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Four tips to get through the holidays with less pain

The holidays are just around the corner, very different from other years. Pain complaints are not dependent on the time of year and can occur during the holiday season as well. Here are four tips to hopefully get through the upcoming season well!

Avoid boredom

Easier said than done this year is avoiding boredom. Especially during the off-season, it's a nearly impossible task. But if you can still manage to divert your attention, you'll stop thinking about the pain and develop new pathways in your brain. In the longer term, you will be working on a brain that is less focused on the pain. One of the problems of distraction is that it is often difficult to think about what to do when you are bored. This exercise can help.

Make a list and write on it:

  • Activities I used to enjoy, but don't do as often anymore;
  • Activities that I enjoy doing;
  • Activities I have never done but would always like to do.

Think of a day or moment when you have no idea what to do, take out the list, and then you can decide what you will do. Agree with yourself that you will definitely do "something" whether you feel like it or not. Because you have prepared the list, you don't have to think so much at that moment.

Keep moving

Because the holiday season is usually so different from your everyday life, it can be difficult to maintain some good habits. See if you can manage to keep moving and maintain your exercise rhythm. Or start moving if you don't have a set rhythm yet (read the blog about boundaries). Regular exercise remains one of the best remedies for long-term pain.

happy new year


Think about next year

Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a day, but underestimate what they can accomplish in a year. Having goals to work towards can be a tremendous help in changing the state of our brain. You hopefully shift to a state where your brain is motivated and focused to achieve your goals, and increasingly seems to forget about the pain. By working toward your goals, you give the orchestra in your brain new instructions and it gradually forgets to play the pain tune.

What activities would you like to take up and develop in the coming year? Perhaps

  • A sport or exercise
  • Something you would like to learn
  • A creative activity

Write down for yourself what is on your mind! As you get down to work, make sure you don't fall into the trap of over-achieving in the beginning and gradually losing motivation after a few weeks. Build in small steps towards your goals, and you'll see that you're making slow but steady progress (read the blog on motivation & micro habits).

Let go once in a while

Perhaps the most important tip is to let it all go every once in a while. You are active and trying hard to improve your pain. However, sometimes a balance of letting go of everything for a while can be useful to ease the process. As important as it is to make slow progress and work toward your goals, no one can focus on progress all the time without getting burnout. The holiday season in particular can be a good time to let go from time to time, or at least find a balance between the effort of progress and the relaxation you need.

Four tips to get through the holidays with less pain

More guidance on how to decrease your pain