I’m extremely happy to share that my health seems to be improving at the moment and has been doing so steadily for several months. In all that time, my energy has dipped a little from time to time, but only briefly and I can’t say that I’ve experienced a real crash! I count that as a massive achievement as one of the hardest things to manage with illnesses like ME/CFS and fibromyalgia, is not overdoing it when you’re feeling good! Even when I’ve had sustained improvements before I’ve always reached a point when I’ve been doing so well I’ve thrown caution to the wind and done too much, too often or for too long!
I was talking to one of my friends yesterday whilst out for a walk and she asked me how do you know when you’re well enough to do more? And my answer was that you don’t! Even if you’ve been feeling better for a while you just can’t know how much more your body has to give. The only way to do it, is to increase what you do by only a tiny amount and wait to see if you can do that over and over again until you know it’s sustainable and then make another small increase. So although it’s been really tempting to try to go on a longer walk, I haven’t. Instead I allow myself to use just a little more effort whilst walking uphill and don’t stop quite so often. (I’ve always managed walking in this mountainous area by stopping regularly whenever I feel myself having to push to get anywhere, and not starting again until I’m, totally relaxed).
We all know the sense behind keeping to tiny increases but we also all know that it’s easier said than done. So what has been different for me this time?
I think the main difference for me this time is that I’ve been so happy at the level of functioning that I have, I haven’t been desperate to be able to do more. I’ve always believed that you need to invest as least as much of your energy in making yourself happy now, as you do in a better future. And I guess that must be working! I suppose that it all comes down to detachment again. It’s OK to want more for yourself but if you get too attached to what you want, it will trip you up. You’ll end up trying too hard and pushing too far, when pushing is the last thing that will help us improve. The more we can focus on here and now happiness skills, the easier it is to be satisfied with only tiny increments in activities when it looks like our body has more to give. The happier you are now, the less your spirit will push you to do more!
So what’s the secret to successfully managing improvement?
Learning to be happy and satisfied with life as it is now and letting go of the need for it to be different. Now there’s a challenge for you!
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