Wishing you a happy holiday season and a healthy dose of self-care
“The holidays can be exhausting. Chronic pain doesn’t care that it’s the holidays. It’s supposed to be busy and you’re supposed to have a good time. The pain will still be there and the increase in activities can make it so much worse.” 
From Yule and Hanukkah to Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hogmanay and New Year’s Eve – this time of the year is filled with celebrations from all different cultures and backgrounds.
Unfortunately, chronic pain isn’t magically cured just because it’s December. No surprises there! While the holiday season can be a wonderful time of festivities, it can also be overwhelming, stressful and challenging for those living with persistent pain. With high expectations for this time of the year, we are tempted to push ourselves beyond the point of exhaustion. For chronic pain patients, this can lead to pain flares and increased fatigue. That is why managing stress, pacing activities and setting boundaries with family and friends is key to enjoying the holiday season.
At this time of the year, being able to say no is more important than ever. Take the time to determine your priorities and be realistic about how much you can do and what it is you want to be doing. It is easy to get carried away in holiday excitement, but be careful not to overuse your “spoons“. Listen to your body and take time to rest when you need it. Pushing yourself beyond your limitations to please others will generally backfire. Let go of any guilt around resting and remember that by pacing your activities you are conserving your energy for the things that are most important.
For those who aren’t able to be with family and friends during this season or who may be struggling with feelings of isolation and loneliness, remember you are not alone. Reaching out to online support groups and talking with others living with pain can be a great way to feel connected during the holiday season.
Whatever your situation, we hope you enjoy this time of the year and practice self-compassion. It is not easy being in pain. Be kind to yourself and remember that you are doing your best.
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