Before becoming chronically ill, every day was filled with some sort of activity. Some days were designated for cleaning or shopping, while others were filled with running the kids to their activities or gathering with friends and family. I never had to worry about exhaustion or pain getting in the way of my plans. Back then I would schedule one to four down days a month, days in which I would do nothing but relax. After the pain from Psoriatic Arthritis and Fibromyalgia high jacked my body I was no longer able to keep up with my old schedule.
Pain forces me to make changes
The physical pain and exhaustion that accompanies it forced me to make changes. Unfortunately, I resisted the change and spent over a decade failing to listen to my body’s demands. Ignoring the needs of my body only created more chaos in my life and made it impossible for me to accomplish even the simplest of tasks. Once I began to recognize how long it takes my body to recover from certain activities, like grocery shopping, cleaning, or going to Disneyland, I discovered how to create a schedule that works for me.
Time for recovery
Instead of planning one to four days of rest per month, I assume that my body will only be able to handle one to four outings per month. The amount of outings I plan depends upon the types of outings. While grocery shopping exhausts me, I am usually able to write or do some light housework the following day. One or two days at Disneyland will require more time to recover than an afternoon at the mall. The more physically taxing the outing, the more time I will need for recovery. If I average one outing per week, I can usually expect to have two or three days per week in which I am productive at home and the remainder is spent recovering. Occasionally an outing will result in my needing a few weeks to recover. Because of this, I keep an extremely flexible schedule. Who cares if the laundry isn’t done on Thursdays? Not me! Instead of hoping my body will cooperate each Thursday I do my family’s laundry one load at a time whenever I have the energy.
Painful conditions like Psoriatic Arthritis change more than how our bodies feel; they turn our entire lives upside down. However, when we discover ways to work with or around our symptoms and pain we can find a rhythm that works for us. Has PsA changed how you schedule your time?