When I’m working, I can sometimes manage up to 20,000 steps in a day without realising. But boy do I suffer for it afterwards. The following days I would be lucky to manage 1,000 steps.
Since starting my June challenge for Versus Arthritis to walk 8,000 steps a day, I started testing my limits trying to beat the speed of my walking or the number of steps from the previous day.
But I have realised that it is not good for me. Some days I will not be able to walk fast or exceed the 8,000 steps, but I will always get to the goal.
I’m learning to listen to my body more than ever before and adjusting my goals to my limitations not the other way around.
I learnt about pacing not long after I was diagnosed, around 2 years ago at a course for those living with fibromyalgia.
They drew a diagram that showed on good days people tend to overdo it but then suffer for it and end up in massive flare ups, leading to a real rollercoaster of extreme highs and extreme lows. Over time, your highs will reduce until you are almost constantly in a flare up from overdoing it.
If I pace and try to be consistent especially on my good days, and not think I am invincible on my best days and do everything I usually can’t, the rollercoaster will turn into a relaxing boat ride (my own analogy) with much smaller waves.
Yes, flare ups still exist but by pacing I am removing one of my biggest causes of flare ups – overdoing it.
I’m not going to say pacing is the be all and end all, because it isn’t. Some days I want to do things that I know will push my limitations but to have as much enjoyment from life, sometimes I have to do that.
I accept that I am limited by my condition but I will not let it defeat me. I am learning to work with it instead of fighting against it.