Self Care When We’re in Pain – Mindfulness and Much More

I’m sitting upright now. The painkillers have kicked in. I was able to do a little very gentle yoga and the views outside have worked their magic. The hot water bottle helped, too.

But earlier, I was doubled over in pain for a long time. I’m fortunate that my endometriosis (which I’ve had since my early teens, diagnosed in my 20s when I had daily pain) is very manageable. Today has been a reminder of how far I’ve come and rather than do my usual wait until I feel better to write or vlog about it, I thought I’d share more of the process.

I decided to try video without makeup (am wanting to share more videos in general and if I can do them without makeup, I’m more likely to DO this as I’m very lazy). While I’m already feeling better, it took a few attempts to get up and stand upright long enough to record.

Even now, feeling so much better, that feels melodramatic to write! And this is one of the many benefits of mindfulness – the reminder that everything is temporary and that when we feel our feelings, they pass much sooner.

And, as I mention in the video above, while there are studies about the benefits of mindfulness being better than opioids for pain relief, when we’re in pain, it’s an advanced practice to stay in our bodies, to manage that mindfulness.

Self-talk matters, too – I could have easily talked myself out of sharing this. My pain is nothing compared to what so many people are facing. But if any of this helps readers connect with your own self care tools and resourcefulness, hopefully, it will support you in helping yourself feel better.

As with everything, the more we practice when we’re well, happy, contented, at ease and so on, the more likely we’re going to be able to draw on our resources when we need to.

When I did my yoga therapy training, Daniel Siegel was one of our guest lecturers. His ‘window of tolerance’ idea is so so so so soooooo so simple and yet, I was conscious this morning and afternoon that I almost overdid it.

In a nutshell, we all have a window of tolerance for discomfort or pain (physical, emotional etc etc). Often, when we’re wanting to heal, we can open that window wide only for us to overdo it and slam it shut.

By building up gradually (eg, a mindful minute meditation rather than attempting to start with 20 minutes), we ease open that window in a more sustainable way.

I regularly encourage clients and students to notice the ways in which they can put additional supports in place and be extra kind to themselves because this means progress will be more enjoyable and sustainable.

I’ve built my practice to be sustainable in spite of my (fortunately rare now) Bad Days. After I post this, I’m meeting Grace & Frankie back on Netflix for a little while 🙂

As we build our tolerance, that window opens more but is less likely to slam shut and potentially break.

Even so, this morning, I was all, ‘Right. Hello pain, let’s DO this. I don’t have any clients until later. I’m going to be fully present. On purpose….’

And the hot water bottle, the lie in, the Cat/Cow yoga gentleness, the leaning into tennis balls as pain relief, the Lucozade (I KNOW sugar has a bad reputation but I’m a sober vegan. Unless I have to give up sugar, I’m keeping it. Lucozade, reminds me of my grandmother and on bad pain mornings, makes me smile. I’m also aware that I had more sugar than usual yesterday and am pretty sure that contributed to today’s pain) all helped a little but it wasn’t until I gave myself permission to have a pain killer that I was able to then actually breathe into the lower abdomen and be more open to its messages for me in those moments.

We have so many resources available to us. Self care means seeking help (from a GP, therapist or someone else) when appropriate as well making those little decisions to help ourselves.

If you’d like to work with me – wherever you’re based – you can find out more about my online self care coaching, online psychosynthesis counselling, online coach-therapy, online supervision and more.

Get in touch today to arrange your free telephone consultation

And if you’re local enough to Westport, Co Mayo, Ireland, I still have some spaces for Saturday’s Sleep Yoga and next week’s Summer Solstice: Your Time to Shine workshops.

I also have some face to face options, Monday afternoons, for counselling in Westport, self care coaching in Westport, coach-therapy in Westport and supervision in Westport.

What helps you do the things that support self care when you’re in pain?

Big love,

Eve Menezes Cunningham self care coach therapist supervisor

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