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Some days I wake up and I feel like I literally cannot do another day. Some days it’s my chronic pain, other days it’s the thought that I just can’t manage to deal with the stress of my two boys one more minute, especially during this time of COVID-19 quarantine. Other times I feel so physically exhausted I can’t even manage to pry my eyes open and if feels like I can just forget about getting out of bed for the next 2 days.
Chronic pain is hard. It exhausts the body and often creates a domino effect of other symptoms and problems within the physical and mental aspects of the brain.
I am and have been living undiagnosed for over 6 years. Some of the things affecting my health have a name but most do not. (Or at least I don’t know it.) It sucks and but it’s all I’ve got for now. So, I am going with it. I am embracing accepting what I know and what I don’t. I might never have a name for all of my pains. Depression, anxiety, Ehlers Danlos, Fibro. It doesn’t matter what I call it, it all sucks.
But I have decided to follow the advice of my counselor and take control of my pain. And you can too. Whether it’s physical or mental there are ways to get through it. When I have good days I celebrate with a workout. On bad days, I need a little more help, so I’ve put together a quick list that helps me and might work for you.
How To Get Out Of Bed When You Just Can’t With Life
1. Take 5 minutes to check in with your body and how you are feeling.
Sometimes we feel overwhelmed and that creates a feeling of tiredness. Check-in with your physical body from head to toe before declaring yourself tired. Yes, your body probably does feel tired but checking in will help you distinguish the physical from the mental.
2. Take a few minutes to name your pain.
Think about where the pain is coming from. Is it physical or mental? Is it in your body or your heart? Where does it hurt? Take one minute and breath in and out. At the end of the minute check back in and see if you can give the pain a shape and color. Is it blue or yellow? Does it look like a triangle? Circle? Square? Sometimes the lack of a label can add greater stress. Naming the pain and giving it a shape and color allows you to see a physical manifestation outside of your body. The labeling allows you to now see something invisible. (There is power in the seeing.)
3. Try a few stretching poses while lying down.
Even stretching while lying down can make a difference. Any kind of movement will get the blood flowing and bring new oxygen to your brain, which in turn will provide a little pick me up. Little movements can lead to big movements. Even if you stretch just one leg, often that small movement will be enough to motivate the rest of your body into a forward momentum.
4. Take 5 minutes to be grateful.
It is a fact you cannot be sad or mad when you are naming your gratitude. (I don’t actually know if that is true, but it should be.) Take a few minutes anyway and say thank you or give a name to all of your blessings. It doesn’t have to be grand. It is more about creating a habit of being grateful. I like to wake up and while my coffee is brewing write in my gratitude journal. The gratitude should be about something recent from your day or the day before. We already know you are grateful for your family so make it more granular. For example, I am grateful for the way my son laughs when he tells a joke.
And if you really can’t think of anything at all, then go back to the basics. “I am grateful for a roof over my head, food in my belly, a bed to sleep in, hot water, the ability to speak and breathe and use my appendages.” Have you ever seen the Christmas commercial where the dad goes around the house unwrapping the light switches, the refrigerator, his car and even his travel mug full of coffee? If you look, you really can find gratitude anywhere. Sometimes we just have to change the paradigm to change our perspective.
5. Move your body and exercise.
I know you are tired. I personally probably say the words, I’m too tired to work out at least three times a day. But the truth is you are too tired not to work out. (I’m pretty sure I heard that quote from a Peleton instructor.) But it’s so true! Have you ever put your shoes on and just worked out even though you didn’t feel like it? Do you remember how you felt after. You felt good right? And accomplished? Exercising releases endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling in the body. When my body hurts too much to run, I get on my “>spin bike even if I am just watching T.V. while I ride. The other amazing thing about exercise is according to Web MD, endorphins released through exercise react with the receptors in our brain which actually reduce the perception of pain in our bodies. Endorphins actually activate opioid receptors in our brain very much like morphine without the opioid addiction. So go get your high.
Put on your shoes or don’t. Put on a sports bra or don’t. It doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. Just tell yourself you are going to walk, run, yoga, dance, squat, whatever for five minutes. Five minutes is all it takes to change the chemistry in the body. And oftentimes, that quick five minutes will lead to another five and then another. It’s a trick I got from Feel Better in 5 by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee. Check out my post on my excellent workout.
Try these 5 tricks. Then leave a comment below and let me know if it worked for you.
We are all struggling with something. But together we can pull each other up.