Learning To Pace – Your Guide To Managing Your Condition
To date the most effective tool we have to managing ME/CFS is the method of pacing. For not only is it the goal of pacing to live within your individual energy envelope, but to gradually increase said envelope over time. The aim is to give you a sense of control over your illness and your life.
So what is pacing? Put very simply, pacing is taking the daily activities one must or want to do, be they mental/cognitive and/or physical, dividing them up into manageable portions and performing those that fit with the energy you have available for that day.
By pacing your activities within your energy envelope (the energy you find yourself with on any particular day), thus not exacerbating your symptoms it is expected that over time your energy envelope will gradually increase. By avoiding the “boom” and “bust” cycles and making your energy expenditure more even you are more likely to avoid “flare-ups” and “crashes” or set-backs.
Pacing requires you to (includes but not limited to):
- Keep track of your activity throughout the day to keep within your “energy envelope” or particular energy allotment for that day;
- Divide your tasks for the day into manageable portions and intersperse them with resting periods;
- When possible save energy e.g. walk a route that doesn’t have any hills instead of one that does;
- Stop mental or physical activity as soon as you start to feel any signs of reaching your activity limit i.e. you can feel the fatigue symptoms start to worsen.
The following links give more detailed and further information on pacing that you might find helpful.
- Fact Sheet 4 – Learning to Pace A step by step guide to learning to manage your energy envelope.
- Bruce Campbell’s CFIDS Self Help website, page on pacing. There is much information in an easy to read format on this site.
- Campbell, Bruce (2009) “Managing your Energy Envelope“, CFIDS Chronicle, Winter 2009, pp. 28-31.
- Jason, L. P. (2008). “The Energy Envelope Theory and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” AAOHN Journal 56(5): 189-195.
- Action For ME UK’s page on Pacing – They also have a comprehensive booklet on pacing.