Nationwide, 76 million people are suffering with chronic pain every day. Start scheduling time for good health every day. Whether you have chronic pain, care for someone with chronic pain or just want to stay as healthy as you can, the following are simple themes for each day.
Sunday is a good day to schedule rest. Your assignment for today is to block out time for something you enjoy that is relaxing. It could be watching a sunset, taking a long bubble bath or listening to your favorite music. It’s important that you actually schedule an activity, though you can change it when the time comes. This isn’t something that you think may happen, you plan for it, expect it and enjoy every minute of it.
“Everything you can imagine is real.”
Let yourself watch the clouds and see what shapes you can identify. Appreciate the beauty of outdoor flowers and allow yourself to follow a bee or a bug as it moves along. You’ll notice and appreciate colors, shapes and smells you never did before. Try visualization: sit in a comfortable position where it is quiet or you can play soft music. As much as possible, let others know not to disturb you. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a favorite place from memories past or a place you want to visit. Clearly see yourself in your mind’s eye. What are you wearing? If you are outside, how is the weather? Feel the sun on your face and the sand or grass beneath your toes.
See yourself smiling and happy. Let your mind wander to enjoy every detail. There is no pain, only happiness. Allow yourself to stay in this place for up to 20 minutes. At first, it may only be a few minutes. Just accept whatever happens and gently try again next week. Each time you will relax more and enjoy it longer. There are guided imagery tapes available in most bookstores or on-line which can be helpful for some people.
The important point is to let yourself relax. Time is a gift you give to yourself. Everyone deserves it. You’ll be amazed how much brighter your world looks when you take some reflective, quiet time every Sunday.
Monday is Me Day
Monday is a time to ease back into the week. Be sure to schedule something pampering. Do you get your nails done or schedule regular massages, if not start now. If you can’t go out or can’t afford to pay for services weekly, paint your toenails or have a friend do yours and you do hers. If you aren’t into nails, you can soak your feet or buy a paraffin wax treatment heater to dip your hands into. After all you’ll be using it every Monday. You can do the same activity weekly or change it. It’s important to schedule it just like an appointment. This is not fluff, it really helps on an emotional and physical level to know that you deserve this and make it a priority.
“I think you earn the right to do things the way you want to do them.”
Tuesday Is News Day
Tuesday is a great day to look for new tips and ideas. Do you belong to the association for your health condition (i.e. arthritis, fibromyalgia), if not join, go on-line and learn about it or order free information. If you don’t have a formal diagnosis, read about your symptoms. Stay open to new and different treatments that may be helpful for you. Take time to read through newsletters, related magazine articles and the newspapers. Staying informed and updated is the best way to be your own advocate.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can
change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”
If you are feeling too fatigued or unable to concentrate when you go to the doctor, ask a trusted friend or family member to go with you. When you are hurting it can be hard to keep track of everything. Go over questions ahead of time and ask your support person to step in if everything isn’t asked or answered. You have the right to have your report of pain taken seriously.
Contact resources for support and more information.
It’s highly recommend that everyone contact and join the association for your own condition as well as the other ones listed, to meet others in your situation, get the latest updates on research and legislation and to make a difference for yourself and others.
Wednesday Is Week Hump Day
The weekend is in sight! Be sure to tell yourself what a good job you are doing. Post positive affirmations on your bedroom and bathroom mirrors. Give yourself words of encouragement just as you would talk to your child or good friend. Criticizing yourself only brings you down mentally and physically. Staying as positive and hopeful as you can about your situation and especially about yourself is one of the most important techniques that you can incorporate to help yourself.
“Pain nourishes courage. You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.”
-Mary Tyler Moore
Consciously tell yourself positive thoughts throughout the day. It’s important to have the same thoughts everywhere you look as you will forget and see it subconsciously. When you start to criticize yourself, see a stop sign in your mind or blink your eyes. Whatever signal works for you, you can train yourself to stop the negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. You help yourself when you think and feel positive. It’s a healing technique only you can do for yourself.
Another technique to think and feel more positive is to reframe something that seems bad into the positive. We have all heard the saying, “is the glass half empty or half full?” When you can see every situation, as half full, you will have a positive impact on your perceptions, which is very helpful in coping with your pain. As Mary Tyler Moore is quoted above, look at your pain as giving you courage. What other benefits have you developed because of your pain?
Thursday Is Time Out
Thursday is your day to go out. Whether you meet someone for dinner, talk a walk in the park or sit on your front porch. If you are homebound, spend time looking out your window. Ask someone to put a birdfeeder up for you or just enjoy watching people and traffic go by. If it’s possible to get out, make this your day. Of course you can do things on other days, but this is the day you go out to do what you enjoy. A change of scenery is good for the mind and soul.
“Curious things, habits. People themselves never knew they had them.”
What else would you like to do? Cut out pictures and words from magazines and paste them on a piece of paper making a collage. This can put your wishes into a vision and make it more possible for you. Hang it where you will see it regularly. This is a feel good exercise for you, there are no boundaries. It feels good to be open to possibilities.
Friday Is Friends Day
Do you have friends or relatives you never seem to talk to? This is the day to call them. If possible schedule a regular activity with a friend whether it’s meeting at the movies or just having coffee. This can also be a good day to meet new friends. Attend a support group meeting, go on-line for a chat room with your related health concerns or call a help line. If you’re able, volunteer to make phone calls to shut-ins or other people needing attention. One of the best ways to feel better is to do what you can for someone else. If you need ideas, call your related association or your state pain initiative; they will appreciate whatever you can do. Be a friend, reach out to friends-it’s the day to cherish our relationships.
“There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.”
Saturday Is Silly
Saturday is a good day to let your silly side shine. Read the comics; watch a funny movie on TV, or meet a friend at the dollar store. Do something fun and different. Do things you enjoy and be open to doing activities that are new or you don’t think you’d like. Expand your horizons. Associate with positive, upbeat people. Lighten up! Don’t take yourself or anyone else too seriously. Life is more enjoyable when you are having fun.
“Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!”
Be willing to try something even if you’ve never enjoyed it in the past. It’s amazing that tastes change. The more open you are to different ways to have fun, the more fun you will have.
Since it usually takes 21 to 30 days to form a new habit, if you incorporate these suggestions into your weekly routine using the weekly planner to move beyond chronic pain, you will feel a healthier difference by the end of the month.
If you incorporate the tips that go with each day of the week every day during September, you will start to have more good days. Life will become more enjoyable. The longer you practice these ideas and others the easier they will become, until you have a healthier lifestyle. A life with chronic pain can be a life enjoyed and lived well. Here’s to your good health.