The Reality of Knowing Your Limits: Reduce Your Perfectionism and Reduce Your Chronic Pain

I’ve decided to be realistic. Although I chose to obtain a 2-day ski pass at a low, senior price, several factors induced me to say, “One day is enough!”
For one, alpine skiing has changed considerably since 2006 or the last time I skied before my six surgeries. The parabolic skis are shorter and more delicate to traverse given you don’t shift your weight totally onto the downhill ski when turning. As well, the ski boot is higher
and much of your weight angles slightly forward putting much pressure on your shins.
Secondly, there hasn’t been much snow or snow making in the northeast mountains, even on the easiest, green- circled trails to which I remained on yesterday. While they did get some base in early December, the intense cold, followed by a mix of rain, warm temperatures and fluctuating weather conditions in late December and January didn’t help sustain any great ski powder. You can tell this was quite ‘painful’ for the ski crew, including the instructor with whom I wisely took a 90- minute lesson. The trails were hard- packed with little to no powder to glide and had intermittent patches of ice. I was amazed looking up to the double- black trails that I used to ski easily, glaring like a mirror from the intermittent sun’s reflection on long patches of ice.
Finally, I realized that, while I had been steadfast in exercising by bicycling indoors at my club, I hadn’t necessarily strengthened other muscles, like those on my shins where you now place much of your weight when skiing. The consequence was my getting intense, muscle cramps in my shins during the night.
On the positive side, I am able to spend precious quality time today with a close friend who chose to come with me but didn’t ski and would have had to stay indoors at the ski lodge to read for an entire second day. Instead, we’ll spend sometime together touring Portland, Maine or Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
The lessons I learned proved valuable l for anyone who has had a history of chronic pain. They include the following:
1. Do what’s realistic!
2. Know to reaffirm, “You’re good (or you’ve done) enough”!
3. Lower your self- standard’s!
4. Be cognitively flexible, knowing when to change decisions when factors beyond your control exist.
5. Be grateful for what you can do, knowing full well that your standards for the present implies ‘letting go’ amd accepting what you’d love to do or what you could have done in the past.

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