The Perils of Pacing

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Last Updated on November 20, 2015 by melissanreynolds

When you have chronic pain and fatigue, you get used to doing what you can. Using the energy you have. When the goalposts change it can be hard to figure out where you’re at.

You are so used to pushing, that you push right past what is a sensible limit.

Nu having a rest

Yet, if you don’t push, you are accused of limiting yourself – creating your own box. And you don’t get any further.

I can be my own worst enemy, no one pushes me further than I do. But my husband and son are a close second.

Mounds of literature on Fibromyalgia include pacing as a core non medicinal treatment. A part  of what you can do in cognitive behavioral therapy (another prominent Fibromyalgia treatment) is to keep a diary of your activities for the purposes of finding limits and trying to stick to them.

But my energy and pain levels change so often, I couldn’t tell. Last year, a long walk would have caused a great deal of pain afterward. Last week, I did a 50 minute walk with my husband and son. The only side effect was “normal” muscle tension the day after.

The part after learning your limits isn’t so easy either. I know that I need to rest around 3pm – after work and before the evening. But on the weeks when my husband works day shift and when there’s a lot on, I can’t. So I deal with increased pain and fatigue.

It’s this proximity to normal we’re expected to live at. Where noone else sees or feels the consequences of normal activity.

Working until 3pm seems a luxury on its own, how can one need a rest?!

You just got into the habit of going to sleep at 930. (Like it can be changed when you’re absolutely struggling to keep your eyes open)

How hard can it be getting up with the toddler at 6 or 630am?

Sometimes I wonder the point of learning to pace myself. It’ll never be enough.

But then I rememeber my key principle for this life – I don’t have to live like that. I have tools and knowledge for a reason!

Some tiny steps to helping:

  • Keep to your desired bedtime, no matter what others may say.
  • Take a 10 minute Yoga Nidra or body scan meditation in the car after work and before picking the child up.
  • Find a stretch that you always find particularly delicious and do it a few times a day.
  • Utilise pacing tools when doing computer work (and good ergonomics always!)
  • Create an exercise plan and slowly work up, allowing for extra tired/painful days.
  • Learn that you need to look after yourself. Put that oxygen mask on yourself before you help others with theirs!
  • Grab any opportunity to do a meditation/hobby/exercise you love.
  • Try to listen to your poor body when it screams “no!” But always expect slightly more.
Do you have any other tiny tips for helping with pacing?

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