Coping with persistent pain during the coronavirus pandemic

You can find ideas on the page below to help with coping with persistent pain during the coronavirus outbreak. We encourage you to try them out and see what works for you.

Routine

Plan activities. Each day, try to have at least one activity that gives you a sense of achievement, one that helps you to feel connected to others, and one that gives you a sense of enjoyment and pleasure.
Keep a routine to your days. Eat meals at regular times and do the things you would normally do in the morning to help you feel ready for the day e.g., change clothes.
Take medication in your normal routine. It might be easier to forget if you are not doing the same things you usually do.
Try to maintain a regular sleep pattern. If you can, reserve sleeping for the night time, going to bed at a regular time, and avoid staying in bed for anything other than sleep (e.g. avoid social media whilst lying in bed).
Set yourself a night time routine. If getting to sleep is difficult, turn off screens an hour before bed, reduce caffeine intake, avoid stressful activities late in the evening, practice relaxation and breathing exercises.

Movement and activity
Notice how long you stay in one position. If you get engrossed watching television or using the computer, set an alarm to remind you to move around or shift position every 20 minutes. Pain flare-ups can be caused by under as well as overactivity.
Find ways of replacing your normal outdoor physical activity. Try and adapt things so that you achieve your usual amount of movement levels, but within your home.
Pace your activity. Break activities up with rest periods and spread more strenuous activities out across the day and week.
Make adaptations to your home. Adjust things to make your life easier and to enable you to do the things you want to do. For example, lay your work or relaxation space out so that you are comfortable and not straining, clear space for you to move around your home more easily, and form agreements with your family about how you may get time to yourself.

Emotional wellbeing

It is normal that these stressful times may affect your mental wellbeing.

Notice the impact that the news and social media have on how you feel. If you feel unsettled or anxious, make an effort to restrict the amount of time you spend engaging with this type of media during the day. Maybe put aside a set time each day to hear updates.

Use positive activities to counterbalance the news you hear. For example, watch and listen to programmes and music that are uplifting, watch nature programmes or comedy shows that you like. Try doing activities that grab your attention rather than overly worrying about the future or the past.

Stay socially connected. Use telephones and other technology to stay in contact with family, friends or local support networks. If you struggle with talking on the phone, try writing e-mails or letters.
Use the internet to connect and learn new skills. If you are able to use the internet, you could make video calls, try new music, watch theatre, films, or try a "virtual" visit to a museum.
Make lists of the things that are worrying you. For those things that you have some control over, think creatively about possible solutions and consider the pros and cons of each idea before selecting one to try out. 
Focus on self-care and soothing activities. When you are faced with worries about things you have no control over, find soothing or distracting activities, such as listening to music, creative pursuits and relaxation or meditation. Some people find using positive affirmations helpful. Remember this will pass.

Helpful links & contacts
Assistance with practical tasks: If you are struggling or unable to go out, get help with shopping or picking up medications:

Emotional wellbeing support: Ring a local NHS telephone support service for people struggling with their mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak 0300 303 1320
Relaxation exercises: http://www.nbt.nhs.uk/relaxation
Mindfulness exercises:  http://goo.gl/0rYax
Understanding and soothing our emotional response: Youtube video ‘Using CFT’s Three Circles during COVID19’ https://youtu.be/rLrAfDKvsOM
Helpful apps: