Pacing is key to managing fibromyalgia symptoms. we all have such a busy life that it seems impossible to do. How to pace yourself with fibromyalgia.

Why is pacing so important?

Fibromyalgia usually goes hand-in-hand with severe fatigue and sleepless nights. Together, this two leave you drained and exhausted. So it is understandable to wanna get everything on your to-do list is done on good days. But then you pay for it with three days of pain and discomfort on the couch. You regret it and become even more frustrated with yourself. The key to less pain and more productive days is pace.

How do I pace myself?

There are alot of pacing strategies to help you live better with fibro. To get you started, experiment with some on the list below.

Know your body

When you know your body, then you know how to work with it and not against it. You need to listen to it and know how it communicates to you. To know your limit is to know how much physical and mental exhaustion your body can handle in a day. When are you most energized? What activities affect me most and what are the early symptoms of you overdoing it? Once you know the answers to these questions, you know how to work with your body.

Short Activity

It is easy to want to plow through a big job or list. Remember that the push over-crash does not work. Work for a short time and rest for 20 minutes, back to working for another short time.

Keep in mind that the amount of time you work depends on your capability for activity.  It’s best to start low, maybe 15 minutes, and increase, after a few days, to find the right balance. You may need to adjust to meet your need.

Routine

It helps to have a routine and try to stick to it as much as possible. Doing this allows you to live your life in a predictable way, which in turn reduce your stress level and increase your chance of living within your limits.

Routine can be difficult to stick to given that our condition is unpredictable. We don’t know when we will have a bad day or when a good day will turn to a bad one without warning. So when creating a routine, keep the bad days in mind,  and include room for flexibility and communicate with loved ones

Scheduled Rests

These are planned rests rather than in reaction to symptoms. You set aside a time for it, the amount of time you need to rest depends on your body. However, you don’t want to sleep too much during the day as it might affect your sleep at night.

Rest means that you are lying down with your eyes closed in a quiet place. There is no tv. on, no talking on the phone or chatting with loved ones. Plaine and simple.

You will feel energized afterward. To gain maximum benefit, you need to be consistent with making resting part of your daily schedule regardless of how you feel.

Prioritize

Before you prioritize your tasks, you need to know what hours of the day you’re more energized. Some of us are too much in pain in the morning to get anything done and get better as the day goes on. Others are good to go in the morning but not so well later on the day.

To set priorities, you first need to list the activities you do in a week and estimate the time each would take. Second, you add up the times and compare them with the limits you set for your day.

If items on your list take more time than your limits allow, (say it will take you 8 hours to complete your tasks, but your body can only handle 5 hours), it’s time to reprioritize items on your list. This is when you decide which activities you will keep and which ones will be dropped or modified.

Switching Tasks

Rather than doing one activity for a long time,  try changing activities frequently. This way you’re not tiring the muscles you are using and causing pain. This applies to both physical and mental activities.

For instance, say you want to do laundry, pay bills, do dishes, return phone calls and check your emails. Do not follow that order. Instead, pay bills, check your emails, do laundry, return phone calls and do dishes. You can fold your laundry another day.

And please don’t forget to take your scheduled rests in between.

It’s a learning process. Tackle each of the above strategies at your own pace. Subscribe to learn how to include exercise in your daily routine.

Author

Raina is a psychology student who understands the importance of caring for mental health. She blogs about depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, men and mental health and parenting kids with ADHD.

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