Why can't I learn to pace myself 😪

Will I ever learn that dust won't kill you or that if the laundry doesn't get done...so what? Am I just a stubborn so and so? Some would say yes - Bob being one of them - but I think I'm in a bit of denial. Mind over matter? ''Insert own expletive here'' if that were true then nobody would be ill. Sorry I'm on one at the minute but I'm cheesed off that my legs have decided to have their own consultation with my brain before doing anything! I feel pretty annoyed with them at the minute which is a very weird experience. Off to make a cup of tea, should be in the kitchen by suppertime...

Charlie xx


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  • Oh yes. Oh very yes. It's spring, which is when my brain decides I must DO ALL THE THINGS and I will literally be awake for hours telling myself the billions of chores I have to get done; which I know for a fact I cannot do. I haven't been able to keep my house properly clean to my standards for over a decade without hiring help in. There is a pile of laundry so high in the dryer basket I am receiving letters asking for permits to do a mountaineering expedition in my kitchen, I haven't mopped my floor in the bathroom in months, dishes everywhere. I will be awake at 2am, waiting for the Tramadol to kick in and my brain will immediately say 'You need to repot the household plants tomorrow! OMG, woman, the pantry is a mess and the boxes must be broken down IMMEDIATELY, laundry is still in the washing machine, get up and sort it NAO' and d*mned if I don't get up and do it...le-sigh.

    On my better days, I realise that none of these jobs will ever be 'done'. There is no such thing as 'done cleaning'. And I have a limited amount of energy in a day. Do I really, seriously want to use that precious energy making sure my counter-tops are spotlessly scrubbed? I could totally sort the laundry mountain, but I could wait a grand total of 24 hours and it would be full again (because I have an ASD teenage boy who is practicing his college life early and he doesn't wash any of his laundry till Saturday...ALL of it).

    For me, I think it's just another stick to beat myself with. I find myself snorting in irritation that I can't open the lid on a jar of mayo when I used to sling 50kilo bags of builder's sand over my shoulder for fun. I can't even lift 2kilos now without hurting myself - so in order to punish my body for misbehaving I will force myself to do some utterly ridiculous task of housekeeping that I would only have to do again in three days' time from scratch, and I'll jolly well make sure I exhaust myself nearly to the point of tears to do so. Only serves me right.

    Well, the Dutchman isn't having it, and he's now told me I get to choose four things to do a day - one load of laundry, one hanging of clothing session, maybe one session of breaking down a box, a quick planting session in which I don't lift anything on pain of Stern Looks (he does Stern Looks very well!). And then...that's it. I'm to rest upon my laurels and remind myself every time I think of the things I haven't done, of all the things I actually did. Usually, it's quite a list.

    It's not a perfect solution, but it's better than it was. I don't beat myself up for having a messy house quite so much. I have more energy to do things I like to do, and not as many sleepless nights. It's not a perfect cure - I was up from 2 till 6am last night chasing my own thoughts round in circles about all the things I felt I absolutely had to do - but it's better than it was.

    Maybe try setting a small goal for yourself for the day - emphasis on small! - and rewarding yourself, not for doing it, but for not forcing yourself to do more than what you agreed with yourself to do. Retrain your brain to accept the little victories? It's worth a go anyway.

    I wish you patience!

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you 😚

    I do think that we are our own worst enemies! 😅 great advice and thank you for making me giggle.

    I wish you a peaceful and pain free night 😴😴😴

    Charlie xx

  • I know your feeling. I have to work full time to keep on top of bills. My house looks like it's been ransacked but nothing taken and I feel like a complete failure as a mother and wife. I'm in the middle of a flare up, have PIP assessment Monday and feel totally overwhelmed xx

  • Hi Sarah,

    You are not a failure by any means, you're ill. I completely empathise with how you feel though - we all get days where we just want to tell the world to bugger off and leave us alone but tomorrow is another day and you'll always find a friendly ear on here - I've only been on here a week and it's an absolute lifeline to me.

    Please don't beat yourself up, we're all in it together and you are strong!

    Sending you massive hug and I'm always here if you need to offload.

    Charlie xx

  • Oh charlie !!! I know how you feel. I do a wee bit of hoovering and sit down , then i wonder why my back is sore , why does my hip ache and then my hands swell up!!! Its hard to get it right 😠

  • Aaw weathervane, anywhere else but on here can we air our frustrations.

    I mean a bit of hoovering and 'wham!' It's like you've scaled the north face of the eiger...

    Have a good night's rest xx

  • I've had to learn to pace myself and it hasn't come easily..learning to accept that I have problems however large or small that debilitate my life. Because I couldn't clean, do the garden or walk as well as I was used to, I found myself giving up, what was the point?

