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When 'Pacing' Myself Doesn't Make Much Difference With My Health

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Sometimes it feels like people are constantly telling me how best to “beat” this thing. Doctors, nurses, specialists, family, friends – all telling me how to get my illness in check and under control. All offering up an opinion. All offering up advice. All telling me what I should be doing. All reprimanding me for not doing what they say.

But I try to do what I’m told, I really do.

I rest. I sleep. I take it easy. I take a break. I rest. I do things in moderation. I don’t push myself. I rest some more. I pace myself. And then repeat. That last one’s the worst. “Pace yourself,” they all say. How is one meant to “pace” oneself in normal, everyday life? What about the kids and family and home and work and pets and school runs and sports fixtures and all the other stuff that comes in between? How do you pace this little illness into that gigantic mix? Please, someone, do tell. What exactly is meant to give?

Even if I do make myself do all the above – the resting, the breaks, the endless sleep – it still gets me absolutely nowhere. All the pacing in the world and it achieves what? A couple of “good” days to get stuff done and then a week of feeling like absolute rubbish while my body struggles to get over the unexpected exertion.


Moderation. There’s another word I hate. I am sick to death of trying to live a life of moderation. It’s like setting out to only ever achieve half of everything you want to do. For a task-loving, goal-oriented person like myself, this is the very definition of frustration. Oh yes, while I’m at it, I’m also completely over being told I should “know better by now.” Two words to that one: Bugger off.

I did already learn long ago that this moderating, pacing and enforced rest doesn’t really work for me. I get why those living in a logical world think it would, but it really doesn’t. I’ve learned that truth the hard way – and on a regular basis, in fact. Living like a sloth can usually buy me a day or two – a week, tops – but that’s really about it.

But anyway, here’s the thing. It’s not really the “learning” to pace myself I have an issue coming to grips with; it’s the acceptance I have to do it at all. The acceptance that there will always be limitations of one sort or another. And with that comes the realization: I’m never going to be able to climb a mountain, or walk for miles and miles along the beach, or hold down a full-time job, or even hit the town and dance till the sun comes up. OK, granted, the mountain climbing was probably never going to happen, but it’d sure be nice to do all the rest.

So like I said before – seriously, what is the point?

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Thinkstock photo via Jaroslav Frank.

Originally published: May 31, 2017
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