Happy first day of Spring to those of you in the Northern Hemisphere! Honestly, Summer is my favorite season, but Spring is a close second. It comes with a promise of warmer weather, longer days, and beautiful blooms. With warmer weather around the corner it will lead many of us chronic illness warriors wishing we were outside enjoying the perks of Spring, especially after having been cooped up for much of the Winter. It’s important to keep a few things in mind though as you are resting up so you can hopefully head out the door for a few moments of sunshine.
Longer days can catch up with you, it’s important to make a plan or a list and stick to it. What happens, for me at least, is I get out there and I think oh I could last another few minutes, and then I crash. The crash may come then, it may come later as post-exertional malaise, but it will come. Sticking to your plan will help you stay in your personal energy abilities. Everyone has a different limit, so when making your plan try to remember to be a little selfish so you aren’t overdoing it so as not to upset the people around you.
If you’re already out there and the people you are with aren’t ready to head home, or you still have to make your way home, try resting in the car or wherever you are. When I do choose to leave the house, I have already made peace with the fact that most of my time will be spent in the car. I have a blanket, and a pillow to enable me to rest in the car. This is a huge part of pacing for me. I know that I cannot regularly go grocery shopping, but somedays I know I can ride along in the car. As I’m sure you know, even riding in the car can be exhausting, so it’s important to know your limitations and stick to them.
Stopping before you crash is crucial particularly for CFS sufferers. It keeps us at a baseline. I don’t know if maintaining baseline helps you heal. It hasn’t cured me, but it has helped me stay as comfortable as possible overall. I know if I push harder I get physically sicker. I know because in total frustration, I’ve done it. I know that emotional stress, which is sometimes completely unavoidable, makes me physically sicker too. I know my limitations now better than ever before. Hopefully you’ve gotten to know yours too. Pacing is one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced. I’m a doer, a goer, a get-it-done person. I’m the one who wants to do everything myself. Sometimes I wonder if I got this illness as a lesson to show me that I must ask for help. If so, I get it, lesson learned I promise…feel free to move on CFS.
In closing, we all know how to pace, we all know the importance of pacing, so I’m just putting this out there as a gentle reminder to be kind to yourself as the season’s transition. I’m hoping you are able to feel the sunshine on your face this season and appreciate the beautiful blooming flowers, even if it’s just in route to an appointment. Take good care.
A few more of my little watercolors below as I follow along with World Watercolor Group on Instagram. The group has a daily prompt and is open to all skill levels, feel free to join along!