At some point, every chronically ill person battles finding what their limitations are with their chronic illness.
We don’t want to not try doing anything at all, but there’s got to be a balance and a true listening to our bodies to determine what the next step should be.
There are three key areas that I use to determine my own limitations, and I call these three keys: PPS
We need to know when we should push ourselves to do a thing. Every thing we do, uses energy, and has the potential to flare up pain and symptoms, but there’s still benefit in trying to do things. The key is to not overdo it.
I have to force myself to get up, put clothes on and make the bed. It hurts. It causes my back to spasms and my heart rate jumps up so high most days, that I nearly pass out. But if I didn’t try, I would never get dressed, and never get my bed made (or do anything else that I may try to do).
It’s bad enough that chronic illness makes life difficult, even more so if we don’t at least try to control something in our lives and not give up doing anything.
Pulling back from doing a thing is slowing down a bit, to avoid overdoing it. You’re still trying, but at a slower pace. Listen to your body and pull back when needed.
This one is hard for me, I want to try to do things. But knowing when I need to slow down isn’t always easy, especially when doing anything hurts and flares symptoms. I found that if I go slower, resting in between tasks, or even while doing the task, I can manage to get it done.
The feeling you get from accomplishing what may seem like a menial task to most, is a big enough morale booster for me to keep trying my limits.
Then there’s the full on stop. If you don’t stop when your body is telling you it’s had enough, then you will be paying the price and down for the count for hours, days, weeks or even months. We need to ease into doing things, not try to run a marathon when walking across the room before that moment, was tough.
But I’ve also learned when to say I’m done and just stop whatever I’m doing. I have to remind myself that trying counts. Even small tasks or efforts count. There’s no shame in listening to our battered bodies and rest to avoid making things worse.
All of the above is a balancing act that is circus worthy! The key point to remember is to listen to your body. It will let you know what you can and cannot do, just be open to trying.
Have you struggled to find the right balance in knowing when to push yourself to do more, when to slow down and when to stop? Comment below and tell me about your struggle.