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How Do I Pace Myself? Never Been Told...

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As with many people here, I get overexcited when I feel better, and then inadvertently do too much, which makes me feel bad again. It happened to me this week.

I tried really hard after my bike ride not to overdo things, but I spent Thursday and yesterday barely able to move. I'm still not quite right today. I felt worse than I had felt in a long time, and my GP told me that I have probably overdone it again. ;)

He said that I should PACE myself and treat myself as if I've had major surgery and am in rehabilitation.

But I don't know how to apply that information to my daily living. How much is too much? I can't be objective about it because the amount I can do varies from day to day.

Does anyone have hints or tips on how to gradually increase the amount you can manage in a day? I'm pretty erratic at the moment and I'm finding it hard to get motivated with my work- the thought of reading is still not really appealing to me as much as it usually does. I think I'm still quite depressed if truth be told, although I'm much better than I was. It's like all my responses are muted- everything seems much less interesting, much less colourful. :ph34r:

Know what I mean? I don't know if this is making much sense but I'm typing my thoughts as they come into my head and being completely honest- I figure there must be some other POTSIes in a similar situation.

Can any of you help me? I could really do with it- I don't know whether I'm coming or going :(

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It is so difficult to balance the right amount of activity. I was 24 when I first was diagnosed with CFS. I am now 39 and have recently been diagnosed with POTS. I have had a lot of ups and downs over the years. I am in the midst of another flair up, but have been trying to take a short walk every day. Many days, I need to come home and rest/nap after, but I am feeling like I am stronger on my walk the next day. My plan is to slowly build the amount of time I walk and hope that will make me stronger for the rest of the day.

I have found that when I start to feel better, I am so excited at the thought of being normal I over do it. I hope that slowly increasing my walking will help, but I know it needs to be balanced with enough rest. I find that sitting or standing is more exhausting than the walking. I tend to get more tremors if I don't move my legs more.

I had a Dr. that discribed my condition like a bad battery that needs to be recarged frequently with rest. That being said, I have recovered best when I can do a little walking each day.

I hope this helps. Hang in there. I can understand your frustration. I can't tell you how many times I have overdone the activity and suffer for the next week.


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Here's what I'd suggest: keep track of what you do on your best days--and whether or not that day leads to you feeling slayed that night or the next day. If so, then you know you need to pare down what you're doing...

Personally, pacing has been something I do poorly. I'm learning to be a little better with not pushing too hard, but my nature is that of a type "A" personality, and so, I don't know how to do just a little.


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I am definitely an A type too, but pacing myself has been the key to getting better for me. At first I tried to overdo it, but then I realized that I would rather have seven OK days a week than have one day when I do a lot and then several days when I'm unable to be productive. I can get a lot more done and am happier overall if I keep myself out of the POTS holes.

I think it helps to keep a journal of your activities to find what triggers your POTS symptoms. When I overdo it, ususally I feel fine that day, and then a couple of days later I find myself in the POTS hole. So it is really easy for things to sneak up on you and it helps to avoid the triggers.

In terms of exercise, I think what helps POTS in the long run is not necessarily exercising hard, but more exercising regularly. For me the trick has been finding the highest level of exercise which won't trigger my POTS at all. I started out only being able to ride the bike for 2 minutes - now I can do it for 1/2 hr w/ only a small increase in symptoms. I did this by increasing 5 minutes every couple of weeks. I know this is the slow and boring way to go, but it has really worked for me.

Although I can ride the bike now, I still find that cardio takes its toll on me more than other forms of exercise. I really like pilates and core-strengthening, because they are effective, yet gentle and don't tire you out.

Good luck,


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I'm so sorry to hear you're in the hole. Hopefully it'll only last a day or two ;) In the meantime, I'm sending you hugs and good vibes!

I pace myself by only allowing "activity" out of the house for four hours a day (or the half-life of my Midodrine). I've learned for me, this is the maximum amount of physical stress I can handle without crashing. I also make myself spend at least two days a week in the apartment resting. Usually Sunday and Thrusday are the days I reserve for this. On those days I do light floor excersizes in the morning, but other than that, I stay on my keester and do homework, read, or watch TV. I even have food pre-made so I don't have to cook, and I try not to even clean, shower etc. on those days to really let my body catch up.

I'd do as others suggest and keep a journal. Start out doing only a little activity on days you feel well, and build up until you feel you're at your limit. It's a process of trial and error, but I've learned it's best to play safe, than play hard and be sorry later. You're a really smart girl so I'm sure you'll find the balance in no time! :ph34r:

Anyways, ((((HUGS)))) and I hope you're feeling better soon!

- Lauren

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I can really relate to your question. My biggest problem is overdoing it. I know very well how to pace myself mentally but I too am a type "AA" personality!

I look at my activities as units. Anything besides lying in bed uses up my energy stores. I have had to learn from trial and error which things sap my energy. It is like being on a diet. There are low level drains and high levels drains. For example running an errand is a high level drain but cooking a simple dinner while standing might be a medium level drain. If I want to go to the grocery on sunday, I subtract out other activities like cooking dinner, washing dishes. When I run an errand I use the motorized scooter in the store to conserve my energy battery for OTHER things later in the day. If I have the inlaws over for a holiday, I know that I need to schedule time off work to recooperate. I never clean the house anymore because I have to subtract out too many other activities to avoid a crash.

It is like being on a diet. If I have that big piece of chocolate cake (going to the grocery store) then I need to skip the soda or eat light the rest of the day (not clean the house, etc.). To keep myself in check, I just think about how I don't want to be fat or don't want to be lying in bed all day.

Dr. Low has recommended strength training for me before tackling aerobic exercise. He recommends lifting weights on weight machines for my legs and abdomen but avoiding the arms. If I ever stick to it, I'll let you know how it goes.


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i cannot overdo as my body won't let me.

for me the thing is, that my mind is sooo busy thinking about everything that i would want to do (was an A type as well). i am trying to get used to staying calm in my head as well, but it's really hard.

this made me very much aware how precious life is and learned me to enjoy every tiny bit of it.

wish you luck,

corina :)

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