During endometriosis awareness month, the most interacted with post on our Facebook page was about fatigue- which points to how significant it impacts those with endometriosis. Fatigue and pain often go hand in hand- with one aggravating the other. One concept to help prevent flares of pain and fatigue is pacing.
Pacing is about adjusting your activities to your body’s current needs and finding the balance between activity and rest. Pacing doesn’t mean you accomplish less, rather it helps you accomplish your goals while reducing the chance of a pain/fatigue flare. We are familiar with the concept of pacing in running and other forms of exercise:
“Pacing is essentially a strategy that you use to distribute your energy throughout your entire bout of physical activity. Being cognitively aware of how much you are physically exerting yourself will keep you in touch with signs of fatigue and allow better control of performance. Properly controlling your pace during your physical activity can help you prevent working so hard that you’re unable to complete your training in the next session. Pacing allows you to avoid injury…”(MacPherson, n.d.)
Pacing, according to one study’s participants, can include “breaking down tasks, saying ‘no’, being kind to themselves, using rest breaks, doing something each day, developing a structure and gradually building up activities” (Antcliff et al., 2021). The same study found that some of the main barriers to pacing activities were “wanting to complete tasks, or not wanting to delegate or be perceived as lazy” (Antcliff et al., 2021). Sometimes life’s demands make it difficult- especially with an illness not many people understand. The study had participants include goals such as “socialise with friends, try varying exercises, protect time for hobbies and relaxation, and gradually try activities they had been avoiding due to symptoms” (Antcliff et al., 2021). Sometimes when we feel better, we push ourselves too hard for too long to make up for when we can’t perform our usual activities. Feinberg and Feinberg (n.d.) report that with pacing “you break an activity up into active and rest periods” and that “rest periods are taken before significant increases in pain levels occur.” Pacing may mean that if you have work or an appointment scheduled, then you may need to keep your schedule clear the day before and/or after to be able to recover. It may mean only doing one load of laundry that day. It may mean protecting time for activities that feed your spirit (reading, outdoor time, time with supportive friends or family, etc.).
In the spirit of pacing and taking rest when needed, the admins of our Facebook page will be taking a week off April 2-9, 2022. During this week, our Facebook page will be on pause. This means that it will be read only during that week, so it won’t let you comment, react, post, or request to join. Don’t worry, it’ll go back to usual after that week. After 9 years of continuous volunteer work by the admins and moderators, it’s about time for a break.
See more about fatigue with endometriosis: https://nancysnookendo.com/learning-library/symptoms/lessons/fatigue-in-endometriosis/?doing_wp_cron=1594748400.8231060504913330078125
Antcliff, D., Keenan, A. M., Keeley, P., Woby, S., & McGowan, L. (2021). “Pacing does help you get your life back”: The acceptability of a newly developed activity pacing framework for chronic pain/fatigue. Musculoskeletal care. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/msc.1557
Feinberg & Feinberg. (n.d.). Pacing means moving ahead. Retrieved from http://www.cfsselfhelp.org/library/pacing-means-moving-ahead-and-not-falling-behind#:~:text=Pacing%20is%20a%20tool%20that,physical%20activity%20because%20it%20hurts.
MacPherson. (n.d.). How to properly pace yourself during exercise (and why it matters) Retrieved from https://www.vitacost.com/blog/how-to-pace-yourself-to-improve-exercise/