Chronic pain sufferers know that, while it affects everyone differently, everyone has a bad pain day every now and then. On days like this, there’s really no way to leave your bed, and we all dread these days. But I have them, you have them, and we all know that laying in bed can get boring pretty quick. So, here are ten things to do when your body doesn’t want to do anything.
It goes without saying, but I will anyway. Sleep is your body’s way to heal and reset. Sometimes you have to take a nap! Aches and pains suck, and there is no shame in setting an alarm and conking out, especially if your medications make you drowsy. Set alarms for every few hours if you don’t want to miss the whole day, but otherwise, go wild.
Either on a screen or paper, reading is an amazing way to escape to somewhere new. Fiction, non-fiction, the “Terms and Conditions” of anything ever; pick something you like! Yes, this can be the time to read that novel you’ve been meaning to read for years, but it can also be the time to re-read an old favorite. This is about taking care of yourself.
3. Podcasts & Books On Tape
Don’t feel like reading? Go ahead and listen instead. There are plenty of books on tape free on YouTube, or through your local library, that can keep you on top of your reading list without having to hold anything. There are also countless podcasts that cover seemingly any subject under the sun. Go ahead and look around any podcast app and find some new obsessions.
4. Learning Apps
Why not try to learn something new? A phone or tablet is small and easy to balance if you don’t/can’t use your arms, and there are plenty of learning apps out there that have easy levels and straightforward graphics. Coding, language, plants, tarot if you’re feeling spooky; many of these apps have short and simple levels that are easy to zoom or meander through, as you prefer.
An easy enough task that doesn’t require a lot of brain power, once you get into the rhythm of it. You can start small with scarves, then work your way up to socks, cozies, and blankets. If you don’t have any of the supplies needed, add some cheap yarn to your next shopping list. There is also no shame in finger weaving.
6. Watch Something!
Now is not the time for movement; just turn on the TV or computer and watch. Streaming services are a dime a dozen, not to mention television. Whether it’s watching something you’ve seen 1,000 times or something you’ve been meaning to watch, have fun. With cable it’s even more exciting, because who knows what’s on? A telenovela? Why yes, thank you.
7. Clean Your Bedside Table
Ok, yes, this does involve getting out of your bed (you got to some time!), but straightening up the area around you can influence your state of mind. Take ten minutes to remove all the trash, make a neat pile of your books and papers, and drop all your pens/ pencils/markers in a cup for easy organization. Plus, now you can grab water and a snack. Stay hydrated!
Many chronic pain sufferers already track each bad pain day. Usually this is because you want to see what caused them, track symptoms to tell your doctor about at your next appointment, or even just track how often you have bad days. Now, personalize it! This can be a blog you keep or a collection of papers stapled together, write about your pain, a rough day at work, or literally anything else. Drawing counts just as much; or maybe more, if a picture really is worth a thousand words.
9. Stretch & Massage
Ok, so you can get out of bed for this, but you can also do it lying down (believe me, I’ve been there). Rub your arms, legs, and wherever is hurting to get some blood flowing, point your toes and lift your arms. If you have one, those buzzing massage wands are great for those hard to reach places like your back and shoulders, which can get stiff easily on bad pain days.
10. Talk to Friends
Chronic pain can be alienating, and it’s easy to feel like you’re missing out on events and interactions because you don’t feel up to going out. The secret is: your friends actually like you, even if you’re having a bad pain day. If you can’t physically be there, shoot them a text or give them a call. If you’re feeling especially daring, reach out to people you haven’t talked to in a while or someone who moved away recently. Ask them about anything, talk about anything; human interaction is good for the soul.
Take Care of Yourself
Chronic pain can make you feel alone, or useless, or like you can’t do anything, but you can. On your next bad pain day, make your bed a classroom, an office, an art station, a movie theater, and most importantly, somewhere you can go to feel better. We’re all in this together.
How do you handle bad pain days?
Share your tips in the comments!
What chronic pain stories should we cover?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas!
Are you on Facebook?
Join our online community by clicking here.