“Remember, pacing is taking a break before you need it. That’s the key to maintaining mindfulness & interrupting the over activity/under activity cycle.” “The Art of Mindfulness: Mindfulness of Daily Life”, Vidyamala Burch
A week ago I got an offer of a weeks respite in a nearby nursing home. I was more than happy to avail of this as I have been both mentally and physically drained for quite a while, which is one of the reasons I have not been posting.
I know the change of scenery will be good for me.
Last time I said I would write about pacing. Writing this blog for instance – it is so easy to get absorbed and forget about time. Wen that happens my muscles go into spasm making the pain worse, which in turn leads to resting more, which in turn causes more pain. Honestly it takes discipline , but is worth it and there is lots of evidence that suggests that time based pacing helps when it comes to managing chronic pain. So now I set the timer on my phone. Time based means literally that, working out the amount of time you can stay doing something e.g – writing, walking , before the pain gets worse or as Vidyamala Burch says to remember to stop before you need to.
I found that I had more energy in the mornings and tended to overdo things, now I divide activities over the whole day. Its not an exact science but its good to have definite goals for each day. I feel a sense of achievement at the end of a day that I get a few things done.
Another thing that is helping me which I know I have already mentioned is meditation. I am really interested in how it can release tension and can have a positive impact on pain and stress. There is an app which I like – Insight timer. This app has all its meditations timed so once set, you have no need to worry about switching off your device. I also listen to Vidyamala Burch and John Kabet-Zinn . I find doing a body scan and listening to hypnosis tapes regularly, helps me to deal with the ongoing pain.
Have a look at this PDF on pacing .
Pacing is an active self-management strategy whereby individuals develop self-efficacy through learning to balance time spent on activity and rest for the purpose of achieving increased function. Pacing: A concept analysis of a chronic pain intervention:Pain Research & Management. 2013 Jul-Aug; 18(4): 207–213.
I am now midway through my week. It has been a lovely break. Unfortunately I didn’t heed my own advice and overdid it on a few occasions . Then I found myself in the over active/under active cycle. It is so frustrating and the increased pain has been a real set back. Still I did get to experience been outside in a beautiful garden, breathing in the fresh air.
Once again it brought into sharp focus the realities of living with chronic pain and how important it is to manage it well.