Reading Jo’s blog yesterday I’ve been thinking that I don’t really get enough proper rest. I mean real rest without a lot of stimulation.
It’s something I’ve been saying I will improve on for at least a year now yet it never seems to stick.
I don’t count myself as a boom and bust person. I pace fairly instinctively now but not as rigidly as “proper” pacing. I tried after my diagnosis to do pacing by a strict baseline and just couldn’t get to grips with it all. I also tried to implement a routine of rest and activity structured throught the day. It drove me crazy. Trying to stick to a schedule and rigid pacing was more frustrating than anything else!
I admit I feel a bit of a failure because I don’t pace in a clinical sense.
But I’ve heard a lot about how proper rest is important to recovery and feel a fraud and a failure for not prioritising it better.
The problem I have is getting into the routine of taking regular rest breaks through the day. I forget to stop, forget to rest.
I tried setting myself regular times each day to rest but that doesn’t seem to work for me. My morning through to after lunch routine varies by how well I feel and how well I sleep (or don’t). As for the afternoon I make excuses I suppose. It seems I can’t find the right time that suits me to just stop and rest.
Sometimes I think it would help if I had a place I could go physically that marked rest time. But it’s probably just another excuse.
I’ve bought a watch with vibrating alerts to remind me to rest. I’ve got worry/prayer beads to give me a structured way to relax and meditate. I’ve bought relaxing music to play to help me rest. I’ve sworn I will start to do daily meditation time after time.
What I haven’t found is a way to make it stick. A way to have permission to stop.
It’s like I’m frightened of something. Frightened to stop. Or afraid that I have so little time to “do” the little I can achieve that resting is somehow robbing me of opportunities. Surely it would give me more resources to use?
I think I have to look at rest a different way. That a 20 minute or half rest is like taking medicine. That it’s a vital part of treatment. And that it has to be a priority.
Now I just have to remember to think that way and remember to stop. This doesn’t sound like much of a plan!
I know I have the discpline so why haven’t I been able to apply it to this?
It’s difficult to motivate myself into doing nothing.
Postscript: I should clarify about pacing. I do pace every day and every week. I pace within the energy/resources and health I have available.
What I haven’t mastered is being able to pace from a baseline. To only do each day what I would do even if I was at my worst.
Having done a little reading this morning about pacing advice I am actually pretty much doing what they say but without the proper resting. I tend to be on the internet in periods between other activities rather than resting. So there needs to be an adjustment in the balance I think.
Here’s a few articles about pacing:
- How to pace from Sutton ME/CFS Support Group with guidance on setting baseline
- AYME – Pacing
- How I Gained Hope and Control: Pacing for the Bedbound Patient – a personal experience of pacing
- ME/CFS Society of WA – Pacing
- UK NHS information sheet on pacing from St Bart’s