16. Get comfortable saying “no” without beating yourself up.
“There are going to be times where doing something isn’t an option, whether it’s because you’re having a bad flare day or it’s simply dangerous for your health. Your safety is more important than another person’s opinion, and if they’re really going to make it hard on you, then they’re not worth your time anyway.”
17. Join a support group to connect with people who actually get it.
“Finding the right support group helped me a lot. I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which causes chronic pain among other things. Thankfully mine isn’t too bad right now, but I’m also a collegiate swimmer, and sometimes the pain gets pretty bad and not many people understand. Luckily I found a support group on Facebook specifically for athletes with EDS and it’s been very reassuring to know there are other people in my exact situation.”
18. Pick up an artistic hobby that can serve as a distraction or self-care act.
“Since I had to deal with my chronic pain alone, arts and crafts have been a huge outlet for me. They allow me to focus on the task at hand and make the more daunting tasks of the day go away. Even for people who don’t think they’re good at crafting, anything’ll do!”
19. Consider getting a pet.
“We currently have two guinea pigs and taking care of them and playing with them helps me more than anything else in this world. They help my PTSD, but also help my pain conditions because I take better care of myself to take care of them.”
20. Don’t get just any old massage — seek out one designed to help your pain.
“Therapeutic massage therapy! Massage therapy definitely cannot help everything, but if you can find a therapist who truly understands the body and how the nerves and muscles interact, they might be able to start you on the track to feeling better. Don’t go to a spa expecting medical-grade bodywork — do some research and find someone who specializes in what you need.
Final note: therapeutic massage does NOT necessarily mean deep tissue. If your massage therapist hurts you, they’re doing it wrong. If your body is more comfortable with light-touch massage, that’s okay! It can still be massively beneficial.”