Proverbs 25:16 - If you find honey, eat just enough-- too much of it, and you will vomit.
There are many reasons why people gain weight:
One of the main factors of weight gain is chronic pain. As I just stated, taking medications for the pain, such as some antidepressants, can contribute to weight gain. Also, because it hurts so much just to move around, you aren’t as active as you used to be which may cause your system to slow down.
Another thing to look at is how much food you eat. It can be that gradually you started eating more food to help ease pain. But just as the Bible verse above states, too much of eating sweet foods isn’t good. When you pay attention to what you’re eating, you may notice that at first that candy bar tastes great but later it’s taste falls short. Not so with fruits and vegetables. The sweetness of an orange stays the same throughout its consumption.
Berkeleywellness.com, in their article, “Could Weight Gain be Adding to Your Pain?” talks about the correlation between pain and how gaining weight does increase pain complaints. In addition, being overweight can cause psychological stress and can add to the distress of chronic pain, intensifying the perception of pain. Obesity has also been linked to increased inflammation in the body. The psychological stress can also change the way we think about ourselves. We may loth how we look and feel. Then guilt sets in because you know you eat too much and are responsible to how you look.
One of the answers to losing excess weight is to exercise. You may not like this idea and feel unmotivated to even try a few exercises. Need some motivation to exercise? Take a pound of hamburger out of the freezer. Look at it. Note how the weight feels. Now think about all of the excess weight you’re walking around with.
Even if you lose one pound it will help lift a piece of the burden off your back and reduce pain. And the increase of activity will rev up your metabolism, help you sleep better, and even help with your emotional state.
Romans 15:1 - We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
There comes a time when you need to inform your family and friends about the difficulties of living with someone who has chronic pain or an illness, and how it will affect their lives as well as yours.
Pain can be seen at different levels according to the amount of time you spend with an individual:
Observable levels of pain:
With each level of pain, there are also levels that then become apparent to those around you.
It’s important to educate your family and friends about your pain. Though sometimes when your family will be able to detect what you’re feeling, at others, they won’t always be able to do so. Be aware:
When you say you have pain, it sets off an alarm in those around you. Because they care about you it hurts them to see you hurt. They want to do something about it to fix you.
When I’m in pain, my family often gets frustrated because they don’t know how to help me, so they don’t really want to hear about my pain.
The result >> I keep it to myself because I don’t want to be a burden.
However, passive personalities, like mine, can make other people resentful and frustrated because they don’t know what I want. I may be afraid to tell them, but they still need to know what I need and want.
Another thing you need to realize is:
You’ve taught them how to be around you. You need to educate them: Teach them what to expect instead of guessing otherwise they may make unreasonable demands of you.
They also need to know that it’s not a matter of motivation that you don’t do certain things that you used to. It’s a reality that you can’t control.
One thing you can do is have a written plan. It is:
Wikihow.com in their article, “How to Understand Someone with Chronic Pain,” makes some suggestions on how we can help someone with chronic pain. One of the suggestions is to learn about chronic pain and their disease. Another is to be aware of depression symptoms and respect physical limitations. How to look for signs of pain are listed as well as respecting that the person in pain is trying their best. For the complete list and more ideas how a family member or friends can help, select the link below then write out a list of things that you would want your family and friends to do for you. This way they won’t become so frustrated and will understand what you’re going through a little better.
We can see in the Bible verse above that those who are strong should bear with those who are weak. Living with chronic pain or illness can seem difficult to bear. Finding tangle ways to educate those around you will have a significant positive effect on the quality of life for the suffering.
Key words: conversation, chronic pain, how pain affects others, make a plan
Job 34:4 - Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good.
A pain flare-up can be brought on by any number of reasons - overextending yourself, experiencing emotional trauma, or environmental factors, just to name a few.
Once a flare-up is on its way, it’s important to recognize it as soon as possible so you can figure out ways to stop it in its tracks because it is serious enough to upset the lives of people who are trying to control chronic pain.
Some of the early physical warning signs of a flare-up include excessive fatigue, pacing, increased pain and tenderness, rocking, tingling or numbness, heart rate increases, activity level drops and warmth in an area.
Pain flare-ups don’t just affect us physically but can also affect our emotional wellbeing. Some warning signs that may come to the surface include becoming easily upset, crying, communication ceasing, withdrawal, fear, being easily irritated, agitation and panic.
It’s important during a flare-up to change what you’re thinking because what you’re thinking will affect what you say to yourself and others. To change your mood change what you’re thinking.
If the loudspeaker inside your mind says, “I can’t take this!”
Try saying, “Don’t panic. It’s going to hurt, but I’m going to be okay.”
