It feels strange me discussing life and how I live it to the maximum when I’ve spent the last few days of this week spent essentially bed bound as a result of ME/CFS and the common cold. Two things that make for a rather unpleasant start to the week. But, as i lay there watching my repeats of shows and chuckling at Philip Schofield and the chavs on Jeremy Kyle, I had time to ponder and think about the potential topics that I’ve never discussed. One of which, how do I manage an illness that to some, completely ruins their lives and daily tasks. I thought, we’d discuss my approach- obviously not an approach for everyone and I’m not claiming to be perfect.
It’s A OK to say NO.
I’m not wonder-woman, although I scroll through Gal Gadot’s Instagram daily, wondering why I don’t look that good; neither are you wonder-woman even if you do pretend to be on a daily basis. I think being diagnosed with a long term illness such as ME/CFS I have started to live in the present as well as not rush to do things. I’ve started to think that if I don’t want to do things I don’t have to especially if I think they’ll have an after effect. It’s not a crime to say NO, if your friends are friends they’ll understand why I’m not feeling up to going out. With that, it’s also key to be honest, if I’m having a shite day, I’ll always tell my friends family and co-workers just to give them the heads up. So, don’t sit in silence or fear of just saying the words ‘no’. Whether you have Chronic Fatigue or not- don’t sit in silence pretending to be ok when if you’d said no you wouldn’t be laid there panicking about every detail.
I use this line all the time, but it’s a classic when you actually get your head round it. I apply this after any fitness class or healthy activity when I’m craving chocolate. Moderation, balance and all that jazz. I do believe, that if I’ve had a rather hectic day whether that’s driving lots, walking around or just being on my feet for the majority of the day; I’ll always try to then balance that out with either a chilled evening, weekend or following day. So, on a Monday, I attend Bollywood Dancing since this is one my passions- I attend this and then Tuesday will have a rest day to give my body the time to recover for my next round of activities on a Wednesday/Thursday. This to, experts would describe this as Gradual Exercise Therapy or pacing which to some who also have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome believe to be the devil- for me it work if I still to my plan of action. I know that, certain classes I’d have done in the past are off limits unless I want to be in bed for days afterwards. So balance it out, bust out a move but take the time to chill out afterwards.
Pace YO Self
Life isn’t a sprint and our days should not be sprint’s or this is what I’m told daily; so why am I giving myself grief over not doing something all in 1 day when really I could space this out across a few days or weeks. Example- In the past I would’ve gone like a crazy lady trying to cram so many activities all into 1 day. Like; attending 4 gym classes as well as a party or a shopping experience. In a day. This I could do now, but I know that if I did this I’d be paying the price with a relapse or just a few days of not knowing who the hell I was.
Listen to your body
You know how you feel and I definitely know whether I’m having a good day or a bad day. I know that if I’m having a bad day, the last thing I need on my plate is a day where I’m in and out or worse just something too mentally exhausting. Whether you have ME or another chronic illness or just a life in general- listen to your body. We spend much of lives, trying to avoid listening to our bodies as we feel guilty too quickly about resting. If your body wants you to sleep, sleep- if your body wants junk food eat it but go to the gym or don’t eat the whole bag. Listen to yourself. You know you.
Photos: Niamh Francis
Taken at Leysdown on Sea / Isle of Sheppey