April 13: 10 Things That Help Me Cope with Pain

1. Organization. For me it means less wasted time, less stress, and more peace of mind. It also gives me a sense of predictability. It may sound odd, but I prefer to know that at a certain date and time I will have more pain. That way I can schedule more and less painful activities with confidence. I am not saying that I can always predict bad pain days, however I do benefit from trying to organize my time and activities as much as possible. But its not easy. Hubs is fundamentally disorganized. (Heavy sigh.)

2. My pet. Hubs and I share our home with an angry bunny. He is tyrannical, unforgiving, and not even remotely affectionate. He chews electrical cords and could probably eat an entire chair if he was in the mood. We once bought some tubing to protect both the bun and the electrical cords. While Hubs dutifully began applying the tubing, Bun marched forward and happily began snacking upon it. I do not recommend bringing a bun into your life unless you have a fantastic sense of humor.

3. Assertiveness. Sometimes I have to put my needs ahead of the wants of others. And that is perfectly ok.

4. Focus demanding activities. These include anything that demands enough of my attention to distract my mind from the pain. Balancing exercises are on the top of my list, including some basic yoga poses and the Pilates standing leg series. Free weights also demand some focus, especially while listening to music at the same time. I also like trying new and complicated recipes on my good days, and then there is always capturing the Bun and brushing his fur. That requires all my focusing power.

5. Friendship.

6. A purpose.

7. Intimacy.

8. My tips for sleeping with pain.

9. Pain sensitivity. Luckily, I have some early warning pains before the pain gets really ‘I can’t handle this’ bad. For years I ignored these early signs. I suppose at the time I was thinking that I could stave off the pain by ignoring it as much as possible. Now I trust in my sensitivity to increased burning or stabbing sensations to save me from further suffering, and maybe even from a flare-up. How? I switch to another activity as soon as I can. If I can’t do that, then I use a variety of coping tools until I can change the activity.

Most importantly, I stay mindful of the fact that I need to be careful. Even if I feel up to it later, the dishes and the laundry will have to wait until I am feeling better.

10. The ability to enjoy the little things in life. Its a real gift to find happiness easily, and to find it in the little joys of daily life. I’m so grateful for it.