November is nearly over and with that it brings thoughts of Christmas and the conclusion of CRPS awareness month.
Over the course of November we have been looking at spreading awareness for this debilitating condition and providing useful information for sufferers and supporters alike.
Christmas can be a challenging time, with the high streets full of shoppers and non-stop Christmas parties from now until well into the New Year.
In conclusion of CRPS awareness month and with the festive season looming, we have put together a list of the top 12 tips for CRPS sufferers this Christmas.
- Know your limits. The festive season can be an extremely busy time and it can be tempting to shut yourself away from the hustle and bustle. Only do as much as you are able.
It’s okay to say no to going out carolling or to that second family party if you know its going to be too much. Set yourself goals and stick to what you’re comfortable with.
Take a look at this Pacing blog from the charity Burning Nights for more information - https://www.burningnightscrps.org/pacing/
- Put your health first. Don’t agree to anything that you know will put you at risk or cause a flare up to make others happy. Putting your health first will make for a much more enjoyable Christmas period. It is also important to explain to others why, so that they understand the reasons you can’t be involved.
- Be organised. Make a list of all the things planned over the holidays and work out what you want to do and what you will be able to do.
Make sure that you’ve researched all of your key support tools over the holidays and organised your medication. Know who you can call on when things are getting tough, such as familiarising yourself with the opening hours of your GP surgery and knowing the alternatives for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Staying organised with gifts will also reduce stress and the risk of suffering a flare up.
- Party Strategies. For those living with CRPS, just the thought of a Christmas party may bring a sense of dread. Making a plan beforehand can make these festive nights a lot easier.
If you are comfortable doing so, let the host know about your condition and that you will try your best to attend. Set yourself a time to leave the party so that you can leave before things get too much but be proud that you’ve accomplished this much.
Let your host know that standing can be tiring for you so that they can make provisions for you. And most importantly of all, it’s okay if you don’t end up going at all.
- Gifts and Wrapping. Shopping centres are at their busiest at this time of year and the risks of braving the streets during the festive period are that you could be knocked or pushed, making for a very painful shopping experience.
Consider doing your Christmas shopping online and seeing if they have a gift wrapping option to make this easier, or use gift bags or boxes instead of paper.
Alternatively consider asking a friend or family member if they would be willing to help you with your shopping and present wrapping if this is difficult for you.
- Budget. Work out your budget well in advance to ease money worries. Once you have budgeted for present buying and festive food and drink, make sure you’ve prioritised things that will make the festive season easier for you such as making sure you’ve got your prescriptions and any tools that you use during a flare up.
- Christmas Dinner. If you are the designated Christmas chef in your house, or you are on your own this Christmas, there are several handy shortcuts that can help you on the big day.
Buying pre-cut vegetables or ready peeled potatoes can save time and help with tricky and potentially painful peeling. You can also buy ready prepared meat that is ready to be popped in the oven and disposable foil trays to save on any washing up.
- Support. Make sure that you’ve organised support for Christmas day and most importantly remember that you are not alone. Take a look at our support group page for information on organisations that you can turn to. https://www.goughs.co.uk/site/individuals/pi/chronic_pain/support_groups/
- If you’re on your own this Christmas, set yourself little tasks and goals each day. Try to get out and see friends and family if you are able and the weather permits, or try doing something at home that you enjoy, such as watching a favourite movie or baking a festive treat.
- It’s okay to say NO. The festive season may seem full of commitments and you may feel overstretched. Remember its okay to say no to anything that you would find too much. It’s important to keep in mind that it’s your Christmas to enjoy too.
- If things become too much or if you’re beginning to feel overwhelmed, please reach out to someone, whether this is in person or on social media. There is a lot of help available out there and there will always be someone willing to listen. https://www.goughs.co.uk/site/individuals/pi/chronic_pain/support_groups/
- You are not alone. CRPS is a misunderstood condition and is isolating at any time of the year. Remember that there are others who share your frustrations. We recommend CRPS group Burning Nights for support.
If you have any questions or feel that you may be experiencing chronic pain as a result of an accident or injury please do get in touch.
We listen, we advise, we are here for you.