life, MS

Pacing: Whoa, Nelly or Go, Nelly?

Last week, I posted about resting and the importance of taking the time for self-care without feeling guilty. It’s a common problem in our go-go-go world, where there are always errands to run, household chores to get through, work to do, exercise hopefully, eating right, not to mention connecting with family and friends.

It’s not surprising that the mindfulness movement is gaining traction. People are burning themselves out and have forgotten how to be still. How to just BE.

I am so fortunate to have the support and the space to rest when I need to and to have lots of time, now that I’m not working, to spend time reflecting and contemplating my navel. Not really, I promise.

When your body aches from fatigue, it’s pretty tempting to sit around as much as possible. The mental stress aside, spending too much time sedentary is really hard on your body, especially if you have MS. Obviously I’m not talking about people that are in a relapse or are paralyzed from the monster.

Being as active as possible is now the recommendation of doctors, which applies to all humans, not just warriors and spoonies. It works for me. It takes me a long time to get moving in the morning, but when I spend too much time in bed, the weight of the fatigue and the various pains become overwhelming. Forcing myself to get up and accomplish just one task, distracts me and often I am able to accomplish much more than I expected.

That’s where the real problem comes in. I start going, and I have a hard time stopping. My body protests but my brain, and the stupid determination that has mostly served me well, says ‘Just. One. More. Thing.’

All good, we all need to push ourselves, that’s the human spirit. Not so good when your body ends up going on strike and you spend the next three weeks in bed. Yeah, I think that’s called a need for BALANCE.

The hummingbird has long been a personal symbol. I remember the first time I saw one as a child in Alberta, where they are quite rare as I recall. It was magical, this tiny bird with wings that moved at an incomprehensible speed.

I found out as an adult that my Oma loved hummingbirds too. Since she died, I have had numerous experiences with a hummingbird flying directly in front of me and hovering for a minute or more, often at times of personal change or turmoil.

I think the reason it speaks to me, is that the wings represent the speed of my brain. Not that I haven’t learned to quiet my thoughts and have moments of peace, but when I get going on a task my brain is always ten steps ahead of what’s humanly possible. Then, because of the damn monster, my body konks out long before my brain is satisfied.

The hummingbird’s body always stays calm, though. That’s the essence of the hummingbird I try to focus on now. The balance between the busy and the calm. Push yourself, but don’t push too hard. Expect great things from yourself but be gentle with yourself too. Pacing yourself, that’s the golden ticket.

Have a wonderful week!

โค๏ธ Amanda

15 thoughts on “Pacing: Whoa, Nelly or Go, Nelly?”

  1. The problem I run into, or at least the excuse I use, is that I have had enough flat on my ass days to show me that when I do have the energy, I need to “get it done”, because I don’t know when I will have another good day….living this way though is stressful as hell, and really isn’t healthy so I appreciate your advice

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve got this spot on! It’s the balance, which is so hard to get right, that can make all the difference. I believe in pushing yourself, but I also know first hand as you do the dangers when you push too much, partly because you think ‘that’s not much’, but it is to you as an individual. The results can be awful. Learning what works for you, where you boundaries are and where your balance lies is so important. Great post ๐Ÿ™‚
    Caz x

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  3. Quieting the mind is so important! That’s why I cross stitch -keeps the monsters away. ๐Ÿ™‚ Gardening is a great activity for that too. Love the photos in this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amanda, this was a wonderful post!!! I often struggle with pacing myself and therefore push myself WAY too far! I feel like I am on autopilot and have to keep going even when I feel awful. Of course that does come because I am the only on in my house working and I am only doing 6 to 6.5 hour days.Thank you for this post though because it does open my eyes to what I am doing and what I might be doing wrong!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so glad you found this post helpful, Alyssa. Finding your limits is the never-ending lesson in life, especially with a chronic illness. You have a lot of pressure on you, so self-care is super important. Take care of yourself , my friend. ๐Ÿ’•

      Liked by 1 person

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