Although I struggle a great deal with mental health issues, especially health anxiety, I am always reminded not to always take life too seriously. Life is full of uncertainty and we cannot control everything. It’s a tough pill to swallow. The more we try and control the uncontrollable, the worse our bodies and minds become. We get into a perpetual state of fear. It is true that good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people. I think a prime example is the Las Vegas tragedy. Were the innocent people at the wrong place at the wrong time? Maybe...but still, many people will continue to travel there and even stay at the hotel, not really even thinking twice about it. Does that mean they don’t care? Of course not, it just means that these events do not dictate their happiness. I know getting in that mind frame is easier said than done, trust me, but let’s just focus on today because we have minimal control over what happens tomorrow.
I compiled my own little ABC pain survival note that I hope some may find helpful. It has some of my quirky side in there and I tried to address aspects of physical, emotional and spiritual distress.
You can print this out for a daily reminder, keep it in your email folder or phone. Feel free to share this post too!
THE ABC’s OF PAIN MANAGEMENT
Accept responsibility. This is a big one, as we often blame external factors which make us even more depressed.
Believe in yourself. I know...a bunch of new-age mumbo-jumbo, but feeling good about yourself can really boost your serotonin levels, which greatly affects mood.
Calm down. Many of us who battle with pain tend to panic a lot and a few deep breaths can make a world of difference. As Drew Barrymore said, in the film Ever After, "Just Breathe."
De-clutter. Whether it’s one room at a time, get rid of stuff you don’t need. Sell, donate, give to friends. Surrounding yourself with clutter keeps you stuck. It's like having peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth permanently.
Engage in meaningful friendships. I think this speaks for itself. If you have a friend who always calls you for help, but never checks in to see how you’re doing, probably best to let that person go. Yes, we all lead busy lives, but a simple “hey i’m thinking of ya” goes a long way.
F*ck it! Yep, sometimes it’s okay to admit defeat and throw your covers over your head and call it a day.
Get away from technology. It's tough, but well worth it to just put your electronics aside for even a few hours. Establish a routine to close down your devices. Unless you have a job that requires you to be constantly connected (if so, maybe it's time to consider a career switch if that is a main stressor for you) no one is going to hate you for missing a "like" on a post about their dinner foodie pic or newest outfit. If they do, you better get a new circle of friends.
Hold on. Whether you’re an amateur cook or like to dabble in photography, find time to do something you are passionate about, so you can hold onto those memories.
Invest. I’m not talking about stocks, but your own well-being. Get that check-up that you've been putting off for months, treat yourself to a therapeutic massage.
Jump around. Again, movement people!
Kill time. When you’re in pain, it feels like a single day can just drag on. Stop looking at the clock and maybe play a few rounds of Candy Crush. By the time you know it, it will be night time. That game is SO addictive!
Laugh. Often we cry too much, so how about a few good laughs, eh?
Make a sandwich. Seems odd, I know, but your body may be reacting because its simply hungry.
Naked time. Any form of intimacy can benefit us, from a simple snuggle to orgasmic pleasure.
Observe your surroundings. Being mindful can help ease stress and won't leave you in a state of chaos and confusion.
Praise yourself. Not everything can get done in a day when you’re unwell. Your to-do list may be a mile long but accomplishing just one thing can feel very rewarding. (Thanks Carrie for this tip!)
Quit it. Don’t beat yourself up over things that are totally out of your control.
Relax. Sometimes our bodies are just screaming for us to RELAX. Frankie knows.
Sleep. The benefits are endless when you are able to have a good night’s rest. Zzzzz
Turn up the music! Play your favourite artist/band. Abba never put anyone in a bad mood.
Understand this too shall pass. Wise words and very true.
Volunteer. One of the best feelings in the world is knowing that I am making a difference in someone’s life. I am proud to be part of CMHA. Whether it’s a weekly, monthly, or whenever you can commitment, give back to your community.
Wake up. Yesterday sucked, but today is another day, right? Right.
X - plain yourself. None of us are mind-readers and brain-fog is damn real, so clear communication is essential.
Yes! You don’t have to always be a “yes man” but from time to time, say yes to a new experience.
Zip it. We can all have mean streaks, but words can really sting. Sometimes, especially if you know someone is going through a really rough patch, instead of lashing out, walk away and enjoy the silence.