Pacing Yourself Throughout the Day With Chronic Illness


I know, I know, we’ve all heard it before: Pacing yourself throughout the day is a must in order to get through it. But how do you pace yourself so it’s truly effective? I want to share how I do it with you. I hope you find it helpful.

1. Determine your fatigue level for the day.

2. Adjust your to-do list accordingly.

3. Prioritize with most important at the top (I use the basket system – I’ll show you in an upcoming post!).

4. Focus on one thing at a time.

5. If possible, do it sitting down (I have mopped my kitchen floor this way!).

When you start feeling wiped out:

  • sit down
  • lean back
  • take long slow breaths
  • drink some water

Next, decide if you can finish or not. If you can’t, try these:

1. Take a “coffee nap” – drink a cup of coffee and nap right after for about 20 minutes. When you wake up is right around the time the coffee takes effect.

2. Do 10 minutes of quiet meditation.

3. Take a big nap (no amount of time specified), just depending on how you feel.

4. Lay down for an hour and distract/amuse yourself with a book, TV or maybe some word games, etc.

After you rest:

Now you can decide if you can get back to that to-do list or not. Hopefully the top things are already done, and maybe you can get the rest too. To give you even more boost throughout the day, try:

1. Snacking healthy… a chunk of cheese, broccoli florets, nuts, etc.

2. Drink something… vitamin water, plain water, soda water, etc.

3. Diversion… listen to radio or TV or maybe a book on CD while you work.

4. Rest… you have to rest in between things; sitting for five minutes after sweeping the floor is just fine, and not “lazy.” We can’t push ourselves too hard.

Also helpful for pacing:

1. Know your peak hours and try to work within them. Sometimes that’s not possible I know, but maybe you can squeeze a few things in.

2. You must know your limits. When you have any type of chronic illness, overdoing it is just going to make matters worse. You don’t want to end up in bed for a week.

3. Have an emergency back-up plan on days you can’t do anything. Get out your freezer and instant meals and have your spouse and kids chip in with a bare minimum chore (like the dishes?). It’s just to keep things afloat for a while. If you’re on your own, just rinse the dishes. They are very patient. They will wait for you. I promise.

So please tell me how you pace yourself throughout the day? Do you have any tips or ideas? I would love to hear from you.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via Choreograph.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.