I have been tapering off of my last seizure medication and I have not been feeling well because of it. I have been requiring a lot more rest during the day, having headaches that are not migraine related and having some major stomach issues. To say that the process of weaning meds isn’t fun is an understatement! It is important to push myself so I can gain back some strength and energy but it is easy to cross the line and push too hard.
How to push yourself without pushing too hard:
- Set small goals for each day. My goals are probably seen by others as not even worthy of being considered a goal. When you have a chronic illness that has limited your energy you go back to the basics. Bathing, brushing your hair, getting dressed are perfectly acceptable small goals when have limited energy.
- Set 1 or 2 weekly goals. These are the goals that require more energy than the small goals. By setting weekly goals, you are giving yourself an automatic cushion. There is no pressure if you have a few really bad days because you have 7 days to complete these goals. Examples of a weekly goal is to cook dinner twice this week (crock pot cooking is perfect!), pick one cluttered spot in the house and organize it or choose to start a craft project.
- Pace yourself. The faster you go, the more energy you use. Take an hour to do something that should take you 30 minutes. It is not going to bring the world down around you. Stop and take breaks if you need to. Remember that life is a marathon…not a sprint.
- Do not shame yourself if you don’t meet your goals. Life with chronic illness is unpredictable and there will be bad days and weeks that require you to change the plan. It really is ok and not the end of the world! Just shift those goals to the next day or the next week.
What happens if you push too hard?
Pushing too hard is the worst thing you can do. Trying to accomplish more than your body can tolerate can cost you days, maybe even weeks, of productive time. Hitting your “wall” is not healthy physically or mentally and recovering from it will take longer than if you had just stopped for a short rest.
I realize that sometimes you have no choice but to push yourself harder than you would like. I did that last Christmas because I was trying not to miss any of the fun on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so I pushed myself really hard. I did make it but after we got home Christmas evening I physically collapsed with exhaustion. It took me 2 weeks to recover from those 2 days. I wouldn’t have changed anything about it but it is a great example of what pushing too hard can lead to.