What is a wall? It is that ugly thing at the end of your energy. You do not have to have a Chronic Illness to have one because no one has endless amounts of energy. But when you have a Chronic Illness, that ugly wall is closer than it should be.
Sometimes getting ready for the day (showering, brushing hair and teeth, getting dressed, etc.) slams me right into it. Then there are days that I actually have enough energy left to get out of the house. And yes, some days I wake up and I am mere inches from that wall and I have no choice but stay in bed.
Comparing My Wall to Yours
So, what is the difference between my wall and yours? Location! You probably don’t even notice yours on most days because it sits so far away. Most likely you will get through your entire day without even getting close to it.
For me, it just sits there waiting for me to push too hard. I never know when I will get so close to it that I collapse. It is always lurking, just sitting there taunting me.
What Happens When I Hit My Wall?
Fortunately, I am learning to listen to my body and the signals it sends if I am getting a little too close. I have been stubborn and pushed myself way too hard and I crashed into the wall with such force that I have a severe Hemiplegic Migraine where the paralysis can last for hours. When that happens the pain will last for days and the exhaustion can take a week to recover from. This is my worst case scenario and it is what my wall looks like. It isn’t pretty when it happens and I do my best to avoid it.
Anyone that has a chronic illness has a limit that is closer than they would like it to be. Everyone that battles for every ounce of energy…every single day has a wall that lurks. But each person will experience the crash in different ways.
How to Avoid Crashing Into the Wall
I recently read an article at Counting my Spoons that had some excellent tips about pacing yourself when you have a Chronic Illness. I decided that I should share a few of the things I do to avoid hitting my wall, so here is my top three!
1. Take Breaks
This is probably the most important thing I can do for myself. I can still accomplish tasks but they take me much longer than they used to. I have learned to be okay with that. For example, cooking dinner requires me to put a bar stool to sit on in the kitchen so I can take breaks. That is really no big deal and the payoff is that I get to feel like I accomplished something!
2. Be Honest about How You Feel
You are not going to accomplish anything if you ignore how you are feeling. In fact, all you will do is crash into your wall so hard that no only will you not accomplish something today but it may take days to recover. When you are honest with yourself it will allow you to accomplish more!
3. Give Yourself Permission to Take it Easy
On days when your wall is too close for comfort, give yourself permission to take it easy. On days when I wake up and my wall is sitting way too close, I know that the goals for the day have to be determined by that. I do have days that I have no choice but to stay in bed or lay on the couch. I try not allow myself to feel guilty about it because that does nothing but take up energy I don’t have.
As someone with Chronic Illness, my number one goal each day is to stay as far away from my wall as I can. I have pushed myself too hard and crashed into it and it usually takes about a week to get recover from. That is why, in spite of everything else I want to do, I put pacing myself as my top priority.
More Chronic Illness Articles:
- “Nevertheless, She Persisted” – My Weekend Mantra
- 10 Thoughtful Gifts for Someone with Chronic Illness
- 13 Reasons Why Coping with Chronic Illness is Hard