Living with chronic pain may change your holidays, but you can still have enjoyable and meaningful celebrations. Although chronic pain may make some holiday traditions challenging, it doesn't mean you can't enjoy connecting with friends and family during the holiday season. By communicating your limitations due to chronic pain, being flexible, and adjusting your expectations, you can help make sure the holidays are happy and memorable.
Communicate Your Needs
Let your loved ones know that connecting with them over the holidays is as important as ever to you, but chronic pain is making it hard to plan as usual. Stress can trigger flares in many conditions that cause chronic pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia, so you need to put your health first.
Instead of saying "no," say "yes" to something else. If a family tradition no longer works for you since you developed chronic pain, it may be time to suggest an update.
If it's just not possible to get together in one place this year, consider using a video chat service such as Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime to have a special holiday call on a smartphone or laptop. During a video chat, you can:
Adjust Your Expectations
Even without chronic pain, holidays often come with high expectations that lead to disappointment and stress. Letting go of the illusion of a "perfect" holiday can help you keep expectations realistic and focus on what's most important about the holidays. For many people, that means connecting with loved ones, being thankful for what you have, and finding hope for the new year.
Here are some mindful tips from Johns Hopkins Medicine for adjusting holiday expectations:
During the holidays and year-round, the members of MyChronicPainTeam are here for each other. Joining MyChronicPainTeam means gaining a support group of thousands of others with chronic pain who understand exactly what you're going through.
Here are some conversations from MyChronicPainTeam members about navigating the holiday season with chronic pain:
Have you found ways to celebrate the holidays despite chronic pain?
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