When you have chronic pain or illness, sleeping can be inconsistent and difficult. The occipital nerve pain in my head flared up last week and by Saturday night I was in terrible pain. I slept all day and night Sunday and Monday because the pain tires me out, but it wasn’t restful sleep. I’m sort of aware of the pain even when I’m sleeping.
It is hard for me to sleep when my head hurts this much because it effects my face, scalp, neck and down into my back. Everything is tight and seized up so there’s a lot of tension. And of course that means my TMJ issues flare up. I can sort of sleep if I get my head in the perfect angle on my pillow, or sometimes if I can get the heating pad in a good spot. Or sometimes I’m up all night. Last night, I got about 3 hours of sleep. So today, I’ll try to be functional, but there is probably a nap in my future. I’ve learned to sleep when I need, even if it’s all day or in the middle of the day. Cancel plans if I need to. And I’ve learned to not feel bad about not doing something productive, or having to bail on a friend. Adding guilt or stress on top of the current situation only makes the pain worse. I’ve had to learn to let it go.
So on days like today, I try to be kind to myself. One of my favorite ways to do this is soak in the hot tub with my coffee and listen to my favorite podcasts. I hot-tubbed this morning, wrote most of the post, and enjoyed hearing the birds chirping and the the city coming to life. Even when I’m in bad pain, I look for moments like this to find gratitude. And it helps. It helps me be happy, even when I’m hurting. I hope you can find some gratitude in your life today. Even if it’s just something little.