Sunday, March 2, 2014

Pacing Myself

One thing I've been learning is how important it is to pace myself.  I can't always do all the things I want to do.  And when I do too much, the pain gets worse, I get too tired, I get overwhelmed and have trouble coping.  It's frustrating to me when I can do as much as I want to do, or as much as I think I should be able to do, or all the things I've planned to do. 

I used to feel guilty about not getting things done but I don't so much anymore.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe I just reached a point where I needed to let go of that because it certainly wasn't helping me to feel that way.  Also, a friend pointed out a while back that being tired is not a personality flaw, and that really resonated with me.  I hadn't realized it, exactly, but I had been feeling like being too tired or in too much pain to do something, like clean my house, was some sort of character flaw.  Which of course it isn't.

If I pace myself, the pain is less, the anxiety is less, I can cope better.  Duh.  That sounds really obvious but it took me a long time to figure it out.

I have a friend coming over tomorrow and I've spent the last week cleaning my house.  I still get frustrated, and also kind of depressed, if I think too much about how there was a time when I could have cleaned this small apartment from top to bottom in no time.  Two hours and I could have had the place spotless. 

Now, it takes me a week.  It takes me a week, and there are still things I don't get done, like the bathtub.  It's too hard to clean my tub.  This is embarrassing to admit, but I cleaned my bathtub when I first moved in here and I haven't cleaned it since.  I mean, I rinse it out, but I haven't scrubbed it since.  And that was ten months ago.

But having a really clean tub is just not worth the pain it causes to bend over and scrub it.  So tomorrow I will close the shower curtain and my friend will have no idea that I haven't cleaned my tub in almost a year.

But pacing myself.  I'm doing it.  And if I don't think too much about how much easier life would be if I could get a normal amount of stuff done, it works.


  1. my grandmother used to use a childs toy mop and some ajax or comet powder to scrub out her tub. once she started using the mop she'd sit on the side of the tub and use the mop to scrub it. that way she didn't have to bend over.

  2. "being tired is not a personality flaw"... thank you for sharing that. So often I am afraid that folks will think I am lazy. My good friends and family know the truth of course, but I really need to let go of that worry. It's actually counterproductive - I just didn't realize that until I read that phrase. I keep hoping someday I'll be back to my "old self" and get "better"; the reality is that is not likely to ever happen. I must learn to find bright spots in this new normal.

    1. Credit for pointing out that being tired is not a personality flaw goes to my good friend Laura. I don't know why that thought had never occurred to me before. I am often afraid people will think I'm lazy, too. And I am often afraid that I am lazy, that that's what my problem is. Which is pretty silly, pretty irrational, and of course is also counterproductive.