Knowing your limits and why pacing is so important 

When you have a chronic illness it becomes soo important to pace yourself, every chronically ill person knows that it’s one of the best ways to manage your illness. It means setting yourself boundaries and however hard it may be you have to learn to say no to things that will be too much for your body to handle.

Anyone that knows me and is reading this post knows that I am not the best person at pacing myself. I hate saying no to my friends and family when they make plans because I hate letting them down even if I’m not really well enough to see them. I also like to finish a task once I’ve started which means that I push my body past it’s limits which means that I end up really ill. This doesn’t mean that I don’t try my best to pace myself when I can though, I just find it very difficult to do however each day I’m learning to know my limits better and learning when I need to say no.

Pacing can be different for everyone and at all levels. Pacing for one person may be pacing themselves with uni work and for another it can be things as small as knowing the best time to wash your hair or get dressed when your body isn’t too exhausted for you to manage it. I have to pick and choose what I can do each day, doing too much can leave me in bed for anything from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.

Being chronically ill means planning everything in advance even if on the day you are too unwell to do what you had planned. I have to pay very close attention to my body and what my body struggles with and it’s limits. It’s all about balancing your rest and activity. Pacing gives you awareness of your own limitations which means that you can plan the way that you use your energy more effectively.

I find it hard to pace myself because before I got sick I was a relatively active person, I went to college, went out with my friends, spent time with my family and took part in sports. Now I struggle to be able to even wash my hair once a week, I tidy up rarely, I avoid stairs as much as I can, I can’t stand up for longer than a few minutes without needing to sit down because I quickly become too exhausted. All of these things that most people don’t even think twice about doing are totally energy draining for me.

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There are days when I push through activities or social events I know I shouldn’t simply because I just want to enjoy myself, even if it is only for a short amount of time before I collapse from exhaustion. It can be hard to watch your friends and family get on with their lives and go out and do things you only wish to do. This weekend my grandma is having an annual firework party and my whole family are invited and I’ve said I’m going because I love this time we all spend together even though I know full well I will spend the following days stuck in bed feeling mega ill but this is something that I just can’t say no to even though It’s going to take it’s toll on my body. I think sometimes you have to do things like that because it can be soo isolating being stuck at home the whole time.

There’s a lot of ways that you can learn how to better pace yourself, it’s all about alternating your activity and rest. Finding ways to conserve your energy levels is also key to helping you to pace yourself. Things I find help me are things like when I have a shower I use a shower seat to help me save energy because standing tires me out, I also use a wheelchair when I go out because I can’t walk very far. It is very important to rest when your body needs and to not push yourself too far. There are lots of links and websites online that can also help you to pace yourself and give you lots of coping strategies. I have included a couple of links below.

https://my.dchs.nhs.uk/Portals/0/Health%20Psychology%20Pain%20and%20The%20Three%20P’s_1.pdf 

https://www.actionforme.org.uk/uploads/pdfs/pacing-for-people-with-me-booklet.pdf

I hope that you have enjoyed this post and whether you have a chronic illness or not I hope that you have learn’t more about how to pace yourself and how important it really is when you live with a chronic illness.

Stay updated, more posts to follow.

Lots of love,

Meg x

 

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