I have a new rule that hopefully will help me in controlling my CFS symptoms and learn to pace myself better. From now on, unless I am sick or crashed, every day I will try to do at least 10 minutes of activity in each of 4 categories: Housework, Personal Care, Outdoor Activity/Exercise, and Social Activity. This way I will be pacing myself in a well rounded way, spending some time on each aspect of life, so as not to fall behind or over-do it in any one area.
Usually I over-do it by doing way too much for one or two days, like trying to clean the whole house at one go, or going out to visit and staying 5 hours. Then I am flat on my butt for a week. I will probably get more done, in a less stressful and physically damaging manner, if I parcel my energy carefully, reeling it out a bit at a time. I’ve read the rule of thumb that for every minute of work you do, you need to rest three times that amount; so, if you work 5 minutes then stop and rest 15. You can break your 10 minutes in each category up into 5 minute spurts as well. This method is supposed to help your body from crashing. It is important, as well, to alternate the activities, for example: physical balanced against mental against social. Spend 5 minutes sweeping, rest 15 minutes, then spend the next 5 minutes say, blogging, rest, then 5 min. on the phone.
Today, for example, I took a bath, so that was my personal care. Then I put in a load of wash and washed the dishes, so that was my house up-keep. A schedule like this is hard to follow though, when I know that I still have 6 loads of wash left to do. I just want to get it all done and get it over with! If I did though, I’d be useless for the next week and in that time more things would pile up and cause more stress. So you need a lot of self discipline to control your impulses to do too much at once, and to make sure you take everything in small increments with the rest period between.
Up to now it’s been a real two step backward, half forward thing, where I’m continuously playing catch-up and stressing over all I need to do. Hopefully, my new system will make it a two step forward, half back thing, not perfect, but better. Meanwhile, my house is a sty but I just have to try to ignore it and work away bit by bit. Yesterday I spent my time working in the kitchen and i kind of went over my 15 minute interval by 1 1/2 hours but……it was soooo dirty. My window was partially open while I was away several weeks and everything was covered in a fine silt, so I just HAD to clean that. Anyway, I still only got that job half done. I would have finished it today, thereby disrupting my new pacing strategy, except I HAD to do a wash today, I had no underwear!!! And so it goes. Wish me luck.
Let me know your pacing strategies or any other ways you cope with managing your energy.