Most people can relate to there being too many days left at the end of a paycheck. When you are in that situation, you have to pinch every penny to make it to the next payday. It is very similar when you have a chronic illness and you have too many hours left after the end of the energy.
Planning is the most important part of making the most out of the energy that you have. Nothing is worse than running out of energy. When I hit my wall, it is not pretty and always includes a physical collapse and hours of recovery.
Getting the Most Out of the Energy You Have
Simple tasks actually require more energy than you would realize. Getting ready to go somewhere needs to be planned ahead of time. Try to give yourself time to rest after you get ready so you can leave refreshed and not exhausted. I also shower in the evenings so that I never have to do that on top of getting ready. Doing this makes doing more during a day a possibility.
When you have a Chronic Illness, you can not do all that you used to do in one day. It is important to prioritize what is most important and start with those things. Deciding what absolutely has to get done today and what can be done later is imperative. Before I started doing this, I felt like I was failing at accomplishing anything. I can no longer focus on the most logical order to do errands. I have to do them in the order of priority.
It is better to get things done in small increments. Before I got sick, I could go out and run all my errands in one day. Now, I might need to take 3 days to get that done and that is perfectly okay. I would much rather be able to get it all done and have 3 productive days than 3 days in bed! It all goes back to planning. If I know that I have a dinner tonight then I will not schedule a lot of activity for the day.
Expect the Unexpected
Don’t really expect the day to go as planned. That probably sounds pessimistic but it isn’t really. It is all about setting expectations and leaving room for adjustments. I have learned not to set my plans in stone because doing so usually leads to a disappointment. I plan for the best, make a plan for the worst and hope that the day goes smooth no matter what happens.
Give Yourself Permission to Rest
If you are halfway through your list and you just physically can’t do anything more…STOP! Pushing yourself right up to your wall isn’t doing you any favors. If you give yourself permission to rest, you can probably go back and finish the list. On the other hand, if you slam into your wall, you will be down for the rest of the day and possible tomorrow too. Knowing your limits and listening to your body is the most important thing you can do for your physical and mental health.
Using the energy you do have in strategic ways will allow you to get more accomplished. Doing this will help you feel more productive and happier in life. I am finding that taking these steps makes me feel like I have more control over my situation as it relates to my chronic illness.
What types of things do you do to get the most out of your energy?
Want to learn more about different Chronic Illnesses? Read the Chronic Illness Spotlight Series.