Coping Tools & Tips
We all cope, deal, grieve, survive challenges in unique and varied ways, knowing that what works for one doesn't work for the other.
Coping doesn't end at pain management. It extends to finances, relationships, daily chores and activities, and beyond.
Have a tip to share? Let us know!
All About Mindfulness
How to Garden When the Body Won't Bend
...You don’t have to give up on gardening when your body no longer cooperates.
“No style or garden is out of reach,” writes Joann Woy in her book, Accessible Gardening. “As with so many things in life, you may have to be a little more creative, a little more ingenious, and a little more adaptive to achieve the results you want.”
Here are tips on how you can continue your green passion no matter what physical shape you’re in.
Raise Them Up
Raised gardens – the higher the better – are the best way to eliminate the grunt work of gardening. Not only can you avoid bending to plant seeds and harvest vegetables, but you can fill the raised boxes with a potting soil and compost mix that will cut down on weeds for many seasons. And when weeds eventually appear, the light soil mix makes them easier to pluck.
Buy or build your boxes waist or wheelchair high.
Make sure you have enough room between boxes to maneuver.
Place boxes near a water source so you can easily hook up a hose or dip a bucket.
A world of ergonomic and extended tools exists for gardeners who have trouble bending, reaching and digging. You can find shovels with a D-grip that lets you arrange your hands in the most comfortable position, special pruners that reduce hand fatigue and blisters and extra long hand tillers with a grab bar that takes pressure off wrists.
Hanging Baskets: Plant strawberries, bush beans, chives—just about anything that doesn’t need a lot of room to spread—in hanging baskets attached to a pulley system that lets you lower baskets to whatever height is comfortable. Be sure to water often, especially during warm weather, and place baskets over a surface that will soak up draining water.
Gardening is growing up—literally. You can attach planters or trellises to the side of your house and grow a garden that is easy to tend. Vertical gardens can be as easy as hanging clay pots from a chicken wire trellis, or you can repurpose wood pallets by stapling landscaping paper to the back, filling with soil, then placing plants between the slats. I’ve even seen a vertical garden made from2-liter plastic bottles strung on rope and attached to the side of a building.
If you can’t get to the plant, let the plants get to you. That means selecting varieties that grow tall enough to harvest easily (tomatoes) or grow on trellises (peas and beans). If you’re planting a hanging basket garden, look for varieties labeled “compacta,” like Pixie tomatoes, which are smaller versions of larger cousins and won’t topple in containers.
Lisa Kaplan Gordon, creator of frugalgarden.com, is an award-winning journalist, avid gardener and fly-fisher. She lives in Northern Virginia on a half acre that always needs weeding. Please visit her on Twitter (@kaplan_lisa) and Facebook (Lisa Kaplan Gordon)
Check out Accessible Gardens
Hots Tips: Gardening
How Mindfulness Meditation Redefines Pain, Happiness & Satisfaction
Canadian Institute for the Relief of Pain and Disability
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction as a Strategy in Reducing Pain
Psychology Today describes mindfulness as "a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience." And according to EverydayMindfulness.org, "It involves paying attention to your thoughts and feelings in order to become more aware of them, less enmeshed in them, and better able to manage them."
It's a unique way of paying attention, thinking of thinks in a different way. It is looking at life as it happens, without focusing on the past or the future.
It's about responsiveness rather than reactiveness.
Mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress; lower blood pressure; improve problem-solving abilities, memory, concentration, focux and learning skills; aid in decreasing depression and anxiety; increase the flow of creativity; improve the quality of sleep; provide a general increase in both physical and mental well-being; increase confidence, self-esteem and productivity; and much more.
It takes practice, but there are many tools and tips for starting that fit into any lifestyle, anytime. There are different techniques and strategies; and, since not every method works for everyone, persevere until you find one that works!
Since one may be easier for you than another, keep on the lookout for a technique that is comfortable for you and your lifestyle.
There are a plethora of resources online to get you started. And the beginning steps are simple. There are also classes, workshops, yoga centers, and retreats if you want to learn in a more formal setting.
It can be practiced informally or formally. While you're driving, while you're eating, while you're walking. That's one of the benefits.
The practice of mindfulness has found its way into business, education and healthcare settings including clinics, hospitals (including Mt Sinai and Stanford) and therapy centers to aid with such issues as cancer, diabetes, fibromyalgia, HIV, hypertension, heart disease and hepatitis, to name a few...
why not give it a try?
Sometimes small changes can make big differences.
American Chronic Pain Association:
Family Matters Video Series
"Chronic pain may happen to one person but the whole family is affected. Our three-part video series Family Matters discusses the issues loved ones face and offers suggestions for keeping the whole family happier and more functional when chronic pain is an unwelcome guest in the home." - ACPA