Back to School: How to Stay Healthy with Chronic Pain (Even During Routine Changes)
It’s essential you stay healthy with chronic pain, even during routine changes. The changing of the seasons and the beginning of a new school year brings with it a considerable amount of changes in your daily routine. With more time spent focusing on the new demands of the season, it becomes easier and easier to backslide on healthy habits with chronic pain.
Keeping healthy habits through changes in routines may require some focused attention, but they surely will help keep you from feeling overwhelmed. Suffering through these changes with chronic pain might seem impossible. So, we encourage you to read on! Whether you are returning to school or the parent of children returning to school, these five tips will support your physical health and mental wellbeing.
#1 Schedule exercise early in the day
Whether you already have a regular workout routine or are wanting to integrate more physical activity, consider scheduling your workout time early in the day. An early morning workout session soon after you wake up refreshes you and prepares you to tackle a long day with the endorphins that are produced.
If you suffer from back pain or neck pain, it might be time to slow down your work out routine to only a few days a week. However, do not aim for a daily time count for exercise; instead, aim for a weekly goal. Instead of working out an hour Monday, Wednesday and Friday, maybe aim to work out three hours a week. That way, you have more flexibility with your schedule.
#2 Develop a bedtime routine
A bedtime routine does not begin when you brush your teeth and change into pajamas. It is important to consider your activities in the hours before getting into bed—schedule less active tasks in the evening closer to bedtime. For example: instead of answering all of your emails first thing in the morning, maybe set time aside in the evening to answer less pressing emails in the evening.
Listen to relaxing music as you clean the dishes or tidy up before bed. Lighting a candle or sipping on some herbal tea in the evening are also excellent ways to begin to tell your body that sleep is soon to come. Starting your bedtime routine early is an excellent way to stay healthy with chronic pain, support healthy sleep patterns and wake up refreshed.
#3 Prepare everything you need for the next day to help you stay healthy with chronic pain
A day can feel longer when we have to wrangle all of the things we need for the day just before taking off. Though choosing an outfit or making sure your devices are charged may be the last thing you want to do after a long day, your future self will thank you for a positive start.
Other things to consider are setting out your workout clothes for your morning activity, packing your purse or backpack with all of the things you will need when you are out the next day, and making sure your vehicle has sufficient fuel. It really dampens your day when you feel your chronic pain coming on strong but realize you forgot your chapstick or have to make an immediate stop at the gas station.
#4 Prepare a healthy lunch BEFORE hand for yourself and your family
The food we use to fuel our bodies translates to how we feel for the day. If we forget our lunch and load up on chips and other packaged snacks, we can quickly feel sluggish and unproductive in the afternoon.
Processed, unhealthy foods can also lead your chronic pain to feel much worse! Preparing a healthy lunch for ourselves and our family ensures that we all have the best opportunity to have a good day.
Another tip to stay healthy with chronic pain, have healthy frozen individual lunches on hand in anticipation of hectic times. Perhaps a frozen cauliflower pizza or some veggie nuggets. The internet is full of ideas for freezer meals that can be quickly reheated for lunch.
Overall taking some time to prepare and anticipate your needs is highly beneficial. Preparing in advance gives you time in the future not only for flexibility but also time to relax and to participate in spontaneity.
Here at Progressive Pain and Interventional Psychiatry, we want to provide all of our patients in Dallas, TX, and the general public with the most up-to-date health and wellness tips and educational resources possible. If staying healthy during routine changes doesn’t help your chronic pain, we want to see you in our office. Please call (214) 441-7369 or visit our site to make an appointment and get back to a pain-free life!