Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Entertaining and Social Events with Chronic Pain


For a good number of us living in chronic pain, the thought of going out to events, as well as visiting others, or having someone come visit us, can launch us into a string of concerns. We may be concerned if we will be able to get out of bed that day and enjoy that time with friends and loved ones! We might be unsure if we will even be able to get dressed and ready. We question if we will be capable of sitting, standing, walking or even endure the activity this event will entail. We wonder if it will be a horrific pain day and if we will have to call and cancel at the last minute, possibly offending someone.

It is incredibly difficult to fake feeling well when you are feeling extremely horrible!
Many of us attempt to present as healthy as we possibly can for every occasion, putting on nice clothes, makeup, and jewelry. We strive to smile and have a joyous demeanor. Many of us succeed so well at this, for we often here, “Oh, but you look so good!” “I just don’t see where you have any problem!”

For many of us, social interactions can be especially difficult. While participating in conversations, attempting to act as if nothing is wrong, trying to intently listen through the gripping, burning, shooting pain and carrying on as intelligently as possible, we are often left feeling like we fail miserably at being fully present. Not only that, but often feeling incompetent on coming up with the right words we want to express, being left with the feeling of not fully connecting heart to heart with others.

There are innumerable aspects to look at! This all causes us to regularly avoid entertaining others in our homes, going to events, decline invitations and not bother with the heaviness of worrying about not being able to show up, let alone be a delightful guest!  Sadly, for many of us living in chronic pain, those are real issues we deal with and are a part of our new “normal!”
Here are a few suggestions to take into consideration when contemplating participating in an event you would cherish:

·         Decide ahead of time which ones you will commit to - Pick and choose what is closest to your heart!  If necessary, just pick one!  You know what your body can tolerate! You don’t have to attend every event. Be at peace with that as best you can!  It is difficult, but the sooner we are able to be okay with it, the less we will demean ourselves over not being able to do all we use to!

·         Accept the invitation - But, be very open and straightforward about your physical issues. Tell them you would love to come! You are looking forward to it! However, explain that if you are having a high pain day and cannot make it you would like them to know ahead of time you will be extremely sorry if that were to happen and you would have to cancel! However, you will do all you possibly can to be able to attend! 

·         Do all you can to make it happen - HOWEVER, that does not mean worrying about it from the time you accept the invitation, or buy tickets to an event, until the time of the event. I know that is hard to do! I can say it to you, but it doesn’t mean I can just put that worry aside so easily myself! None of us want to offend our loved ones by having to cancel! We just need to try not to perseverate on the fact that, for some of us, the majority of the time, we do have to cancel! We do want to go and do fun things with our loved ones! It hurts deeply not to be able to do these things. It hurts us and our loved ones both! But, in reality, this is our new “normal” and we need to help others understand as best we can why this is happening. And we need to not beat ourselves up about it either!
·         Lay low with activities - Do what you can to avoid aggravating your pain the week prior to the event for the most optimal chance at having a “tolerable” pain day. If folding laundry gets your nerves in your neck and arms screaming and burning, and if you don’t have someone that can do it for you, just try hanging up only what needs hanging and leave the rest in the laundry basket! If cleaning your house leaves you in pain and in bed for days, don’t do it! If you don’t have someone to help, make a choice: have a clean home or try and feel “good enough” to be able to go to the event. Only you know what you need to avoid making for the best chance of hopefully being able to go. 

·         Know you can only do what you can do - living with chronic pain, we know that we can do everything possible to make sure we don’t increase our pain and yet, when the day arrives, we still may not be able to attend! This hurts deeply…we grieve these losses…it is hard! However, it is okay to be sad for a bit, we are human, but make sure you don’t get stuck on it!

·         Cancelling - if we have to cancel, all we can do is try to help others understand as best we can what we are dealing with, which can leave us feeling vulnerable. It is particularly difficult to be vulnerable with those of whom our cancelling at the last minute may not be tolerated well. We cannot be responsible for their reaction. As hurtful as it is, some just cannot comprehend what we are dealing with.

·         Letting go of those that can’t understand - No matter how we explain, it is hard for some to comprehend what we are dealing with because they have never experienced it. It is even hard for us to grasp! We even question it ourselves! Sadly, if this happens to you, know you are not alone in being misunderstood. You did not choose to have your life shredded apart by chronic pain and the physical issues you are dealing with! We need to grieve the lack of understanding, process it and work on forgiving. It won't help us to carry that hurt it brings with our other pain. It's very difficult to let go, but necessary! Focus your heart on the ones that are empathetic! Give it time.

·         Although we exist in chronic pain each and every day, many of us do have the desire to celebrate life's events. Especially Christmas, along with all the activities it consists of. Nevertheless, all the goings-on necessitate planning in advance! We must decide on the most important things we want to achieve and spread these activities into attainable tasks, over a longer period of time! By implementing even some of the activities suggested, we have the best possibility of hope that we will be able to at least enjoy the holidays the best we can. We hope…because we are familiar with the fact that even with the best of intentions, we can’t rely on our bodies doing as we would like. Chronic pain has a life of its own and sometimes, no matter how hard we try, nobody is going to tell it when and where it will overtake us!

Sheri Kay has recently written a series of EBooks called, Preparing for the Holidays with Chronic Pain, which was written for those with chronic pain with the purpose of giving specific suggestions and ideas to help make the strenuous activities of the holiday season simpler and more tolerable, ultimately decreasing the stress on us and helping us to be able to reduce the chances of increased pain flares, thus hopefully allowing us to spend cherished time with family and friends.

The books can be purchased here at

This blog is for all of us with chronic pain! Do you have a favorite topic on chronic pain, documentary, book, video or even a blog to share you'd like me to cover in this blog? I'd love to hear about it! Share in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this post, then please subscribe for updates or follow by email

You might be interested in the new EBook series, Preparing for the Holidays with Chronic Pain that was written for those of us with chronic pain with the purpose of giving specific suggestions and ideas to help make the strenuous activities of the holiday season simpler and more tolerable, ultimately decreasing the stress on us and helping us to be able to reduce the chances of increased pain flares, thus hopefully allowing us to spend cherished time with family and friends.

The EBooks can be purchased here at

Here are more articles on Christmas that you may be interested in:

No comments:

Post a Comment

As always, please feel free to leave a comment, ask questions, or give suggestions!