Living with Chronic Pain?

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Top 10 Things To Help You Navigate The Holidays + Workbook

Top 10 Holiday Tamers

"We cannot control the wind, but we can direct the sail."

Author Unknown

Holidays are meant to be a joyous time filled with family, food and festivities. But for those living in chronic and persistent pain, these beloved traditions can be both draining and painful. Let's bring some of that joy back with 10 things that you can do to help mitigate the pain and navigate your way through the holidays. This list serves as just a few of the things that can help you through the holidays as your own advocate for health and pain management.

Create a list of daily things you need to get done for the holidays and then pick your top three items. As for the rest, delegate if at all possible or ask for help. It may also be worth it to ask yourself, how important is it for me to get this done? Repeat this daily (or at least when the days are getting busy with preparation).

Top 10 Holiday Tamers

Pace yourself. First establish a realistic amount of time per day that you believe is reasonable to get some work done, either from past experience or by measuring your output and pain within one day. Knowing that you only have a set number of hours to get things done before the pain starts to take over, be sure to work within those time limits. Give yourself permission to be ‘selfish’ in those boundaries (and when I say selfish, I mean in the most respectful way possible). Listen to your body's cues and take a break before the pain starts to become too much. Once you have established the maximum amount of time, reduce it, write it down below and stick to it.

Connect with people. This might be the most important tip for the holidays! Even if you feel like the pain is too great and you cannot get out of the house, especially due to extraordinary circumstances like a pandemic...make a call to a loved one or a close friend or a relative you haven’t connected with in a while. Technology is connecting us in ways that make it much easier without all the uncomfortable travel. Or if you think that getting out of the house would lift your spirits and lessen your pain then get out and enjoy! Schedule time to connect with others to ensure it happens, this year more than ever! Write down who you will connect with and when in the worksheet below.

Create Your Own Soothing Plan Brainstorm a list of activities that you know are effective in soothing your nervous system when things get a little crazy. Having a list to draw upon when the pain starts to amplify is a strategic way to help you dial down the pain. Get creative and write down as many ideas as you can.

Top 10 Holiday Tamers

Schedule time in your day for daily self care. Think of it as an opportunity to recharge your battery and help you prepare for what’s next. Find a quiet corner to breathe or to lie down, turn off the lights and tune out the tasks of the day and tune in to your thoughts, or just listen to some music. This is where all the brainstorming you did in the step before really comes in handy. Again, be intentional and make this a non-negotiable!

Serve your body well with good food. Remind yourself that whole foods actually help your body to fight underlying health issues and supports your mood as well. It can be really difficult avoiding certain foods over the holidays so feel free to enjoy small amounts. Then once you have savoured those special morsels, get back onto healthy, sustaining foods.

Have an Epsom salt bath infused with lavender to help calm the mind and the muscles after a day of battling pain. Be sure to drink water afterwards to help the body flush out the toxins that had accumulated in your body.

Keep your appointments throughout the holidays. When things get busy it is all too easy to cancel an appointment when you ‘need’ to get things done. Keep your health and wellbeing a priority so that you can manage the holiday with as much control as possible.

Top 10 Holiday Tamers

Get a good nights sleep. I know sleep can be extremely elusive and for many and can be very hard to get consistently. Create a list of things that you know will help you to fall asleep such as warm bath before bed, no caffeine after 2:00 pm, warm blanket to calm the muscles, magnesium before bedtime, meditation apps, cut out electronics two hours before bedtime. Be creative and list as many things as possible that you know of that will help you to fall asleep. If you are having one of those nights where you are struggling to fall asleep then you can lean into any of the strategies that you know will work.

Ask yourself at the end of the day, even if it has been a very hard day ‘what was one small win for me today’? You will be amazed with what you come up with. This may take some time to articulate, especially if it has been a tough day but if you think really hard you will likely think of something. Spend some time on that one win, say it out loud and write it down. And then get up the next morning with the idea that you will strive to have one more win today too. Challenge yourself to write down one thing per day. The less we can dwell on the pain the more room for the things that make us happy.

Top 10 Holiday Tamers

My Supplementation Recommendation:

For More Energy. Looking for a supplement to help you increase the amount of energy you are feeling as you prepare and move through the holidays? My top pick is based off of Dr. Teitelbaum's, (integrative Pain, Fibro and Chronic Fatigue Specialist) recommendation from an interview I did with him (you can see that interview here.) He recommends a product (of which he has done the research on) called HRG80 Red Ginseng Energy from Terry Naturals (I have no affiliation with the company and Dr. T donates all his royalties to charity for this product and the one listed below).

For Sleep Falling asleep and staying asleep is hard enough with persistent pain. Throw in the chaos of the holidays and sleep can feel like you are chasing down a moving bus trying to get on. Another product that I highly recommend (as does Dr. T mentioned above) is Curamin PM by Terry Naturals. This product should be taken regularly and will take some time for it to help. Be consistent and be persistent. It is always helpful to check with your doctor if the supplements are contraindicative to the medications you are on.

Top 10 Holiday Tamers

Daily Priorities: Day 1

  1. Priority #1:______________________________________________________________________
  2. Priority #2:_______________________________________________________________________
  3. Priority #3:_______________________________________________________________________

Daily Priorities: Day 2

  1. Priority #1:______________________________________________________________________
  2. Priority #2:______________________________________________________________________
  3. List item #3:_____________________________________________________________________

Daily Priorities: Day 3

  1. Priority #1:______________________________________________________________________
  2. Priority #2:______________________________________________________________________
  3. Priority #3:______________________________________________________________________


Day Max Time
Reduced Time
Actual Time
1 90 mins



Top 10 Holiday Tamers

Soothing Brainstorm:

Sleep Strategy For The Holidays:

Wins Of The Day:

Top 10 Holiday Tamers

Cheers To You!

Top 10 Holiday Tamers

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