What is Self-management?
Other terms like self-care or coping are more common, but these are not really useful either. Self-care is basically taking care of our daily needs, like washing/bathing, brushing our teeth etc. Although important, self-management is all about us taking action. Coping is just about getting by, but we really need to be proactive.
Yes, self-managing Many people have told me when their healthcare professional has told them, they need to self-manage, they have thought they are being abandoned. This is far from the truth. In fact, self-management is about working with your healthcare more closely, to learn more skills
Mary from Peterborough says Self-management is all about responding, not reacting.
Over the years I have asked other self-managers what their 5 key self-management skills are.
- Goal setting / Action planning
- Pacing daily activities
- Problem solving
- Keeping active, stretching and exercise
- Knowing what to do if something goes wrong (have a setback plan)
Here is a useful video, I like which describes perfectly what is what is self-management and how it works.
Self-Management Toolkit Workshops can be organised specifically for people with Long Covid and long-term health conditions. If you would like more information about them, please click here.
Have you become a can’t do person?
A ‘can’t do’ person is someone who has tried to carry out or take part in everyday tasks such as going to work, doing the housework, gardening, playing a sport, taking holidays, going to the cinema, eating out or taking part in family activities but has stopped or given them up because of their pain. When this happens, it is usual for your confidence levels to reduce.
Is this ringing any bells? If you have reached this point you need to stop and take action. By taking on board and practising the tools in the Pain Toolkit you could become a ‘can-do’ person again, but it could take time so please be patient with yourself.
Your next question may be Well, how can I become more involved and how do I get started?
Build a support team.
- Healthcare Professionals (make sure they are experienced with self-management skills)
- Partner and family
- Work colleagues
Using different skills and tools can be helpful. It is like a motor mechanic who has many in his/her toolbox to repair and maintain cars. People with pain also need a selection of tools to help them successfully self-manage it. It is best to have a variety of tools ready to use if and when needed, just like a good car mechanic. Of course, you may not need to use all the tools suggested in the Pain Toolkit, just the ones that help you self-manage better.
Self-managing persistent pain is not as hard as you may think, so let’s get started and look at the first tool in your new self-management toolkit.