How to Enjoy the Holidays Despite Chronic Pain

By Laura Walker, CPC Content Director

Whatever your holiday plans may be we hope that a top priority is to have compassion and take good care of yourself. The holidays don’t have to be stressful. Here are some strategies for enjoying the festivities just by changing your
perspective.



  1. Just say “NO.” If you don’t feel up to hosting the get-together, be OK with someone else taking it on.



  2. Accept circumstances as they are, rather than focusing on how you think they should be. For instance, if you’re not feeling well enough to travel, don’t go. The key is to accept it and focus on the benefits of staying home.


  3. If you are hosting a get-together at your home, delegate most of the work to others. Nobody—healthy or otherwise—can do everything themselves. Allow others the opportunity to be of service to you by helping out. It feels good to help others, so it’s a win-win for everybody.


  4. Let “good enough” be your theme. Nothing will ever be perfect, so just accept that and be happy with “good enough.” There is perfection in imperfection.


  5. Start the day over anytime. If you find yourself irritated with your mother-in-law’s lack of sensitivity, so you snapped at your brother for standing in front of the TV, you can pause for a moment to regroup. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, center yourself in the moment, and decide that when you open your eyes, it will be a fresh new start to the day.


  6. Choose how you see others. You can’t control what other people think, do or say, but you can control how you see them. What you focus on grows. Yes, it smells like Uncle Art hasn’t showered in two weeks, but he has the best jokes. I would much rather have his jokes multiply than focus on his lack of hygiene and see that multiply.


  7. Have compassion for yourself and others. Fundamentally, we’re all seeking the same thing—to be loved and accepted. Notice that when you give love and acceptance to others, it is returned to you in abundance.


  8. Be a curious observer rather than a ring master. Very interesting things happen all time, but often we are too busy trying to make situations and people go our way that we don’t notice these little miracles. By wondering what will happen next rather than getting involved in the political debate your spouse is having with Grandpa, you may see that they work it out on their own to find they’re actually in agreement.


  9. Forgive. Holding a grudge is like drinking poison hoping it will harm the other person. Plus, the past does not exist. It is merely a thought we can choose to replay in our minds, or we can choose to focus on the good that is happening here and now.

  10. Write a gratitude list. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the good in our lives when there is so much pain, fatigue, and depression. Remember, what we focus on grows. “I’m grateful for leftover turkey sandwiches, funny kitten memes, and snow angels.” Bring it on!

 

Bonus: When all else fails, a Google search for “funny kitten memes” should bring a smile to everyone’s face and a cornucopia of laughter to the gathering.