Fatigue and low energy levels are common characteristics of many chronic illnesses. In fact, they’re so common that people with chronic illnesses routinely try to balance their energy expenditure to ensure they can complete essential tasks before the worst of their symptoms kick in.
Known as ‘pacing’, this technique can help you to manage your workload, your relationships and social events. Typically, people with symptomatic chronic illnesses aren’t able to do as much as they’d like. With an effective pacing technique, however, you can prioritize the tasks that are most important to you and find ways to conserve your energy so you’re able to take part in them.
To find the right technique for you, take a look at these top pacing methods for anyone suffering from a chronic illness:
Track your activity
Tracking your activity will allow you to monitor when your energy levels begin to dip and at what point you feel you’ve done too much. Without firm data, it can be difficult to objectively assess the information, so don’t solely rely on your own opinion of what you can and can’t do.
You can track your activity using a smartphone app or a pedometer, but a wearable device might be most effective if you’re tracking your fitness levels due to a chronic illness. With a watch or armband, you can simply wear the device all day to get an accurate idea of what your current limits are.
The most advanced trackers will collect a range of data, including sleep timings, heart rate, distance walked, and flights of stairs climbed. This level of detail allows you to build up a really accurate picture of your day to day activities and ensures you can monitor your energy output and restrictions with increased accuracy.
Split your day into blocks
If morning is usually your best time of day, you’re probably tempted to rush around getting as much done as possible, simply because you feel you can. Alternatively, you may stay up all night because this is when you have the most energy.
However, pushing yourself until tiredness overwhelms you isn’t good for anyone and it certainly won’t help you if you’re dealing with a chronic illness. Splitting your day into manageable chunks will help you to give your mind and body the rest they need at regular intervals.
You might work for 10 minutes, rest for 20 minutes and five minutes of meditation, for example. Alternatively, you might find that working for an hour, resting for two hours and half an hour of meditation works best for you. No matter what routine you select, modify it to find the perfect balance for your own unique needs.
Reduce your to-do list
Having a never-ending list of things you need to is enough to make anyone crawl back into bed and ignore the world around them. If you’re fed up of never completing your ever-increasing list of things you need to do, take the time to cut it down.
When you assess your to-do list, you’ll probably find that there are things listed on there that aren’t really essential and don’t bring you joy. If so, cross them off or place them in a separate list of ‘optional tasks’ to take the pressure off yourself.
Remember – you don’t have to do everything alone. Businesses increase their efficiency by outsourcing certain tasks to other people or companies and you can do the same thing. If you don’t have the energy reserves to get everything done, find a way to outsource tasks to someone you can trust and focus your own energy on the things you really need or want to do.
Living with a Chronic Illness
Challenging yourself from time to time can help you to break through barriers presented by your chronic illness. However, there’s no need to make things harder than they need to be. If you struggle with climbing stairs, for example, have a look here and get an idea of what a home stairlift could offer. Similarly, if you find it difficult to walk long distances, consider using a wheelchair, applying for a disabled parking permit or carry a walker with you.
Having the right tools and equipment to hand can make dealing with chronic illness much easier. Although people are sometimes reluctant to accept they need additional assistance, recognizing your body’s needs can be extremely beneficial. As well as coming to terms with your chronic illness, having the right equipment at your disposal will make it easier for you to do the things you love.