Each year, the holiday season is filled with parties, family gatherings, and festivities. But for those living with chronic pain and illnesses, it’s also filled with anxiety. If the stress of the holidays is worsening your battle with your illness, you should know that you’re not alone—the holidays are hard for everyone with a chronic illness. That’s why our pain management doctors at the offices of Dr. Raul Martinez have compiled a list of tips for coping with chronic pain during the holidays and traveling with chronic pain. Read on to learn about chronic pain management strategies you can implement this holiday season, courtesy of our expert Texas pain specialists serving San Antonio.
1. Put Your Health First and Set Boundaries.
You may find yourself tempted to put off your doctor’s visits in order to make your office Christmas party. But it’s important to put your health first, even when other obligations arise. Don’t be afraid to politely decline invitations if you need to do so. Also, don’t feel obligated to stay for the entire duration of an event—you always have the option to let the host know that you’ll only be able to stay for an hour, and that’s okay. If you’re comfortable doing so, you can discuss your health limitations with your relatives and let them know why you can’t stay as long as you’d like to. And for those events that you absolutely can’t miss, keep the following tips in mind:
2. Ask For Help, and Try Not To Isolate Yourself.
You don’t have to do this alone. Ask your loved ones for help whenever you can. You can ask relatives to bring side dishes to your holiday party, or ask a friend to stay late with you and help clean up. Most likely, they will be happy to help, and delegating tasks in this way will help you preserve your energy so you can spend more time with the people you love.
If you’re struggling with depression or mental illness, you may find it tempting to isolate yourself from your loved ones—but this will likely increase your stress. If you can’t bring yourself to spend time with your relatives, volunteering can be a great alternative and is an excellent way to boost your mood and stay connected with others.
3. Shop Online.
Online shopping is a great option for people struggling with chronic health conditions because you can save yourself a trip to the store and conserve your energy. Most online retailers now offer gift wrapping options as well.
4. Get Plenty of Rest, Stay Active, and Eat Well.
Make sure you’re setting aside plenty of time to rest, be active, and eat well—all of these things can greatly influence your mood and wellbeing. Many health conditions—such as fibromyalgia, autoimmune diseases, and depression—can be exacerbated by eating the wrong foods, so try to be mindful of your diet and treat your body well.
5. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others.
Remember, you don’t have to send Christmas cards, or bake cookies from scratch, or attend every party—even if it feels like everyone else is doing these things. There’s no shame in store-bought cookies or skipping cards. Resist the temptation to compare yourself to others, and remember that there’s no wrong way to celebrate the holidays—you can make your own rules.
If You’re Struggling, Schedule an Appointment With a Qualified Physician
If pain and fatigue are wearing you down, pain management doctors can help you get your symptoms under control so you can get your life back on track. Our Texas pain specialists at the offices of Dr. Raul Martinez have helped thousands of patients like you with chronic pain management, and we design custom treatment plans for each of our patients—meaning you’ll receive individualized care based on your unique needs.
Whether you’re worried about traveling with chronic pain, looking for a second opinion about your condition, or are just hoping to learn about treatment options, we’re here for you. To schedule an appointment at our San Antonio clinic, fill out our patient forms, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Don’t wait—relief is right around the corner, and we want to help.