Webmd.com in their article, “Understanding Breakthrough Pain and Flare,” discusses the difficulty in finding a cause for a flare-up and tells us that the pain can come on suddenly without warning even if a person is taking medication for chronic pain. It can drop you in your tracks within a few minutes and last thirty to sixty minutes. The article also discusses using short or long-term prescription medication and over-the-counter pain meds.
It’s important that you don’t ignore the warning signs of a flare or you may find yourself in deep pain and anxiety quickly can develop. These are the things that have helped me: talking to myself about the pain, monitoring my breathing to make sure I’m not breathing to fast and slowing down my breathing, reducing stress, using medications, changing positions, using heat or cold, having a cup of tea, laying down for a while, listening to soft music and massage therapy or acupuncture.
Just as the Bible verse above describes, we need to learn to be students of our bodies; to see when you have signs of a flare-up and then doing something about it. Also, talking to God in prayer can help you feel close to God and it will reassure you that you’re not in this alone.
Key words: chronic pain, flare-ups, warning signs, watch your thinking, emotional warning signs, understanding pain
Romans 8:26 – In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us though wordless groans.
Many times, I keep my chronic pain to myself because I don’t want to burden others.
But hiding and then pushing yourself to cover up just how bad things are only pushes you to the brink physically and mentally.
What can happen when we are overtired and out of strength is that when we communicate, we tend to use a “whiny” vocabulary.
On the other side, here are some other things that we do when we’re overtired.
I may be afraid to talk to others, but they still need to know what I need and want without it becoming “whinny.” Being willing to tell others that you’re not faking it and that you have to tell them what’s really going on is the only real choice you can take to preserve your sanity. Be honest, but you must also communicate that you are willing to find a solution and not just run away from it.
Chrisakins.com post the article, “6 Ways to Effectively Communicate Your Needs,” and gives us a glimpse on how to improve our communications skills. One eye opener is realizing that we often say something and expect that the other person is going to understand what we’re saying the way we understand it. We can’t read other people’s minds and we can’t expect others to be able to read ours. So, the responsibility of the direction of the conversation rests upon us. Something important to do is to be aware of your objective. What are you trying to communicate? What is the purpose? What are the key points?
And don’t forget, there is one who never tires of listening to you even if you’re using that “whiny” vocabulary. The Holy Spirit can help you know how to pray even if it’s only one word – Jesus. There’s power in that name and there’s power in our reaching out to God. So the next time you feel your pain spinning out of control, don’t hide it. Turn to God with your complaints and then let others know what you need and how they can help.
Key words: over-tired, how to communicate, communicate our needs, our tone of voice, Holy Spirit communicates
Psalm 121:1-4 – I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
Do you feel like you have no purpose going into the new year? Do you feel adrift in a sea of change? What kind of adversity will you face in your body in 2021? Is there any hope for 2021?
Many people are saying that they couldn’t wait for 2020 to be over because it was such a bad year for everyone. But will 2021 be better or is there the possibility that it could be even worse?
Entrepreneur.com in their article, “10 Ways Successful People Push Through Adversity,” gives us some ideas on how to face adversity and get past it such as taking stock of all you’ve been through already. The hardships we’ve been through can give us confidence that we can handle whatever comes our way. Also, adversity offers valuable insights to learn from our mistakes and give us a better chance of success the next time we’re hit with adversity. One more is to make peace with your situation. Spend some time processing and thinking about what you could’ve done differently and stop blaming others. Instead, take responsibility for your part of the situation.
Finally, where does our hope, our help, come from? It comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. Cling to that hope walking into the new year, and you’ll not only feel more grounded, but you’ll also be able to find joy in the midst of your adversity.
The verses above also tell us that God won’t let our foot slip. He watches over us whether we are awake or asleep for God never sleeps. I often find it helpful if I put my name into a certain Bible verse and then read it. It can not only make it more personal but can make you feel like God is speaking right to you. So here’s mine: Karen lift up your eyes to the mountains – where does her help come from? Karen’s help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let Karen’s foot slip – he who watches over Karen will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Karen will neither slumber nor sleep. Now put your name into the verses and read them out loud. Therein lies our hope for 2021, it is God who will watch over us and stay right beside us no matter what the new year brings.
