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Chronic Life Hacks: Going to the Movies - Health Adjacent

Chronic Life Hacks: Going to the Movies - Health Adjacent

It''s possible to live well with a chronic illness...all you need is a little strategy and a sense of humor.

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Chronic Life Hacks: Going to the Movies

Lupus, Fibro, RA or any number of pain-inducing chronic illnesses can make going to the movies a challenge. Personally, I would rather watch them at home where I control the variables. But sometimes, that movie popcorn calls to me. So, Ive come up with a chronic life hack to make it more enjoyable.

The strategy is two-fold: control the environment (as much as possible), then trick out my

There is no real substitute for movie popcorn

person with goodies that will address the remaining factors. I start by looking for a movie theater that has those super cushy seats...bonus points if the arms fold up and I can make a mini love seat to snuggle with my sweetie. Movie seats have really come a long way. If in doubt, look for the newest theater near you...theyll have the best seats.

Another variable that I can control is time, both of the showing and length of the movie. I am best earlier in the day. Movie times that start around 11 am-1 pm are good choices. And when it comes to length, forget the 2.5-3 hour movies. Sitting in the same relative position for that long is only going to lead to one thing...pain. I heart movies that are less than 2 hours!

And be sure to arrive early...Im not talking super early, but get there early enough that the lights are still on. The last thing you need is to risk falling because you are stumbling around in the dark trying to find a seat.

Now that Ive chosen where Im going and what Im seeing, I put together a little toolkit to address the overwhelming stimuli of a movie shown in the theater. Many people with chronic illnesses have a hard time managing extreme stimuli. Extreme temperatures, sound, scents, and visuals can all lead to pain...and that is not a part of a fun movie experience (unless you are in to that sort of thing). Heres what I do to deal:

Earplugs: I dont know how non-spoonies deal with the decibel level. Its so freaking loud Im surprised we arent rendered temporarily deaf. I use the little foam earplugs. It dampens the sound enough that I can enjoy the movie.

Sunglasses: this only occurred to me after watching a 3-D movie...wearing sunglasses reduces the amount of visual stimuli, therefore reducing the likelihood that Ill end up with a migraine.

Layers of clothing: Ive found the temperatures in movie theaters to trend toward the cooler side. But, Im the kind of person who is always hot, so Im usually just fine. If you are easily chilled, dress in layers of clothing so that you can regulate your body temperature. Dont be afraid to bring gloves or a hat, particularly in winter.

Shoes: I recommend always wearing tennis shoes or some other close toed shoes with socks. Nobody wants popcicle toes.

Medication: always take your meds on time, with this much activity, you dont want to delay a dose. If the timing of your regular dosage occurs during the movie, take your meds with you and set a vibrating alarm on your phone to remind you to take it.

Nap: plan on taking a nap when you get home. If you are like me, regardless of what you do, youll be tired from all of the fun. Dont push yourself to keep going...give your body a break.

This might seem like a lot to do just to go to the movies. And you may decide its too much effort for the payoff...totally cool, consider a Netflix subscription for affordable home movies. But, if you decide you want that big screen experience, dont go without thinking through options for accommodations. It can make the difference between a great experience and a miserable one.

**By the way, I went to see The Life of Pi. The visuals were amazing...really stunning. And while it was a good story, it was just too much suffering for me. I just get so emo at the movies...jeesh...

Photo Credit: Sara Ackerman via Flickr

Posted at 09:46 AM in Chronic Life Hacks Permalink

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