Thursday, May 12, 2016

Pacing Problems

I've mentioned in other blog postings how I have trouble planning and pacing my days. I cannot seem to find the right balance in my life. I'm living how I was fifteen years ago before I got sick. And, I'm paying for it dearly. Not only in increased pain, but also in mental exhaustion. I thought I'd be better once all of our kids moved out, but I'm not. It's as if I have to prove to myself that I'm still useful. That if I'm no longer doing day-to-day mothering, I have to be the best homemaker. I know how crazy that sounds. No doubt, some of my ways of thinking stem from growing up the daughter of a hoarder. Here's a screenshot of my to-do list from yesterday:

This shot didn't even capture my entire day! Yeah, I'm a little too much Type A.
I know something has to give before I collapse. I'm not sure what that is, though. No one is telling me to do these things. My husband is very understanding of my limitations. It's all me. I think I'm going to do some experimenting for a few days. I'll do nothing but the bare necessities (are you singing that song now?) I'll cook meals, clean up after meals and do laundry if needed. Everything else, unless it's a planned event that I've already agreed to attend, will have to be left undone. Maybe I'll find peace from this and come away with a new way of thinking. Or, I could feel extremely guilty and a bit lazy. 
I do think society is partly to blame for chronically ill individuals pushing themselves. Our society places a big emphasis on productivity. Whether it's at home, or in the workplace, we are expected to get things done. Then, there's the glorification of chronically ill individuals who can scale Mount Everest, jump out of an airplane or compete in a tri-Athalon, etc. (not that there's anything wrong if you want and can do these things.)  Each scenario puts pressure on a sick person; only one, to me, is more internal and the other external.  The stress I place on myself to keep my house clean and errands up-to-date is all from within. I'm sure some of it has a component of trying to please others, but, for the most part, in my case, I have no one to blame but myself. Luckily, I don't feel the need or have the urge to put undo stress on myself to compete with others. I know someone who does; he has pushed himself repeatedly, even after multiple injuries and surgeries. In both cases, at some point, we both need to hang up our tennis shoes and take a break. We need to reevaluate our lives and realistically make changes based on our limitations. Long term stress may cause a chronic illness to progress, even if it doesn't cause progression, it certainly can't be good for one's body and mind.

Not a Self-Portrait, but Could be

My experiment starts tomorrow. Only because today I had too much to do. I know, no surprise there. 
Here are my goals:

1. Be content with some household chores not getting done
2. Find quiet, non-stressful activities that I'm able to do from bed
3. Ask others for help (I'm so bad about this)
4. Make a plan for the future as far as daily activities and special events; how much can I realistically do in one day? When do I need to push myself a bit or when should I say no?

Do you struggle with pacing? What has helped you to make better choices? Feel free to comment, or send me a message. I'm going to report back here on my progress in a few days. Wish me luck! 

“How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then to rest afterward.– Spanish proverb

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