Not Enough Proper Rest?

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.

putting your feet up

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. 

flyman and me from above

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:


8 Responses to “Not Enough Proper Rest?”

  1. 1 Shelli February 12, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Pacing was something that I immediately embraced. I was surprised to find out how many people rebel against it because they feel like it is “cheating” them out of the things they love. Pacing for me was a way to fit more of the things I love into each day. Before pacing, I could count on a few good hours in the morning, and I was a zombie all afternoon and evening. I couldn’t interact with my kids or my husband. It was awful! With pacing, and permission to “let things go” if I’m not feeling up to it, I find I can last a little longer and actually do homework with the kids or chat for a few minutes or watch a tv show with my husband after work.

    That said, I admit I don’t do formal, scheduled pacing. It’s much more of an energy flow, really. I do a few things, I switch to brainless relaxing activities, I do a few more, I’ll watch tv on the couch, etc. It’s just what works for me.

  2. 2 Renee February 13, 2009 at 12:12 am

    I still struggle with pacing and am going to take another class with CFIDS Self Help to give me the added incentive. Others who do pace do much better. I spent so many months in pjs flat in bed or on sofa and unable to do anything for myself that once that changed a little I don’t want to go back there…BUT looking at rest with eyes closed and pacing activities, is medicine, YES. It is medicine just like food is medicine for our bodies too.
    Good luck with pacing…maybe start small with just one thing like a morning rest 4 days a week or 1 hr less of activity 3 days a week…something like that?
    Your posting has given me a nudge to do more in my pacing area too!

  3. 3 rachelcreative February 13, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Shelli – your pacing sounds similiar to what I do. I pace the energy/resources I have for any given day or week. I let a lot of things go too and I get the most I can out of each day without making myself more ill.

    What I haven’t mastered is to pace from a proper baseline.

    Renee – Yes seeing closed eye rest as medicine is the way forward for me I think. I think you’re right with starting small. And for every rest I manage a day that’s one less chunk of activity (probably internet related!). Thanks.

  4. 4 ashysheela February 13, 2009 at 10:51 am

    I found pacing to a paper plan very frustrating and also very impractical – when i questionned the hospital people (i was attending the CFS/ME lifestyle management groups – they may be called something else in other regions, but you know what i mean?) about how to adapt it when something unexpected happened (someone rang/i needed to do something/appointments etc) they said to swap it with something of the same energy intensity (by now these are colour coded) on that day or if too big (appointment) then swap it with several days allocation etc etc. I found this to be ridiculous. after all the swapping about i found i was ending up still doing everything i would ve done without the piece of paper, plus all the organisation of the plan! I did stick at it for quite a while but did not find i could build up activities as they say we should be able to. I could never find a proper baseline as each week seemed so different depending on hormones etc and i gave up.

    That said, i am a firm believer in having rests, mainly because i cannot get through the day without them, and also they are like mini holidays from the stresses of all the things i need to get done. They help me keep symptoms under control. I work to the next rest and it breaks the day into manageable chunks and lets my brain catch up with itself as i get confused a lot and forget what i am supposed to be doing etc. quiet time allows things to become clearer and calmer.

    I used to find it hard to accept these quiet times and was angry to have to lie there in the dark ( find even listening to something too much for proper rest) but i don’t feel that way any more and it is just normal now. I often sleep in the first one which obviously passes the time nicely! sometimes i only have one but often it is twice a day, for an hour or slightly more.

    i hope you can experiment with resting and find something which feels like a sanctuary from the tasks of the day, and something that works for you and feels good. I find i am (on a good day)refreshed and feel more able to tackle things when i get back up. it sounds like your sleep patterns must be quite regular if you are not having to sleep in the day so try not to mess that up by sleeping all afternoon, as i think that is really important… good luck!

  5. 5 Jozephine February 13, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    I think learning to prioritise rest and pacing has been both the most difficult and most rewarding part of this whole thing. I really kicked against it at first. It’s part of acceptance and realising I’m not some kind of superwoman, that I am, in fact, very sick.

    It’s very difficult for us to be selfish. We feel, if we duck out, it is cheating somehow, letting people down, missing out. It’s particularly hard for women I think. There’s a great deal of shame attached to not ‘pulling your weight’, or ‘letting things go’ in the house. We have been in a supporting role so often it goes against the grain to stop and meet our own needs.

    I need, really need, four half hour rests a day. It has to be half an hour, less isn’t long enough for my body to begin to recharge. Too long and I blow my sleep routine.

    So what do you do when people turn up? I find I have a choice. I can skip a rest and face the consequences or I can risk appearing rude and offer a rain check. People do get to know your rest times and I find they don’t take offence – but it does feel so alien the first time you practice selfishness.

    The thing is – rest and pacing actually work. And I am moving beyond mere survival to actually healing. So persevere if you can and try not to beat yourself up in the process.


  6. 6 Jozephine February 13, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    By the way, may I post a link to your blog on my blog?



  7. 7 rachelcreative February 13, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Ashy – Yes that’s the problem I had with pacing to a schedule too. Sanctuary sounds good 🙂

    Jozephine – Thanks for sharing your experience. By all means link to me if you’d like to. Thanks! 🙂

  8. 8 Sue February 18, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    I have trouble with pacing, too – mainly because when I feel well, I want to do all the things I can’t do on the bad days!

    But, early on, I read about proactive rest and tried it. What convinced me was the positive effect that daily rest had on how I felt overall. I take a nap EVERY day after lunch, and it’s made a big difference. The rest of the day, I do whatever I feel I can handle, but that afternoon rest every day really helps. It became a lot easier once it became habit.

    Now, all my friends and family know I take a nap every afternoon. It’s still frustrating sometimes, to have to plan my day around my nap like a toddler! But I know it’s what I need.


    P.S. I finally realized I could “follow” blogs not on Blogger, so I’ll be following more regularly now!

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Push It 11 Sep 2011

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