Sunday, 23 April 2017

Pacing: Swap, don't stop.

My motto for today is 'swap, don't stop'.

It's from our 'Pacing, handy hints' poster, and it's been just what I needed today.

Both my pain and fatigue levels are pretty high. What I feel like doing is curling up on the sofa and not doing anything.

And it's totally right that I do need more rest today, but actually, today, for me, good pacing isn't about stopping everything. It's about swapping.

So I got up, and then rested and watched some TV. But I keep swapping between watching TV and doing little tasks. Or more correctly: sections of tasks.

Here are some of my accomplishments so far:

  • tidying my bed
  • stretching
  • sorting the washing
  • putting a wash on
  • tidying my bedroom floor
  • stretching
  • sitting on a stool to empty the dishwasher and put everything onto the side
  • hanging up the washing
  • writing this blog


I think my next 'swap' break will be putting the clean dishes away into cupboards. You see, I find pacing for when I'm this fragile much easier if I split the task into it's small sections before I start. So when I emptied the dishwasher - I had already decided that I would phase one (empty dishwasher) separately from phase 2 (put clean dishes away.) This way I'm much less likely to get caught up in the task and overdo it.

And in between each task I have down time. I'm currently watching Ellie Downie's gymnastic amazingness at the European championships on BBC iplayer.

But I'm also being careful to make sure that my down time isn't flopping into positions which aggravate my conditions - but is well supported. (i.e. lots of cushions!)

So while some days my 'swap don't stop' is about switching between tasks, today's 'swap don't stop' is about switching between rest and gentle movement rather than spending the whole day flopped.

And so far it's been a success. Pain and fatigue aren't escalating, but at the same time I feel a great sense of achievement because despite the symptom level, I am achieving lots of little things that become bigger things. I just have to keep remembering to stick to very short tasks/sections rather than trying to complete larger tasks in one go and then crashing out - and having to stop entirely.

I've already achieved far more than I thought I'd manage all day with this symptom level. But the best bit is that I've done so without worsening my symptoms.