Do you bounce out of bed after a good night’s sleep ready to conquer the world every morning? If you have chronic pain, it is likely the answer is a resounding “No!” Most of us wake up (if we’ve slept at all,) drag ourselves out of bed inch by inch and hobble to the bathroom to begin our day. Here are some things I have found helpful to keep myself from lying in bed with the drapes closed.
1) Develop a morning routine.
Do you know how your stomach is ready for dinner when you routinely eat at the same time each day? When we perform the same tasks each day, we develop a rhythm that our bodies will respond to. This can be helpful in managing our pain and starting the day more smoothly.
2) Try to get up at the same time each day.
Loud buzzing can jar you out of sleep; when this happens, your startle reflex activates, and can cause you to jerk your limbs and raise your heartbeat. Try a daylight alarm clock that gradually brightens, similar to the sunrise.
For example, the Nature Bright Portable Therapy and Wake Up Light from Biobrite, has natural light (great for SAD and other depressive disorders too!) It has settings so you can choose gradual light over 30, 60, or 90 minutes, and a backup soft chirping alarm. Some lamps can be pricy, but I think, worth the money.
3) Get up slowly
Generally, people with chronic pain wake up stiff and achy. Some of this can be due to bedding and sleep habits, but we will touch on those another time. To get moving when you wake up, take a moment to really open your eyes and breathe. Next, slowly and gently stretch your arms and legs.
If you’re like me and have plantar fascitis or general pain in your feet, take a moment to “draw” the alphabet in the air with each foot. When you sit up, lightly roll your shoulders and neck. These gentle movements should make your first steps out of bed a little easier!
4) Keep a bottle or decanter of water and your morning meds by your bed.
When you wake up, you can easily take them so they start working as soon as possible. If you sometimes forget your meds (or take the wrong ones occasionally, like me), this will be a great addition to your morning routine. Remember, we are teaching our bodies to expect certain things in our routine.
5) Stretch in the shower.
When you shower or take a bath, it is a good time to do a little more stretching, as the warm water relaxes your muscles. Be careful not to try any crazy stuff though, tubs can be slippery! It is okay not to bathe from head to toe every morning; washing your hair can be exhausting, so only do it every few days.
When you get up, even if you cannot take a full bath, take advantage of facial towelettes and other cleansing wipes. Also, make sure you brush your teeth and change your clothes. Clean clothes and mouth make you feel a bit more fresh and positive!
Have breakfast, especially if you take medications in the morning. Protein is the most important fuel to start your day. It is what helps our bodies build and repair muscle and tissue; it is necessary in the make-up of hormones and enzymes, and it helps us stay full longer- so less snacking! If you do not have the appetite for a big breakfast, there are many alternatives, from granola-type bars to smoothies. Many cereals have protein now as well.
So now, you are up, refreshed and ready to take on anything! I wish you the best day you can have.
This article is written by Kristina. Get to know her on the meet the team page.