Five effective strategies for pacing when you’re sick or in pain

by Toni Bernhard
posted Jun 15, 2016 on Psychology Today & kevinmd.com April 5, 2017

Pacing refers to spacing out your activities during the day so that you’re able to stay within the limits of what your body can handle without exacerbating your symptoms. Another way to think of it is that pacing is a way to keep you inside your “energy envelope” — the envelope that contains your energy stores for any given day.

First, an admission: Even though pacing may be the single best “treatment” for me, I have a love-hate relationship with it. On the one hand, I love pacing because it keeps my symptoms from flaring. On the other hand, I hate pacing because it keeps me from doing everything I want to do.

To complicate matters, I’m much better at pacing when I’m at my best, as opposed to when I’m at my worst. This means that when I’m feeling intensely sick or in pain, I tend to ignore pacing and overdo things which, of course, only exacerbates my symptoms. Why in the world would I do this? Because doing things distracts me from my symptoms. In other words, activity keeps me from tuning in to how my body feels. Of course, this always backfires. The time comes when my body imposes itself on the situation and tells me in no uncertain terms: “That is enough for now.” Then, when I do give in and lie down to rest, I have to deal with feeling worse due to all that extra activity. When will I learn? …

For more on this article and the list of strategies go to: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/turning-straw-gold/201606/pacing-the-chronically-ill-person-s-best-friend or
http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2017/04/5-effective-strategies-pacing-youre-sick-pain.html

 

About the author: Toni Bernhard was a law professor at the University of California—Davis. She is the author of How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and their Caregivers, How to Wake Up: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Navigating Joy and Sorrow, and How to Live Well with Chronic Pain and Illness: A Mindful Guide. She can be found online at her self-titled site, Toni Bernhard.