Tag Archives: routine

A week in my life with Chronic Illness

18 May 16
Megan
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I meant to do this post last week for May 12 International Awareness Day but brain fog made me forget the date and I didn’t have the energy last week to write it anyway so here it is today… A week in my life

A little background for those of you who haven’t been following me for very long. For over 3 years now I’ve been living with chronic pain and fatigue as my daily companion. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Pelvic Congestion Syndrome.

I’ve already done a day in my life post, since then I have improved to the point that I try not to nap during the day any more.

What I do in a week

The following is what I did in the week starting Monday 9 May… It gives a good idea of what I do most weeks. The types of appointments and work I do varies week to week and the number of crash days also varies.

Monday

I wake up slowly at around 8:30 am noticing the heavy and aching feeling that’s always there. After stretching in bed and slowly getting up I measure the 0.5mL of testosterone cream and rub it into my leg and then slowly get dressed.

After getting dressed, I sit back on the bed and spend some time checking my emails and my to-do-list, and waiting for the heaviness and shakiness to settle enough to get up and make breakfast.

I’m feeling rather out of it today so I take my time doing my weekly budget review and spend some time online reading blogs. The fact that the weather is very wet and cold today doesn’t help my pain levels. I decide to hop in the bath and read until lunch time.

Being a Monday, it’s my day to do a bike ride. Before having lunch I decide to do a 10 minute easy ride on the stationary bike in the shed because it’s too wet to go out. I reheat leftovers and put the tv on while I eat lunch.

I’ve got some work I have to do today so I spend most the afternoon doing that. Again, tasks that would normally take half an hour to an hour to do are taking me over 3 hours.

Before long, it’s 5:00 pm and my brain is like mush, I put the TV back on and only get up to make a simple dinner and to do some stretches because my pelvic pain is flaring tonight.

At around 9:00 pm I get up, take my pills, have a shower and head to bed. In bed, I take some time to review my daily to-do-list and write a short list for tomorrow. Lights out by 10:00 pm.

Tuesday

I don’t wake up until 9:00 am today. Before even getting out of bed I decide to check my emails and my to-do-list because my body doesn’t want to cooperate.

Today I’m heading to my mum’s to help her with her assignment so after getting dressed and having breakfast I drive down there. Most of the day is spent helping mum. When we finish going through mum’s assignment in the afternoon, we go for a short walk and then I sit down and do my weekly blog posts before attending an online meeting for the conference I’m helping to organise.

By the time the meeting ends my sister has got home from her school placement and we head into town for dinner with E and a few friends from his office. Because E was drinking, I drive us home at the end of the night (that doesn’t happen very often).

It’s a late night out for me but I’m in bed by 10:30pm

Wednesday

Ok, so I did a bit too much Tuesday and that time of the month is starting so pain and fatigue are very high today.

It’s definitely a crash day which means I spend most the day in front of the tv not doing much. I do make myself do my 10 minute ride on the stationary bike because some movement helps with pain levels and I order a few things I need online (cat food and my calcium and magnesium supplements). I also prepare the dough for baking bread the next day.

I shower both in the morning and the night to help with pain. In bed by 9:00 pm.

Thursday

I’m awake at 9:00 am. Fatigue is slightly lower today and I do have a doctors appointment I need to go to. The day starts with a shower and breakfast. I also throw the bread in the oven to bake.

Before heading to my doctors appointment I throw on a load of washing. I drive to town and visit my doctor to get a script I forgot to ask for in my check up the week before. After that I buy lunch and eat with E in his office before I drive home and hang out the washing.

The rest of the day is spent resting in front of the tv, until I shower and head to bed again at around 10:00 pm.

Friday

Up at 8:30 am today and I do feel slightly better today. Dad’s over for lunch today so that takes up most my day.

I do manage to send an email out inviting people to a meeting next week for the conference organising stuff and to do a short ride on the stationary bike and a short walk with my sister who is over for dinner.

In bed by 10:15 pm.

Saturday

After getting up at 9:00 am I head down to mum’s and spend most the day out with my sister op-shopping. I know that I’m doing too much today but I’m enjoying a day out with T while I can.

some of the books I picked up on our op-shopping tour.

some of the books I picked up on our op-shopping tour.

In the evening, E makes dinner because I don’t have any energy left and I’m in bed by 9:30 pm.

Sunday

Up at 9:00 am today and throw on a load of washing straight after breakfast. I then sit down and rest for a while before baking a cake. The whole morning is broken down between baking, washing, and doing low energy activities like reading blogs.

I reheat left overs for lunch and then read some of the children’s books I bought yesterday until E’s family comes over for afternoon tea.

I also spend some time prepping for baking bread on Monday and putting together some lego.

I have a bath in the evening after dinner as I’m feeling very achey and end up in bed late at 11:00 pm mainly because I relax too long in the bath.

That was my week last week.

