When you experience chronic pain or a long-term health condition, especially one that impacts energy levels, it can feel like you’re always fatigued.
For a long time, I avoided anything that I thought might trigger my flares, but I have now learnt how to increase my energy levels and improve my stamina. Here are just a few things I found have a positive impact on my energy:
Mindfulness and meditation
The world we live in can be busy and hectic. Taking just a couple of minutes out several times a day can make a massive difference! Mindfulness is becoming very popular, especially for managing chronic pain, and this is because it helps you tune into your body and understand what’s going on. Spending some time releasing tension in our bodies can be hugely beneficial.
Going for a short walk
Whether it’s 5 minutes or 50 minutes, taking a short walk several times a day helps me feel like I’m moving (that’s because you are Sarah… ). We can often make excuses that prevent us ‘getting our steps in’, whether it’s the weather, our pain, or that we just don’t feel like being out in public. Try roping someone in who won’t rush, or bringing headphones to make it more fun.
Spending time in sunshine and nature
For me, sunshine is one of the biggest factors impacting my pain and energy levels. When the sun is shining, not only is it a beautiful day, but I’m far more likely to get out of the house. If it’s too hot, that can trigger my pain in all sorts of ways, but a nice, sunny, spring morning can make me feel like I’m actually a solar panel, not a human.
Listening to my favourite music
Music has extraordinary power in impacting our emotions. Do you have a song or piece of music that every time you hear it, it just fills you with joy? I have a playlist for those days when I need a pick me up and listening to it brings a smile to my face.
Eat fresh fruit and veg
I have found that nourishing my body with the fuel it needs is one of my most important pain management strategies. When I neglect my ‘diet’, I find my pain and fatigue increases, and I experience far more weird symptoms. Put the chocolate down Sarah… it’s not worth it!
Have a good stretch
Stretching can sometimes feel like you are putting yourself through more pain, but when I stretch 2 or 3 times a day, and I’m consistent with it, my body feels more flexible, and the usual niggles that bother me are lessened. I know a lot of people recommend yoga, but I’d say start at whatever pace feels good for you. Little and often.
Engage in meaningful conversation
Now, the fact this one is on the list tells you I’m an extrovert doesn’t it? Now don’t get me wrong, I need time by myself to recharge every day, but being in good company rejuvenates me and I often forget about my pain. Meaningful connections also build rapport and help you foster relationships.
Read a book or listen to a podcast
Sometimes, especially when my migraines hit, reading is almost impossible, but with the wonders of modern technology, audio books and podcasts are more popular than ever. Whether this is on a practical subject, or just a bit of fluff, reading helps me relax and refocus my thoughts.
Take a shower or bath
Ah… the wonders of a good shower. A few years ago my husband and I rented a house with a shower that felt like it was spitting on you. The year that we lived there was one of the worst for my chronic pain. Showers have the ability to relieve my tension, give me much needed thinking time, and most importantly, give me the feeling of being clean and alive. Sometimes they take more energy than we have, but if you can manage either a shower or bath, it usually helps!
Routine seems to be important for people with chronic pain. I’m not saying you have to do the same thing all day every day, but keeping up with helpful habits and being able to manage your time is so important. I find it’s the regular things I do every day that help me the most, like having an hour before bed without electronics, or making sure I always have a blanket handy in winter.
Ultimately, everyone is individual, so experiment with what works for you. Try and approach things with a kind and non-judgemental attitude… see what happens!
What gives you the most energy? Send me a message and let me know, I’d love to hear from you!