So after my 3 weeks of a life changing experience, I was let loose back into the public life, with my family and friends, and encouraged to put it ALL into practice. I did my stretches every morning, that was imperative to keeping my pain at bay, to this day I still do some sort of stretching either before I get out of bed, in the shower, or at some point during the day, I now do yoga twice a week for 1.5 each session.
I think more about my limits, and I am much much kinder to my body. I have had to learn to let go of a lot of things, being a perfectionist being the main thing, and I don’t mean about what my house looks like or what my kids look like, I mean about my own anxieties, my own pressures, my own internal chatter and thoughts. I learnt to say no, that was the another thing, and actually the biggest lesson I learnt was to stop giving a crap about everything. About what I looked like, about what people might think of me, about offending someone, about having my own opinion, about saying no, about letting the house turn to shit once in a while. It is liberating, really and truly, it is SO amazing when you can get to a point in your life and think, life is too short to worry so much about stuff that doesn’t really matter. My health, my family, my happiness, their happiness OUR lives are my priority, and everyone else, you can all just fit in! It might sound selfish, and it sort of is, but it’s vital to mine and my family’s wellbeing. If I am happy, coping with my day to day pains, and not feeling miserable and exhausted, then I can assure you the household is a better place for it.
I guess it comes down to a mind-set change. We were taught tonnes of practical things for coping in life, we were taught physical things to help us cope with pain in our lives, but the mind stuff for me came up alongside it. It might not have been taught directly, and in hindsight, it may have only been in the last year or so that this has changed for me. But it’s vital. The mind is a powerful tool. It controls many, if not all, aspects of our lives. If there is one thing your mind can’t do, it is lie to you. Whether it be a conscious or unconscious conversation, it WILL affect your body. If you constantly think negative, you’ll attract negative. Negativity is going to bring you down. Which is clearly difficult to lift yourself out of when you are in a flare up and can’t see a way out of the hell that is chronic pain and fatigue. (www.tamingfibro.com)
I digress, pacing pacing pacing, the hardest thing anyone can do when you have young kids and are generally not an organised person who doesn’t run to a timetable. In fact, if I had been employed I would have been more organised. In fact, I’ll come to this, but when I did work as a volunteer at my children’s school, I did in fact become super organised. I digress, again, you see this is the mind of a person who has so much to say and very little organisational skills.
The art of Pacing is, indeed, what can I say about it!!!! You have to really try hard at it. It is not natural to have to change something that may have been formed over many many years. It’s almost about creating a new habit (let’s say not sitting in the same position all night without moving), and forming a new one (making sure you get up every so often, or at least move from the position to another position) to stop the pain from getting worse. This can be taken into any aspect of your life. From standing to walking to sitting, to working. The thing is, if you don’t change what you were doing, if you don’t create new habits, you’ll end up doing what you did originally and let’s face it, that didn’t work for me for the previous 10 years of being in pain! I’m not perfect at pacing, it’s a bit hard to try walk the kids to school and stop every 3.5 minutes to stretch it out, sit down or rest, when you are running late and trying to get the kids and dog listening before the school bell rings! But there are aspects of my life where I do need to pace. Cooking for one. I couldn’t stand for long period at a time, standing (to this day) causes me immense pain. So cooking I had to pace.
So 2014 was a massive learning curve. I had no job, and more time, we had lots of lovely holidays planned and with my time I decided to volunteer at my kids’ school. So I would go in a few afternoons a week and read with some of the kids that needed that extra support. I had never really wanted to work with kids, but I wanted to be present at the school so my kids could see me and I could be around them more (selfish I know!). I partly think I was missing my therapy business and therefore was getting that urge to want to help others again.
I’m not going to lie, I really really loved working with the kids. Words I never thought would cross my mind, never mind out my mouth! Over time I was given more responsibility, working on different support systems to helps the kids that needed more time and support, I even did admin jobs for the teaching assistant, so they were not taken out the classroom so much. I loved it. A full time job became open for a Teaching Assistant (TA), but I wasn’t quite ready for that commitment. It was still tiring for me to concentrate, interact, and look after my family, so I carried on as a volunteer. Then a few months later, a part time TA roll came up, and boom…. I knew it was for me. This would have been the first interview/job I had been to in 13 years or so. I was sick with nerves. I got it! Hell yeah! I got it!
I was so excited, nervous, but ready, really ready to become a part time working mum.
I started working there in October 2014. Over that year I managed so well, pacing my mornings, knowing I needed energy to work that afternoon, I would make sure I never over did it on the days I had after school activities with the kids. I meal planned better, I was really organised.
I think I had actually learnt what pacing was about towards the end of 2014.