will be others.
You need to take a day off work? You’re not lazy, you’re allowing yourself to recharge so that you can give your work the focus and attention it deserves.
Cancel last minute on a friend? Don’t beat yourself up, you’ll be able to give your relationship the attention it deserves because you made that call.
Self-care can be easy to brush off since it’s become a viral hashtag, but there is something to be said for prioritizing your needs and well-being, especially if you live with chronic pain.
Make sure you’re taking the time to focus on what you can do to better manage your chronic pain and sustain your lifestyle, you’re worth it!