Pacing. What’s Pacing?

I hear about “pacing yourself” all the time. The Doctor’s suggest it, other Spoonies swear by it, it’s offered as a key to success on Social Media; but I’ve just never found it to be helpful.

I spend too much time on the couch, although these days, I’m grateful it’s no longer bed. So for me, anytime I have the strength or capability to get off the couch, I do so running. (okay, maybe not running, maybe more like a slow, clumsy limp)

Today was a classic example of that. My morning pain meds kicked in and I had all sorts of aspirations and goals for today. I managed to get a couple things done, like throw dinner in the crock pot and de-clutter the kitchen island, but once I got in the shower, all bets and goals, were off. I’ve been on the couch ever since accomplishing a shower. (Dysautonomia sucks)

So, I had approximately two productive hours in my day today. I really wish it had been a productive four hours, but I guess I’ll be happy with two.

While the recommendations to pace yourself are certainly well meant, I have found that I never gain anything from doing so. I spend countless hours here on the couch “resting” or recovering or incapable of doing anything. So to me, to sit and rest when I’m finally feeling okay is impossible.

Now I’m sure many people find that they need to pace themselves so they don’t flare or exhaust themselves. But for me, I am constantly tired and in pain. Flares have no predictability; other than after tremendously stressful situations. In the seven years that I have been sick I have never found a way to head off a flare or the exhaustion and pain.

So when I can, I run with my capability. They’ll be plenty of time sitting on the couch to recover. Like now.

Love Stacey

p.s. Like my Schnauzer’s nose in the pic? The dogs love that I’m always on the couch. As for the Lion(s), he belongs outside. He just doesn’t like the cold, so he’ll be here inside with us until Spring.

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Fighting with Fibro and Living With Purpose. Mom, Wife, Blogger and animal lover. Fighting with Chronic Illness on a minute by minute basis; sometimes winning.

8 thoughts on “Pacing. What’s Pacing?

  1. Pacing… yes, how do I say this? The first ten years of fibro you go from bad to worse. At my worst, I was awake only four hours a day. In constant high levels of pain. Then I gradually came out of that and went headlong into not being able to sleep but in too much pain to move much… when you get to pacing, maybe in years 12-15 and on… it’ll make sense. You deal with additional coexisting conditions so that time line will probably be extended. One thing you will always try to survive is a shower. I do not know how or why but once I shower I’m done for the day. So try evening showers or baths, every other day and find a great dry shampoo and lovely moisturizing body lotion. (Scented or not, according to your likes.) pacing is doing something for 20 minutes and resting for 10. I’m 20+ years into this and I’m a 10/10 gal. 10 on, 10 rest. I limit cleaning to one room a day and the hubby vacuums. Then there are flare days, weeks, sometimes months when the bed and the couch are my only comfort. Whew! This too, is temporary! PS. Love those socks and the lion is superb! Hang in there! It’s a chess game. Every player is unique.💜

    1. Wow. How very interesting, Kim. I’ve never heard a progression like what you just described. Thanks so much for that. Kind of crazy-all I did was sleep the first couple/few years too. Now, the insomnia is atrocious. Wow.

      As for the shower, my Cardiologist actually explained.
      It’s due to vasodilation which is when the blood vessels widen and blood pressure drops!!!

      So the heat and hot water, plus the temperature difference (in the room with the steam), causes blood pressure to drop and all the blood gets pulled away from the organs like the heart, lungs and brain.

      This gives all the symptoms of a fainting spell-if I don’t actually faint. Even when I don’t feel faint, showers zap all my energy while I recover from that process.

      Now, I try to shower faster and I leave the window open. Due to Raynaud’s, I get too cold to make the water colder; but that’s his other suggestion.

      And I wish I could skip a day. LOL-take a look at one of my pics 😉 if I ever didn’t use water, shampoo and a gallon of conditioner my hair would get so tangled I’d need to shave my head. HA

      1. Thank you for the shower explanation! Wow. This is why we are zapped! Well, I would opt for the shaved head!😂🤣😂 I have developed a sensitivity to temperature changes but not Raynaud’s. That must make this all much more difficult. Those coexisting illnesses are so complex! JUST having fibro seems like a breeze once everything else gets thrown into the mix! Too many cooks in the kitchen! Have a great weekend, Stace! 😊

  2. There is no rhyme or reason as to when my flares occur or my energy is zapped. I have not been able to pace anything, ever. That is the most frustrating thing of all for me. My mind wants to plan things, but what is a good idea or plan in the morning, is impossible in an hour or
    two. It has taken me years to accept this and not beat myself up over what doesn’t get done or plans that are canceled or postponed. It really sucks, but it is what it is.

    I am so glad to know I am not the only one who has difficulty showering!!! My hair is shoulder length and I have to shower and then wash my hair later in the sink. There is no way I could stand up long enough in the shower or raise my arms up and do both at once. I really thought I had sunk to a new low by showering every other day this winter!

    1. No low, Gail. I’m glad you do what you need to for your body. But if you’re worried, just wear perfume (or Essential Oils), no one will ever know 😉😂 (totally kidding).

      I just posted a response to Kim describing what my Cardiologist said about showers. It makes me insane that something as simple as showering becomes such an arduous project. It should be second nature…..I’m glad to know it isn’t only me. 🙄

      I’m learning a lot from all the comments!! YAY.

      I’m the exact same way. I have plans and a to do list. By 2:00, I turn into a pumpkin. It’s so frustrating. You’re right, I try to plan my life around knowing that, but it can be really defeating.

      As always, Gail, I’m SO glad you commented!!!

      Love Stace

    1. Shower seat. I had one after knee surgery, and now just use it every day to shower. I don’t always need to sit, but when I do…. They are not expensive.

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