As you can see, my days vary a lot. This was a fairly busy week for me as there were a few days in there where I wasn’t able to have any rest breaks throughout the day at all. That isn’t typical but the rest of it is. I try to find a way to balance work, social, exercise and rest each week.

What does your week look like?


On Routine and Pacing

22 Oct 15
Megan
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I’ve mentioned many times about trying to maintain some form of routine and pacing as a way of managing my health. Now it’s something I need to refocus on.

I’ve got goals and dreams that I want to achieve within the next few years, and in order to do them I need to be as healthy as I can be. As I’ve previously mentioned, over the last few months I’ve begun adding work back into my life and this has thrown the routine I had set for myself out the window.

Why is it so important for you to have some form of routine?

In order to maintain a lower level of pain and more energy I’ve found the only thing that even works a little is pacing myself. Without routine it’s hard for me to keep my step count consistent and to actually motivate myself on my crash days.

I want to increase my step count back up to where I was before I crashed around Christmas last year (an average step count of 7,000). To do this I’m slowly raising what my minimum step count is for crash days. Over the last 3-4 months I’ve raised my minimum step count from less than 2,000 to 3,500. I’m raising in 500 step intervals every few weeks.

But what about the things that happen in life? You can’t plan everything!

No, you can’t but you can set yourself up so that you have some reserve for the unexpected while still maintaining a general routine on a day to day/week on week basis.

What’s your plan?

At this stage I’m still formulating a new plan for pacing and setting a routine that is flexible enough but I think it will look something like this…

8 – 8:30 am

Do some deep breathing, get up and do a short yoga sun salutation

8:30 – 9:30 am

Shower or bath (pain relief technique) and get dressed, rest if necessary

9:30 – 10 am

Breakfast

10 am – 12 pm

High energy work/housework/appointments with regular rest breaks

(no longer than 1 hour activity at a time without a break)

12 – 1 pm

Lunch

1 – 3 pm

Lower energy work/housework/appointments with regular rest breaks

(no longer than 1 hour activity at a time without a break)

3 – 5 pm

REST (tv or nap depending on energy levels)

5 – 7 pm

Make and eat dinner

7 – 9 pm

TV

9 – 9:30 pm

Pelvic Stretches, prepare for bed

10 pm

Bed

It’ll take me a while to build up to this (especially the getting up and going to bed at a regular time) but it’s important to me to push myself without going past my limitations.

Have you ever tried to set yourself a routine? How successful was it?

Benefits of getting away when dealing with chronic illness

13 Dec 13
Megan
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Last weekend I had a wonderful time away with my mum and my sister, T. We visited my Aunty and Uncle at their home on Dangar Island. This visit got me thinking a lot about the way our environment impacts our health.

Before starting this blog, E and I went on a holiday to Port Elliot where we spent a lot of time outdoors and away from technology. This trip to Dangar Island was the same sort of experience.

Today I’m going to focus on the overall health benefits I experienced from getting away. These are things that I experienced during both of my trips away since being ill. I will do a separate post that focuses specifically on getting away or reducing our time with technology and the benefits I see from that.

When we are home all or most the time, as many of us with Chronic Illnesses are, we can get into a routine of daily living that doesn’t change very often. This routine that we get into can be a good thing as it makes sure we don’t push too hard and get a lot sicker, but it can be a bad thing as well. If we have set our routine at a level that is lower than we can actually achieve then we can get sicker through de-conditioning. But even if we have set our routine at the right level to maintain our health, we can still fall into a rut where we are too scared to move forward and increase activity levels.

Getting away from our everyday environment can help us by getting us out of our routines and pushing our boundary limits. By doing this we realise if we have set our limits correctly or if we can increase our activity levels appropriately (i.e. slowly but surely, no more than 10% increase a week).

We can feel as if there has been no progress in our health and, for a lot of us, it can get very lonely being home every day. The realisation that we can increase our activity levels can help us realise that although we don’t feel like it we are slowly improving and being in a different environment and meeting different people can help combat loneliness and any feelings of depression that may be starting to appear.

I also notice that when I’m out in a different environment I tend to be focussing more on things around me and less on myself. This helps me by reducing my focus on my constant pain levels and I feel I can do more before the pain levels reach unbearable levels.

Even if we can’t get away on holidays, I’ve found that just changing up my routine occasionally can have a similar effect on my mood and perspective.

Feeling like “normal” human beings and doing different activities can motivate us to change our routines when we return home as well. I know that when I returned from Port Elliot I was motivated to take the next step and actually start this blog because while we were away E and I were able to talk about how things were going and what I could be doing to help myself feel a bit better. I also know that seeing my Aunty’s meditation room and being in a totally isolated environment with no access to technology most of the day have motivated me to make changes to my environment and routine now that I have returned home.

I will go into the changes I am planning to make since returning from Dangar Island in future posts.

Do you find getting away from your everyday life is beneficial to your health?

What do you do when you find yourself stuck in a rut or routine that isn’t benefiting you?