Get the most out of your day by learning the skill of pacing. This is a critical skill for people with conditions that cause fatigue, such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's, Stroke, and Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome.
What is pacing?
- Imagine that the energy available to you throughout the day is like bucket full of water. Every activity you do, you must dip a cup in and scoop out water to be able to do the activity. Some things take many scoops, while others take only one scoop.
- Now think about your day and strategies to make the water last so that you still have a little left at the end of the day - you don't want to use it all up at one time, but instead you want to ration it throughout the day. You don't want to be thirsty!
A few tips:
- Stop and rest before you are tired, pay attention to the time interval and start incorporating regular rest breaks.
- Use a timing app (like "Seconds") and create several types of timers that you can use during the day. Here are some examples (****these are just examples, please determine your own activities and time intervals. Activities can include reading, sending emails, exercise, driving, and lots more):
1) a "walking" timer where you walk 1 min, rest 30 seconds, and keep alternating for a specific amount of time
2) a "household chores" timer where you do cleaning or laundry for 15 min, then rest for 10 min
3) a "shopping" timer that reminds you to stop and rest every 10 minutes while running errands or in the grocery store
- Look for ways to make some activities easier. Here are some examples:
1) Shopping online with grocery delivery or easy pickup - there are stores such as Walmart and Fred Meyer where you can order online and they will bring it to your car in the parking lot! A few offer this service for free!
2) Hire someone to help with cleaning - this can reduce stress and leave you with energy left for the things that are most important to you.
3) Create a weekly pacing calendar - plan out your week, incorporating plenty of rest breaks scattered throughout the day. Practice saying no to things that will empty your "bucket" too quickly, and use your energy for things that matter most!
4) During rest times, try to minimize distraction. Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down, maybe play quiet music or close your eyes - make sure it's truly restful.
- For more specific guidance and a personal plan, talk to your neurologist and your physical therapist!