If you suffer from chronic pain from the mind body syndrome, you’re not alone! I, too, suffered extreme pain for many years. Often, one of the hardest parts of having chronic pain is that because it isn’t always apparent to others, they may not realize how you’re truly feeling or how good or bad a day you’re having.

All of that compounds during the holidays. There are so many lovely family and friends to meet, places to go and things to do during the winter months. With all the excitement, I often felt drained, physically exhausted and even in immense pain — often while trying to enjoy the festivities with those I hold dear.

To help you deal with the chronic pain and get through the holiday season, here are some of my top tips for planning and socializing so that you don’t run yourself out of energy or into too much pain.

Shop Online

I know that there’s something beautiful about going into stores and picking up each item to see if a loved one will like it. However, save your energy to actually spend time with that loved one by doing your shopping online instead. Going from store to store is exhausting, searching through racks and rows is ttime-consuming and shopping bags are bulky and heavy.

Plus, shopping online can save you time and money, too. Have the gifts shipped straight to your home, if you wish to hand wrap them. Or, you can have them wrapped and shipped directly to your loved one. Shopping online really does save a lot of hassle and keeps you from getting exhausted in the days leading up to the holidays.

Limit Alcohol

For those with chronic pain, consuming alcohol while on medication is not a good idea. But, even if you aren’t on medication, mixing alcohol and chronic pain is probably still not a good idea. You may be wondering, “But won’t the alcohol dim the pain?” The answer is that yes, it might. But there are averse impacts alcohol has on your body which make that slight lessening of pain a moot point.

Alcohol is actually a depressant. This means that when the initial buzz feeling of alcohol wears away, it can make it harder to feel motivation. For those trying to overcome their chronic pain, keeping motivation high and steady is an important part of the process. So, instead of drinking lots of wine, champagne or eggnog, try sparkling cider or hot cocoa instead.

Plan Ahead

Sometimes, dealing with chronic pain and the stress that causes it (or goes along with it) involves just planning ahead. For instance, if you’re having a bunch of people over for the holidays, consider planning ahead and chopping items a few days before. Spread out the work that needs to be done in order to not be drained on a single, busy day. The same also goes for decorating, wrapping or writing cards. If you do a little bit every day, then there’s less of a chance of being overwhelming and completely exhausted.

Also, when in doubt, feel free to enlist help! Everyone needs some help during the holidays. Make it fun by inviting family or friends to help make paper snowflakes for decorations or get together a few days before a party to bake treats early. Planning ahead allows you to do everything you want to do, just without the added stress of needing to do it all in a single day. Plus, you get to spend time with family and friends and make good memories!

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