Winter Is Here—How I’m Prepping for the Cold
The colder months are by far my least favourite time of the year. Sure, the snow is beautiful and it means I have an excuse to stop shaving my legs and spend less energy in the shower, but for us spoonies it also means a heaping amount of pain. During the summer I had forgotten just how much temperature affects my pain, that was until this last week rolled in and the colder weather really began.
I’m reminding myself that I’ve gotten through it before
Last winter was really hard on me. It was the first time in almost 8 years I had experienced that level of pain. I have a fairly high pain tolerance, so for me to say that my pain was at a 9/10 last year was saying a lot. The worst part about it all was that I was unmedicated and all I had to help cope was my trusty heating pad. Despite how awful it was, I’m reminding myself that if I had gotten through the waves of intense pain last year, I’ll survive this year. Sometimes all we can do is survive and that’s okay.
It’s important in the colder months to set aside time for light movement
Though I haven’t been well enough to go on walks or exercise much the last while because of my fatigue, it’s vital to try and incorporate movement into our routines during these cold months. My body becomes more stiff and uncomfortable, and it’s easy to want and snuggle up and bed all day, but I know that won’t be good for my body long term.
If I don’t take the time to lightly stretch my body, even just before bed, I know my body will pay for it later by stiffening up or having worse painsomnia. I try not to push myself too far, but rolling my neck and stretching my back can really make the world of a difference.
The balancing act of resting and moving
Speaking of movement, with AS too much of anything really is too much. Too much movement will cause me pain, but so will too little, especially on bed-rest days. It’s easy for time to pass by and for my terrible posture to become engraved into my bed and become uncomfortable.
To make things more manageable I try to take small breaks from resting in bed by getting up and walking around my bedroom, even if it’s only for 30 seconds. I’ll stand up, move my arms around and roll my neck, twist my back lightly from side to side, walk around the perimeter of my bed and then lay back down with my heating pad.
Bundle up and medicate
The easiest strategy and the coziest strategy. Socks are huge for me. I already have awful circulation in my feet so they are always cold, but in the colder months it makes it that much worse and causes pain. I also have an entire drawer of hoodies to turn to, as well as what seems to feel like an endless supply of blankets. Make sure that your clothes are lightweight and baggy. I find that it makes me the pain both easier to cope with and I am less likely to become frustrated. Tight clothing tends to make me more irritated. And of course if all else fails, we have our ol’ reliable medication to help take the edge off.
How much about your AS do you share with others?