Since I’ve been struggling a lot with muscle pain, I thought this was something I could address today.  Let’s face it, it’s pretty hard to be motivated to work when you’re aching (or having shooting pains down your legs or whatever).  But if you’re like me, a growing to-do list can be a big anxiety.  Here’s some ways I’m working on coping:

Young Woman Holding Her Neck in Pain

#1 Accept that you won’t be at 100% potential

This is a hard one for me.  If I’m not at 100%, I often end up at 0%.  Perfectionism makes me not want to try at all if I can’t perform to my full potential.  But I’m working on remembering that any effort is better than none.  If I accept this, then I will get some of my work done, even if not all.

#2 Listen to your body

Muscle pain is your body’s way of screaming for rest.  Take frequent breaks, stretch a lot (my chiropractor says as often as your dog stretches!), pay attention to the way you sit or stand, and drink lots of water.  Then when your work day is done, make sure you get plenty of sleep.

#3 Invest time in repair

Sometimes it’s hard to justify taking time away from that pile of work to take care of a personal problem.  But that 30-60 minutes you take for a massage or adjustment might increase your productivity enough to cover the lost time.  If you ignore the problem, it won’t go away.  It will eventually incapacitate you to the point that you can’t do anything at all.

#4 Give yourself an ounce of prevention

Put some thought into how this happened.  Did you sit with poor posture?  Did you lift something heavy the wrong way?  Did you overdo your exercise regime?  Did you sleep funny?  Do what you can to prevent the problem from recurring.  Adjust your computer set-up so you don’t strain your neck or arms.  Lift properly or ask for help next time.  Be careful to exercise properly and within your body’s limits.  Invest in proper pillows or a new mattress.

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I know it’s no fun to work when you’re in pain.  But with a bit of planning and self-care, we can get past it.

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