The Fine Balance of Pacing
Since I talked about goal setting last week, this week I will talk about pacing. Pacing is a strategy used to keep yourself from doing too much on some days and too little on others. It keeps things balanced to prevent pain flare-ups. If we are not pacing ourselves then it is hard to get off the roller coaster of feeling better and doing more and then crashing and not being able to do anything.
We yearn for our kids to be playing and having fun and forgetting about their chronic pain condition when they are feeling well. We want them to have a childhood and enjoy life like other kids. But the truth is that they DO have a condition right now that needs to be managed. It needs to be managed whether they are feeling well or feeling crummy. In order to make sustainable progress, we need to try to minimize flare-ups and pacing is the most effective strategy for this.
Pacing is … · Taking a break before your body needs it. When your body needs a break it often sends more pain to make you listen. If you give it a break before you need one, often your body won’t need to send more pain. · Slowly building your capacity to function. It is assessing what you are capable of and then adding a few more minutes to your activities each week to build your capacity. · Spreading out your activities during the day so you don’t do too much at once. Don’t do all your higher energy tasks all in the morning. Spread your tasks out throughout the day so you have time to recuperate in between.
When we pace ourselves throughout the day, our bodies begin to trust us more. They trust that we won’t push ourselves too much. They trust that we will take breaks before we need it. Then the body can rest and not have to be on such high alert all the time. It is not magic. It doesn’t happen instantly. But with time and consistency, pacing can temper the highs and lows.
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