Key words: hope for 2021, adversity, sea of change, God brings us through, God beside us
Luke 2:8-11 – And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, face masks were lined up next to presents and snacks. Silence filled the air save for a cough and a sneeze and a tossing and turning in bed. The children had cried until their bodies gave way to sleep for, they feared that Santa wouldn’t come down their chimney because COVID had entered their house. But up in the sky many years ago a star shone out with no thought for how well the humans below felt. The angel appeared to the shepherds with their good news which did not depend on any calculations of new cases of COVID or any other disease. For One had been born who would wipe away tears and heal the hurting and broken hearted. This Christmas, stars will shine in the sky and songs will be heard among the breezes as many will celebrate the birth of the Savior in spite of all the sickness that lay below. May this Christmas find you remembering the true meaning of Christmas and the One who came to heal the sick and broken hearted and gladden hearts with hope. And hope is truly the one thing we are all looking for this Christmas above all others. May God fill your homes with love and comfort and may joy rise up in the hearts of you and yours this Christmas.
Joshua 1:8a - Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.
Relaxation at Christmas may be even more important than other times of the year and it is critical to help you deal with stress.
The kind of relaxation I’m talking about isn’t sitting down in front of the TV or even reading a good book, though these can be an important part of helping you unwind. Relaxation sessions are setting time aside in a room that is quiet for the specific reason to just relax.
It’s best to set time aside in a quiet room, but if that’s not possible; then you can do smaller sessions even at your desk at work, if that’s all the time you have.
There are two main types of relaxation methods – progressive relaxation and visualization.
I like to visualize myself in a quiet setting beside a stream just downstream from a waterfall. The important thing is not where you imagine yourself being but imagining it in as much detail as possible.
Skillsyouneed.com in their article, “Christmas Stress Relief,” can be found some great advice on how to make your Christmas the least stressful as you can. One of the ideas is plan ahead and make a list of the things you will need to take care of before the big day. Along the same line is to make sure to get your Christmas cards out early. Many people are removing this form of stress by posting a Merry Christmas on Facebook or Instagram. My favorite idea is to decide a date when you will stop on Christmas preparations and spend some time enjoying the holidays. What good does it do if you have all the things on your list checked off if you find yourself frazzled and with no energy to enjoy your family and friends?
And even in the Bible, as the verse above says, it’s important to meditate on God’s word. There are many verses in the Bible about meditation. You can feel relieved that meditation is a good thing. Sometimes I choose when I’m doing a relaxation session, to focus my attention on a Bible verse and meditate deeply on it. And since we’re talking about relaxation at Christmas, why not choose a section of the Bible that tells the story of Christ’s birth and focus on what’s really important at Christmas.
Key words: Christmas relaxation, therapeutic to body, visualization sessions, progressive relaxation, change of focus
Job 8:21 - He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.
Did you know that seventy-five percent of our daily conversation is negative? It’s like instead of there being a “global warming,” instead we have a “global wining.” Everybody is finding reasons to be just plain grumpy. And there’s no sign of laughter anywhere. However, laughter can provide relief for chronic pain.
If we center our focus on the negative we will feel the way we think. You start to look at how you suffer. We all know we will suffer at some point in our lives, so why do we practice?
For example, if you say throughout the day, “I’m so tired,” it won’t be long if you weren’t really tired before you will be now. And your chronic pain will be worse if we keep thinking about it all day.
We can’t seem to even enjoy things these days. There are too many pessimists. Pessimists are accurate, but they don’t live as long as optimists.
Or then there are times when we someone asks us how we’re doing, and we answer, “I’m feeling fine.” So why don’t you tell your face your find? Take a look at this:
•A four-year-old: laughs 400/day
•An adult: laughs 14/day
Most of us are just dying for relief from stressful thoughts and would love to find some laughter along the way.
You ever wonder why zebras don’t worry? It’s because their whole life boils down to six seconds. A large lion starts his approach toward a zebra. The zebra lifts his head and senses the lion’s approach. Now he has six seconds in which he’ll either escape or become dinner. Humans tend to keep thinking about their worries and not act on them. This all adds to more stress and less laughter.
So why don’t we laugh? Why do we forget to enjoy ourselves? One big reason – the committee. I saw them coming. They were all loaded up in the mini-van. And they were coming to watch me.
We’re so worried about what others think of us. But if you really knew just how much people think about you, you’d realize that most people are too busy thinking about themselves to think about you, and you’d stop worrying about what other people think of you.
Just one more thing. Here’s an exercise prescribed by me:
Raise your eyebrows
Open your eyes
Hold your belly
Laugh hard for 30 seconds
Thirty minutes of laughter can produce 2-3 hours of pain relief.
And as a bonus, laughter is documented to relieve pain. So, get yourself a funny video to watch or go visit a friend who can make you laugh. You’ll get some needed social interaction and you just might lift someone else’s load too.
Helpguide.org in their article, “Laughter is the Best Medicine,” provide us some ways that laughter benefits our bodies. One of the ways is that laughter protects the heart by improving the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow. It also can add joy to life, ease stress and tension, and improves your mood.
