1. Change your environment. You have changed. Your body has changed. It will never be the same. So, change your environment to be as easy to manage as possible. Make a project out of it. Carefully think out each area in your house from the linen closet to the entry way. You are never going to be the old you... So be the new you, who has a comfortable environment, so you can enjoy your life. Your time. Instead of trying desperately to keep up with an environment that is a "ghost" of who you were in the past.
2. Learn to communicate your pain effectively. Don't just say, "I'm in pain!!!". Instead, be descriptive. "I am having a flare today in my lower back. It is a level 7 today.". Being able to effectively communicate your pain to others will help your relationships. Inside and outside of your home.
3. Change your meals. If your pain is inflammation based, add in fruits and vegetables that will help you fight inflammation. Remember, the darker the fruit, the more natural anti-inflammatory properties it has.
4. Sit! So, you are out shopping with the family. Your half way through the store and your back is screaming. So, SIT! Do not keep going. Take rests as soon as you need to. If you are with others make sure you keep a little hand held cooler with you. Sit and have a snack and bottled water with friends / family. That way you don't have people "waiting" on you. You would be surprised how much communication happens when you take time to "sit and rest your body" (you know, smell the roses!).
5. Very important. Include your spouse in your care. Bring them to your appointments. Schedule your appointment around their schedule when you can. Make sure you sign releases so your spouse can talk freely with your care providers. To have understanding, you first need to give them the knowledge they need to understand. Include your spouse in your care decisions. "I have been experiencing this flare for over a week now. It isn't getting any better. What do you think *we* should do?". You are not the only one sick.
6. It isn't just you who is sick. Your whole family is. Focus on whole family wellness. Don't let your pain dominate the lives of your family members in a negative manner. Put yourself in their shoes. Communicate with your family. Explain what is happening to your body, to your children, in terms they can understand. Use *we* when referencing your pain. You are not the only one sick. It takes a village to raise a baby and it takes a strong family to over come chronic pain.
7. Last but not least.... If you can, then do. So, you cannot stand? Grab a stool and help wash the dishes. So, you only were able to wash 2 plates and 1 fork? That is okay. You did what you could. Alright, so you were able to dust off one book shelf. Then you did great. You did as much as you could and that is what matters. Do not look at what you didn't do, look at what you were able to do.