4 Tips for when You Need to Take Time Out from Prioritising Health!

Every now and again we find we need to let go of our rigorous self-care even when we know that there are going to be consequences.

Sometimes it’s just because of an opportunity that we know will push us beyond our energy limits, but that we just really want to do. Other times it can be a little more heavy than that and can result from just being totally fed up with having to deal with everything. In both cases my advice is the same:

  1. Listen to all of your needs!
  2. Compassionately accept yourself in this present moment, allow yourself to be authentic
  3. Choose your actions, understanding that you are also choosing the consequences
  4. Remember that all things are temporary and trust that you will return to good self-care afterwards, when you are ready.

This week I went to a party and I drank a little alcohol. Even though it was sit around a table, small gathering of close friends which would minimise the social stress, I knew that the walk both ways and the late night would push me beyond my energy limits. I also knew that drinking even a small amount of alcohol would result in at least one day being wiped out from the exaggerated hangover of a ME/CFS warrior. But I needed to do it! I needed to take part in a normal social situation and I chose to deal with the consequences. I accepted my hangover day without getting grumpy about it because I knew it was something that I had chosen when I chose my actions! I even accepted the reduced productivity of the second hangover day although I have to admit I was rather more reluctant and it took a little more encouraging self-talk!

Sometimes though, the slow gains from all our self-help efforts, especially combined with unexpected challenges, such as a stressful event or an infection can bring us face to face again with all the losses involved in chronic illness. And in such a situation it is totally normal and understandable to feel fed-up, frustrated, angry and unmotivated. It’s totally acceptable to take a little time out. Whatever you do don’t give yourself a hard time for feeling that way or for not keeping up with your efforts. Accept that your need in this moment is to allow yourself to process your feelings and take a break. Remember that feelings flow and change when you allow them freedom to be. Trust that once you have flowed through the process, your motivation will return. Compassionately accept any dip in well-being taking time out might bring, and devote yourself to making yourself as comfortable as possible until you come out the other side! Because you will!

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2 thoughts on “4 Tips for when You Need to Take Time Out from Prioritising Health!”

  1. Often have to step out of it for work which I prioritise over everything else. Always having days off to try and mitigate the damage as much as possible. When things get in my way of this carefully managed routine, (unexpected driving to pick up child, mum calls, household stress, teens invite friends over etc etc) which maintains me at 50%, as long as I use my scooter! I struggle, resulting in the first situation.

    I have accepted the second probably twice in 7 years the result has been very difficult to dig myself out off. So I resist this now even when I think it could be beneficial.

    The boom and bust thing is only possible when you have space to take the consequences. For many this is never an option which makes it hard to find pleasures.

    For me the pleasure is work but for so many even getting dressed causes the first situation!
    My thoughts are very often with those folk when I am finding things tough.

    • Thank you Lorraine, It sounds like you don’t have much of a buffer zone for your energy! Pleasure is such an important part of life it saddens me to think of those who have to give it up just to get by! We often have to make very difficult choices about our energy use but I would always encourage that you aim for a balance. I love your example of how thinking of others worse off than you helps you when times are tough!

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