Tuesday

Simple stress management tips

There is inevitable and unavoidable stress associated with the holiday season and add this to a life living with a chronic illness, which usually means chronic pain, and the stress is compounded.
I am glad you are here and reading this and I hope you find something helpful and worthwhile to help you or a loved one cope with the added stress at this time of the year.

Remember to take care of yourself. 
The words self care make me cringe but we just must look after ourselves to even feel vaguely normal at the best of times so this is even more important now.

Whenever you remember take 3 deep breaths. Breathe in the good and let go the bad...
I do this whenever I get in my car to drive anywhere and at other times when I feel overwhelmed and it has become a helpful habit very quickly. It sounds stupid but just 3 deep breaths and I can feel the tension subside.

self care ideas

Choose to see the good stuff.
Try and stay on positive topics and with positive people. When I am feeling overwhelmed gossip and bad news and drama and negative talking really drags me down further. 

Laughing and humor and comedy shows make me feel good especially if enjoyed with others. In some strange way laughter reduces pain and allows us to tolerate discomfort.

Also listen to your own ‘self-talk' because often we can be in a habit of saying negative things in our heads that just add to our stress. This is unhelpful so try and realize what you are doing and change the tape you are playing  - instead of saying ‘I can't cope' say 'it's time to take a break' or 'calm down' or 'others can help do this too'.  


Nature and being outdoors really can be a breath of fresh air. Sometimes I am so low I don't want to go out and see people but I have found that going for a walk at dusk or at night is also a great way to rejuvenate. There is no one around where I live, they are all in their houses, and no bright sunlight (which does affect my eye health) and I feel better after just a 5 minute walk. It is also calming to look at the sky, the clouds, the stars and the moon and feel the breeze or even the gentle rain. 

Find your own joy.
Let go of the shoulds and the old traditions and do what makes you feel good.  Create new traditions that are simple and easy to maintain within your life and your capabilities. As an example, at Christmas do we really need to send christmas cards, when we can send a group email? Do we really have to have all the relatives over for lunch when we could make a new tradition of meeting for Christmas Carols at the local Christmas event or church? 


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