    A couple of months ago I was referred to a health trainer at my gps to talk about managing pain and for the first time I had someones complete attention on a one to one basis. She listened and understood the problems, just talking was a great help for me and I came home feeling much better. One of the things she stressed was doing things like cleaning in small sections until your body tells you enough is enough then you stop, rest and start again or wait till the next day or the next time you feel well enough to tackle things again. I needed telling by someone who knew exactly what I was talking about and I discovered that I havent accepted the problems....so that was the first step for me, acceptance and being able to share what I was feeling. I've struggled alone for far too long

    Its not easy to change the habits of a life time....I hope you got that cup of tea before bed time xxx

  • I did eventually get my cuppa but forgot why I'd gone in the kitchen 😣

    Sounds perfectly reasonable to listen to your own body and I think I'll have to learn how to. I'm still trying to do everything but end up knackered and grumpy and angry with myself because at 48, you think I'd know better.

    Thank you for the advice - ill deffo take notes. I'm so glad that you're getting the support you need - gives me hope.

    Charlie xx

  • Dust is very patient, it will always wait... (me)

    "There was no need to do any housework at all. After four years the dirt doesn’t get any worse." (Quentin Crisp)

    "Health consists of having the same diseases as one’s neighbours." (also Quentin Crisp)

  • Hi, oh I do understand. When I was first diagnosed I was working full time with four young children. Ive never been house proud but busy. But when your stuck at home I think the dust looks bigger, the washing pile creeps out of the basket quicker and the hoover in the corner looks at you.

    A turning point for me was speaking with an occupational health nurse who was attached to the chronic fatigue consultant. She asked me to write down all the things I did in a day. I then had to get different coloured marker pens to highlight their order of importance.

    I realised the only really important thing was picking my children up from school. She told me to do fifteen minute slots. So I put the washing in, sat down did nothing , used the internet, put something away, watched fifteen mins tv, etc but I needed sometimes to do absolutely nothing everything off. The idea was mental activity then physical. I still revert to it now.

    Some days still I cant do anything, then other days I am able to achieve more but I still pace. I have learnt to see these days as rest days. I do get frustrated but more because I cant plan things.

    I wish you well.

  • Hi - thank you for the tips. Such a simple thing to do and until someone points out how to try something like this well it does make a difference.

    Not having a good day - I could cry with the pain in my fingers and as I've not been prescribed anything other than take paracetamol and go away. Feeling quite low - only can take over the counter ibuprofen which doesn't really even take the edge off.

    I'm going to try the 15 minute slots - my bathroom used to have a lovely wooden floor but now it looks like it's due a haircut! If I only get halfway through then it will get half done.

    I wish you well too and thank you.

    Charlie xx

  • Dear Charlie,

    I'm so sorry you're having such a bad day. Learning to listen to my body is still nigh on impossible at 66. As chrisj says, the habits of a lifetime are very hard to break but reading the post from you and the sympathetic, warm and above all, helpful replies gives me hope that I'll master that skill eventually. I'm concerned that you have such debilitating pain and no effective pain management in place. And that you have struggled on and feel so alone. On the forum, we are all here for you and I wish I could make things better for you.


  • Dearest Tess,

    Bless you - this forum is amazing and the people on it are so warm, caring and so knowledgeable. I consider myself lucky to have found somewhere I can just 'be'.

    Who knows, with all the fabulous advice maybe we'll learn to pace ourselves...one day!

    Thank you for the message, it really does help knowing that people do genuinely care.

    Gentle hugs to you

    Charlie xx

  • Remember its infuriating but it doesn't really matter. Do a little bit each day. And everyone can help out. My children had to do a few chores. Its character building.

  • 15 minute slots-BRILLIANT idea, thanks johare. I so absolutely relate to this whole thread that I am busy (!!) making notes of who recommended what.


  • Doing nothing means doing nothing, as part of the fifteen minutes, everything off. Your brain needs a rest.

  • Thanks johare - I will learn to do this. I think night need to give myself permission - does that sound weird?

    Charlie xx

  • Definitely not, I don't know why we feel so guilty about giving ourselves a break.

  • Dear johare,

    If it's any help, Quentin Crisp worked on the principle that after 4 years, the dust doesn't get any thicker.

    Thanks for the tips. Pacing is what I need to learn and it doesn't come easy. Best wishes to you.


  • Quentin Crisp a man of style and many words of wisdom.

  • Especially with regard to dust one feels... ;-)

    I mentioned it further up the thread - delighted I'm not the only one!

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