One thing that seems so obvious, but was a huge revelation to me at the time, was learning about pacing in the pain clinic, or the 3Ps, which are pacing, planning and prioritizing. I was so used to thinking about things as someone without limits. But I obviously had some serious limits and I was just grinding myself further into the ground. I had to learn to pace myself, especially to get off the crutches that I had been using for a long time whenever I had intense pain in my knee.
I also like the idea of breaking up tasks into smaller bits, not necessarily completing something beginning to end. Now I usually empty half of the dishwasher at a time or chop all the veggies in the morning and cook later in the day.
Pacing is still something I’m figuring out. My knee pain hits after a certain point, and I need to rest. I’m always trying to balance pushing myself to expand my limits, while keeping in mind how I’ll feel afterwards and what I need to do the next day. I’m trying to get better at stopping earlier than I usually do and resting, so I can go farther.
One other tool I really like is the 2 point rule- stop and rest if your pain goes up 2 points on your 10 point scale. I’ve found this to be a really helpful pain management tool because it’s harder to bring the pain down once it’s gotten higher. For instance, yesterday I went out to get coffee and I was at about a 3. By the time I got home and had dinner I was about a 5. I really wanted to rest and bring the pain down, but I also wanted to go to the game night with my husband. I decided to go. While I don’t necessarily regret going, because I think it’s good for me as someone with chronic pain to practice keeping commitments, and it was fun, the pain was sky high by the time I came home and also quite high today. I always look back at puzzles like these and think – what would better pacing have been? Probably not going out to coffee before. It’s hard to accept I can’t squeeze things in but I know the 3Ps and the 2 point rule will get me farther.
P.S. I really like this post about pacing and rest.