Posted by: painreliefcoach | May 1, 2008

Be Realistic

Set realistic goals.  Most people heal slowly.  Some people stabilize and don’t progress further.  Whatever your situation is, set reachable, realistic goals for your health.  If you feel frustrated or are having trouble reaching your goal, set a more attainable goal.  Be gentle with yourself; healing often occurs in small ways.


When you disregard your goal or attempt to deny your pain and engage in behavior, diet or activity that aggravates your condition, you are sabotaging yourself.


Linder was divorced with three grown children. She had a masters degree in nursing and had been able to support herself, until her multiple health problems became worse and worse. She was in and out of the hospital so many times she couldn’t hold a job. She moved in with her mother and stepfather, going on disability.


Linda became very depressed and discouraged. Her mother and stepfather argued a lot. Her elderly grandmother also lived there and ruled everyone with her whims. If Linda needed a ride to the doctor the same time Grandma wanted to go to the Dollar Store. Grandma always came first.


Linda’s chronic pain became worse. She had trouble sleeping, concentrating and went into a deep depression. She felt guilty that her mother was caring for everyone without support. When she would have a good day, she would cook a big dinner and mop floors, sending herself in a backslide with her pain. Her family told her if she could do things one day they didn’t understand why she couldn’t the next. She would try harder to appease them and it became a vicious cycle.


Linda realized she had to make her own quality of life a priority. She called around to community resources and used supports that were available to her like van rides, counseling and financial assistance. She kept doctors appointments and arranged her own transportation.


Linda asked her children to help with chores that were too much for her and her mother or stepfather to do, like yard work and heavy cleaning. When friends, neighbors or church members offered to do something, she started accepting. She made simpler meals a couple times a week, instead of a big dinner that exhausted her. For family parties and holidays, she had potluck dinners and bought sides and desserts instead of making them.


She started volunteering two half-days a week at a local nursing home. She made friends, enjoyed what she did and felt appreciated again.


Linda’s health was stabilizing. Due to her pacing, support and improved outlook, she was out of her roller coaster cycle. She set a goal to move into her own apartment. Linda knew she could easily get caught up in wanting to move; it would be easy to overdo things again and restart her cycle. She has been running into numerous obstacles with her apartment goal. However, she continues to pace herself and do the things she knows she needs to do to maintain stability. Linda is committed to persevere in her goal. She knows her progress is about direction.


Each time you backslide, it’s harder to regroup.  No one is perfect and you’ll have times when you have contributed to a flare-up.  Refocus.  Are you being too rigid?  Can you meet the goal you’ve set?  Is it realistic?  Is the goal achievable?  Do you need to set a smaller goal?  It feels good to reach a goal.  It’s frustrating to have one out of reach.  Be fair to yourself.  Set realistic goals.




  1. Yes pain management is a process that takes time, some progress slower than others. My Grandmother also suffers from chronic pain, but she is improving. She eats healthier, stays more active, and incorporates some alternative medicines also. That’s a great article, really hit home for me personally. Thank you.

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