Tips on pacing?

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Hi, I've had major relapse due to pushing myself far too much the last few weeks. I wondered if anyone has any tips on how to pace yourself properly? I get so frustated with this illness any time I get some energy I end up overdoing it until I'm forced to rest. I got CBT and Graded Exercise Therapy as treatments in the past but I think this has probably encouraged me to just keep doing more than my body can cope with. I've never had any proper advice on pacing which I'm now thinking would be a more sensible option. Any help would be greatly appreciated. 

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  • Posted

    Sorry you had a major relapse. I think they key is remembering everything is in play....physical/mental stress, over exposure to the sun, over eating and even sex. If you have a demanding job I'm not sure how much you could reasonably have left in the tank.  I have had the best success by modifying my diet. Good luck. Hopefully you will get some responses with a more formal plan...I just go by experience.

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  • Posted

    Hi Elaine,

    Sorry to hear that you had a major relapse due to pushing yourself too far. I completely understand how you feel, though. When I'm feeling better and more energetic, I want to accomplish as much as possible. There is a fine line between doing too little and too much, if you know what I mean. 

    I think finding the right amount of activity that works for you can be tricky. What one person can do is different from what someone else can do.

    I think of "pacing" as doing a task for a few minutes or a few hours (if you body allows it) and then resting for a few minutes. For example, if you have something complex that you must read, I would say read for 15 minutes and then take a break. Read again for another 15 minutes and then take another break. I think this also applies to exercise. I walk for 10 minutes, jog for 3-5 minutes, walk for another 15 minutes, and then rest after by taking a relaxing bath or meditating.  

    If you of CFS as having a faulty/low battery, it all makes more sense. We have limited energy in the battery each day, so we have to use it carefully and wisely. Hope this helps. Good luck getting better :-) KPD

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  • Posted

    Pacing was the key to me beating this condition. Even now I have mini relapses so I take to my bed for a few days, say no to everything and recharge the batteries.

    its a case as others have said of increasing activity gradually. So if I can cycle 10miles I stay at 10 for a few weeks, then try 12 or 15 once and go back to 10. I then slowly increase to 15 doing that for a few weeks and then try 20. 

    I often do things more in the morning and make and make sure I rest in the evening. I also take energy drinks and gels when I do a lot of exercise to make sure my body is properly fuelled 

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  • Posted

    Thanks for the replies. I will try and be stricter with myself when my energy returns and will maybe try timing myself doing activities, resting then timing myself again to try and get some sort of idea of how much I can do without pushing myself over my limit.

    ?When trying to increase activities I will also try sticking to the same level until it gets easier, increasing once then dropping back to old level as suggested by wknight (hadn't thought of that before!). I used to do yoga and found it helpful but am struggling to get started with it again just now but I can use this as a plan of action. Will also try it with my walking. 

    Thanks again x

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  • Posted

    Hi Elaine

    Sorry to hear you're feeling poorly. I have found timing activity really helpful in pacing things. I have been taught that there are 4 types of energy - physical, social, emotional and cognitive.  Your baselines for these may be different - my cognitive stamina is pretty good but my physical is pretty weak. I've also learned stress uses a lot of energy for me. Then do what you *know* you can do with causing problems the following days. E.g. I know I can do 2 hrs social, walk 0.7 miles in a day and do up to an hour of house chores (broken up into 10-20 min bits and done slowly).  Then you can increase a little on whichever is your priority area (mine is walking to build fitness and freedom to get around). Emotions hard to measure but I just note down in diary if I have particular stressors on a day. Writing in diary what you've done makes it so much easier to track patterns. But the hard bit is saying goodbye to friends when you are enjoying time with them and feeling ok! But worth it as then you can see them again soon instead of stuck lying down with horrible symptoms. 

    Hope u feel better soon


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    • Posted

      Hi Rosie

      ?Thanks for the reply. I think a lot of my problem is I've never been sure what my baseline is so tend to overdo things until I have no energy left. I keep a diary and note down big things that cause a relapse but am now thinking I should be taking note of the accumulation of smaller things that merge together and bring on a relapse. I've had a period of stress the last few weeks then got behind with household things and tried to do too much to catch up, plus tried to keep going with my walking, phone calls, etc then even had an attempt at doing a bit in the garden which was a ridiculous thing to do and I think was what finally tipped me over the edge. I've gone from pushing myself doing far too much to now being hardly able to get out of bed which was really stupid.

      ?But at least it has given me time to think about where I'm going wrong and am going to try and make some changes when I get some energy back. I've decided to set a timer when doing different activities and make myself stop and take regular breaks. I'm also going to try and switch between different tasks more such as 15 minutes physical activity, rest, then maybe 15 minute phone call, rest, 15 minutes reading, rest, etc to see if it makes a difference.

      ?Thanks for the advice and hope you're symptoms are under control at the moment.


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