Autumn is traditionally my favorite season. It is time to put away the last vestiges of an uncomfortable and humid New England summer. As the pumpkins reach their prime, the trees are ablaze in a riot of colors and brisk northern air indicates it is time to start baking and snuggling with loved ones. Once November comes, I contemplate piles of pies rising to the ceiling, days of giving thanks, and my birthday, which occurs late in the month. Apple cider, warmed, and a crackling fire…the very idea makes me happy and drowsy. Instead of contemplating the barren and unforgiving nature of winter, I view November almost reverently.
As the winter chill is finally starting to settle into New England, I have found myself unusually grumpy and a bit frayed around the edges. November no longer seems as it is my friend, for it has only brought me pain this year. As the cold and warm fronts shift back and forth, each seeking to claim territory for their own, those who are sensitive to these changes are suffering. Days seem to stretch into oblivion, as tears leak over my cheeks, unbidden. My body has been overcome with systemic inflammation and my head slowly implodes. Last week, I reached an 8 on the pain scale (1-10, 10 being worst). I have not experienced that level of pain in a while, for which I am thankful.
The common advice for those unfortunate enough to have weather changes as a trigger for their pain, is to prepare for it. That is it. Prepare. It seems like such simple advice, but is it? I cannot travel to an area where the weather won’t shift. I cannot move to a place that doesn’t have colliding fronts. I know the pain will come, expected, though I am unprepared. Thus the cycle begins, a cycle of hopelessness. But, it does not have to be that way.
While limited in our physical options, we can take steps to prepare for the days where the weather tries to defeat us. Here are a few suggestions, but feel free to comment any additional suggestions.
- Pay attention to the weather. Start tracking weather conditions and barometric pressure. You may find that not all weather changes effect you in the same way.
- Reduce your obligations. If you know you are going to have a bad day, start preemptively shifting your schedule. If it isn’t necessary, move it to a different day.
- Care for your mind. Work on developing coping techniques you can employ during high-pain days. Mindfulness and counted breathing are extremely helpful for me, but you should use what works for you
- Create a Self-Care Box. Fill it with items that will help you be comfortable. You may like a heated blanket, soothing music, earplugs, an eye mask or soft tag-free clothing. The options are endless and I will discuss what items I have in my Self-Care Box in my next post.
With Kindness, on this World Kindness Day,