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  • Stay active, be distracted!

    Aug 12,2016

    Vicki B for We are One

    At JFS Orange, we have the honor participating in the “Health Promotion and Mental Services Program.” This unique program falls under the “Community Services for Elderly Program” under the auspices of Orange County Office for the Aging.

    Among other responsibilities, Vicki Bedford runs support groups. One area in which so many of us suffer is, how to deal with chronic pain. Vicki is a fierce advocate for self-care. Last fall, in this blog, she shared the importance of hydration. We’re now going to turn to other simple ways that we can take care of ourselves. In four simple words:

    Stay active, be distracted!

    Tips from Vicki:

    It’s a vicious circle… you experience pain and so you don’t feel like taking a walk, or gardening, or joining friends for lunch. So you lay down for a nap, or doze off in your chair. That night you likely will have trouble falling asleep. You’ll toss and turn, then get up later than usual.

    Don’t ride that roller coaster! Sleep and engaging in pleasurable activities are key factors in managing chronic pain. Make a date with yourself; plan for some type of activity every day! Maybe it’s vacuuming the living room, or working in the garden for an hour, or walking around the mall. Do what pleases you, but do it and don’t overdo it. It’s important to pace yourself. If 10 minutes of walking is all you can do, it is better than doing nothing at all.

    When you are just not able to engage in physical activity, engage your mind. Reading, knitting, jigsaw or crossword puzzles, watching a movie, are all good ways to distract yourself from your pain.

    Sleep is a very important factor to our overall wellbeing. Your bedroom should be a sanctuary. Your bedding should provide the right temperature; not too hot or cold. Block out outside light and sleep with lights and electronics OFF.

    These are all quite doable. The most challenging part is breaking old habit patterns and getting started. Though these tips are geared to people with chronic pain, they are ideas in which we can all benefit. We’re wishing you the best as you put them into place, and thank you, Vicki!