Physical Friday: 3 key steps to surviving a busy week with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Fibromyalgia

So… it’s Friday morning here, and the Kickstarter campaign for Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang is now in it’s 6th day and 25% funded. If you haven’t checked it out already, please head over and watch the video to understand what we are trying to achieve. This week has been the busiest week I’ve had in over 8 months but I’m surviving.

Today is the first day in a week that I don’t actually have anything ‘planned’ with a set time I have to do it. I do want to catch up on the washing and do a few other littler chores around the house, but I don’t need to go to an appointment or meet up with anyone outside. Surprisingly, although I’m fighting with Foggy Frog to stay focussed on what I’m doing and fighting with my eyelids to stay open, I’m not actually feeling as bad as I thought I would today.

It’s Physical Friday today, so I thought I’d share with you the steps I took this week that I think may have helped me survive such a busy week without a full on crash (touch wood).

(c) Megan S, December 2013
(c) Megan S, December 2013

3 Steps I took to survive my busy week

1. Plan in Advance

I knew in advance that this week was going to be extremely hectic and possibly even stressful so when booking the appointments I tried to space them out over the week and made sure I had time to rest both before and after every appointment.

To keep the impact of the Foggy Frog campaign down as low as possible I’d planned in advance how I was going to launch it. I asked friends to prepare the food, I pre-wrote all the questions for the online launch, and I prepared and scheduled emails to go out on launch day. Without having done this the launch would have been a lot more stressful for me and would have probably caused a crash on its own without adding the rest of the week’s activities.

I also had my first late night class (a 3 hour class starting at 6pm) for the illustrating children’s picture books course. Although I had no way of knowing how I was going to cope with this class, I had made plans for E to be ready to pick me up at any stage if it got too much and I made sure the tutor knew that if I left early it wasn’t that I didn’t want to be there, it was that I couldn’t last any longer. (Luckily it actually finished slightly early and I made it to the end).

2. Be Gentle on Yourself

There were multiple times during the week when I started to feel that it was all getting a bit too much and I wasn’t going to cope. At these points in time I made myself stop whatever I was doing, sit or lie down, close my eyes and just breath for a while. This technique seemed to work well as ‘mini breaks’ throughout the days when there was no way I was going to get my normal rest.

I also prepared mentally and let myself know that it was OK if I couldn’t get everything done. I gave myself permission to leave things early, or cancel appointments, and even though I didn’t need to do this in the end having the permission removed the additional stressors from my days.

3. Take Regular Breaks

This was a big one, and I discussed in more detail on Wednesday how I was planning to do this. Finding time for myself and just relaxing was probably key to reducing the impact of this week on my health and wellbeing. I’ve had 3 baths this week, done several short meditations, and taken very short breaks just to breath as I outlined above. The baths all used Epsom salts which increase my magnesium levels and reduce cramping, so they were extremely beneficial on the nights I was feeling over it all. The other activities just gave me mental space to step back and assess where I was at thus avoiding too much stress and discomfort.

These three steps have been vital to me this week and I will keep on using them during the rest of the Kickstarter campaign. We have just over 21 days to go and $5,600 still to raise. I know that we will make it because I know how important this book is for our community.

Everyone I have spoken to who suffer from any of the invisible illnesses (Fibromyalgia, ME/cfs, MS, Lupus, etc) all have the same story to tell… Lack of awareness and understanding (and even misunderstanding) in the general community about what it’s like to live with these invisible illnesses. Foggy Frog is the first step in providing awareness and understanding to the wider community on what this is like.

Do you have any other steps you would add for surviving a busy week?

Have you found you can maintain a higher level of activity for an extended period of time without crashing?

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