Valentine’s Day is a holiday of love and passion, for some. For others, it’s not such a warm and fuzzy holiday. Some people even call it “single awareness day.” Whether you’re in a loving relationship with someone else or not, you can still find love today in self-compassion. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we are going to focus on loving ourselves. We hope you enjoy these 5 ways to love yourself when you live with chronic pain.
Start Where You Are
When you live with chronic pain, it can be difficult to accept where you are. Our society is one of comparison, and websites like Facebook throw everyone else’s highlight reels in our faces. When we’re feeling on top of our game, that’s not such a bad thing. But when we’re feeling low, we might be more inclined to compare our insides with others’ highlight reels. This is a dangerous game.
The first step in practicing self-love is recognizing and appreciating where you are currently. Sometimes that means being OK with not being able to get out of bed or go to work. We can’t always do the things that we want to do, and that’s OK. Take a moment to recognize that you’re doing the best that you can, and you are OK exactly where you are in this moment.
Give Your Body What it Needs
Your body might require extra rest or sleep than someone else’s, and that’s OK. When we live with chronic pain we have the opportunity to become more in tune with our bodies. It’s important to listen to what our bodies are telling us. Our bodies need rest, exercise (even light exercise) and a healthy diet. Pay attention to what your body is telling you, and don’t feel bad about taking it easy if you have to. By listening to your body, you are practicing self-love and care.
Spend Quality Time with Yourself
It can be easy to get sucked into binge watching our favorite shows on TV. Yes, Netflix, I’m still here. But watching TV is a mindless game that doesn’t necessarily nurture our souls. Maybe you can cut out an episode for a little better quality “me time.”
What me time looks like to you will be different than what it looks like for someone else. Maybe it’s taking a walk around the block and really being in the moment and taking in your surroundings. It could be taking on an art project, like needle point or knitting. Or maybe it’s taking the time to paint, journal, play an instrument, practice yoga or meditate. If you try one thing and realize that it’s not for you, that’s OK. Yoga isn’t for everyone. Try something else, and keep trying, until you find that one activity that you can get lost in.
Sometimes we get caught up in old patterns of rehashing old mistakes or blaming our parents or the universe for our current situation. Changing our thought patterns is a powerful practice that takes time. When trying to eliminate negative thoughts from our mind, we have to replace them with positive ones. This is where practicing gratitude can come into play.
Start by trying to name ten things that you are thankful for. It can be as simple as the ability to breathe, or the fact that you woke up this morning. Or you can be thankful for a promotion at work or your significant other. It is impossible to get caught up in negativity when you’re feeling thankful. Try this and you will notice a boost in your mood
Allow Yourself to Dream Big
When living with chronic pain, it can be easy to get caught up in what we can’t do. Take a moment to dream big. What would you like to do? Daydream a little bit. Set goals. Is this something that could be a realistic possibility to achieve? What are some steps that you can take to get there? Paint a picture of where you’d like to go, build a dream board, and think big. This is your life, and you deserve to go for the best.
We hope these tips have helped you to feel a little more love this Valentine’s Day, and wish you a very happy holiday from all of your friends here at Integrated Pain Associates.