Isn’t it time to enjoy life? The Bible verse above states that God will fill our mouths with laughter and joy. Laughter is a gift. Why not use it? And find some relief from chronic pain.
Key words: laughter relieves pain, get rid of negative, stop being pessimist, what you think matters, relief from stress
Hebrews 4:16 - Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Back pain and injury are seldom caused by a single injury. An activity is done the same way over and over, and then one event happens, and you can’t bounce back from it.
That’s why you’ve heard stories of people rupturing a disk by slipping on the bathroom floor or tripping over the sidewalk. The disk was already being slowly injured by doing things incorrectly, and then one more thing hit, the straw in the proverbial camel’s back, and the disk herniated.
At first, you might have only a few twinges in your back when you perform a task, but the more you do things incorrectly the more your pain will increase. Don’t wait for an accident to happen. Take the steps now to learn how to lift or move something correctly now.
Orthoinfo.aaos.org in their article, “Prevent Back Pain,” provides us with tips to help reduce your risk of back pain and injury such as taking your time and planning your work instead of rushing into it, position yourself correctly by placing the person or object close to your body and spreading your feet shoulder-width apart with your knees bent and stomach tightened, and don’t try to lift something by yourself if it’s heavy. The website also provides exercises to strengthen your back and abdomen as well as a discussion on weight loss and stopping to smoke.
God will help us in our time of need, but we must be willing, as the Bible verse states above to approach God with confidence. Don’t just overdo your work and lift something too heavy for you. Ask God and he will send someone your way to help, because he cares about every area of our lives.
Key words: reduce risk of injury, back pain, ruptured disk, tips on prevention
Exodus 18:17,18 – Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.”
When it comes to energy conservation, the whole world is trying to use the planet’s resources in a wiser fashion. Gone are the days of large cars which guzzled gasoline and onto the road came hybrid vehicles which reduce oil consumption by using an electric motor and a conventional engine. The vehicles themselves are also smaller and are more energy efficient in this aspect.
In addition to reducing fossil fuel consumption through the vehicles we drive, energy conservation also applies to optional choices for powering homes and businesses. Some examples include wind turbines, solar power, geothermal, hydroelectric and creation of fuel using materials such as corn, which is ethanol.
So why did I just give you a lesson on energy conservation? I did so because there’s another type of energy conservation at work – our bodies.
More and more these days extra tasks have been loaded onto our overworked backs, than perhaps any time in history. Working overtime, having two jobs, and balancing increased activities spent with our families. Our bodies can only take so much before they run out of fuel and break down.
So how do I manage to complete the job at hand while conserving my energy? I do things in bits and pieces of time.
Dealing with chronic pain and illness already reduces the energy I have available. Writing is not just tiring for your body. It also takes emotional energy to complete a project. I tend to feel overwhelmed trying to keep up with activities of daily living as well.
One way that I’ve found to conserve energy is I do things in bits and pieces of time. When I write, I don’t just sit down at my computer and write all day. I only have small windows of time that I feel up to tackling a task.
I have found that there are many benefits to only write in small bursts of time – It leaves me time to rest and relax between my writing shifts. I’ve found that this method frees up my mind and imagination. When I return to my computer, the words seem to flow from my mind and onto the paper. Though this method works great for me, others may find that they don’t have that luxury at work.
So here’s another thought: If you’re working on several projects at work, analyze which should take your top priority and then work in increments of one to two hours on one then one to two hours on the another.
When switching between projects (if allowed) take a ten to fifteen-minute break and get up and walk outdoors or at least find a different location to unwind for a few minutes.
Both of these suggestions will provide a break for your overworked mind and bring a fresh wind of ideas.
Webmd.com has some great ideas in their article, “Top 10 Ways to Boost Your Energy.” One of their suggestions is to increase your magnesium intake. If you’re not eating a balanced diet, you may not be getting enough magnesium in your diet. Eating a handful of nuts, increasing whole grains and eating more fish can help. Another suggestion is to drink more water and less alcohol. Even being slightly dehydrated can leave you tired and lethargic.
Take a look at the Bible verses above. Moses was taking care of all of the needs of the people. He was resolving disputes and imparting wisdom. His father-in-law saw all that he was doing and told him it was too much work for him. He recommended that Moses appoints leaders who could settle small disputes and leave the big ones for himself. And Moses took his father-in-law’s advice.
We all can seek help when something is too big for us to handle. We don’t have to do it all ourselves. Being overworked can lead to not having enough energy to complete the tasks you need to get done. Conserve your energy wisely.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.