(Extreme fatigue leaves you unable to cope with even basic daily tasks. Pamela Rose Coaching Life Rescue Programme helps you manage your body and mindset so you can cope with your condition and feel life is worth living again. Click here to book a no obligation chat.)
Those of you who subscribe to my ‘Fatigue Rescue 121’ emails, will have seen that my top tip this time was around adjusting your personal speed dial. I received some great feedback from this, and so thought I’d expand on things a little more here.
If you’ve been experiencing extreme fatigue for a while, it’s highly likely that you’ve heard about the benefits of pacing. Indeed, it’s equally likely that you’ve given some effort to figuring out how to pace - and perhaps ended up a little uncertain about how to do it, and whether you’re on the right track or not.
I love helping people crack pacing. I love it for many reasons, but particularly because no two specific pacing plans are the same. Everyone’s lives are different, and so everyone’s pacing plans are slightly different too. Which means I help people get to the core of how they need to live their lives and guide them as they establish the best way to do this. I never tire of seeing the improvements people can make relatively quickly to how they’re feeling every day.
So yes, personalised pacing approaches are key to successfully figuring out what you can commit to doing each day, and the best way to ensure all goes well. But alongside that, there are some general themes to pacing that can help everyone, and one of them is to tackle their personal speed dials!
Many people who are tackling fatigue were living busy fast-paced lives before they got ill. They may have spent decades living life at 100mph, efficiently moving from task to task at a fair speed, and very probably ‘multi-tasking’ as they did so. (Spoiler: we can’t multi-task! All we do is exhaust our brain more quickly by thinking we can. I might cover this in more detail in a future blog!)
So, if you’ve been used to living life at that sort of pace - possibly for decades - it becomes a pre-programmed setting. But if you’re having to cope with a depleted energy store, this is draining you more than you need to, and a quick way to address this is to slow down. Sounds obvious! But many of the people I help struggle to lock this in.
If this is resonating with you, I’d like you to try the following:
Sit calmly and comfortably and close your eyes. Visualise a huge dial that’s linked to your body somehow, a dial that’s controlling your default personal speed setting: the speed at which you default to moving about your daily business…
Visualise yourself carrying out routine tasks at your usual fast-paced default speed, and as you’re doing that imagine reaching up and turning down your personal speed dial by around 20%. Continue with your visualisation and watch yourself slowing down slightly as your dial is reducing, and view yourself looking more awake and more confident as you move at that slower pace…
And as you’re watching yourself, realise that you’re still achieving all of your critical tasks, and that moving at that slightly slower pace doesn’t impact anything getting done. Far from it, you’re more likely to have energy left later in the day for those final few tasks…
Finally, move away from the visualisation and tune into your body as it is right now and visualise that dial turning down with immediate effect. Tell yourself that from this moment forward, you’re going to adjust your pace downwards accordingly and become curious about the benefits this will achieve.
It’s as simple as that! You might find yourself forgetting at first, and realise you’ve defaulted to dashing to the kitchen to grab a glass of water. But that’s ok, catch yourself and remind yourself that you’re intending to move slower for now, and then go back to the slower more considered movements that will help you.
It’s a great technique that anyone can do - and it’s particularly useful at this time of year when our usual routines have been disrupted. Give it a go and let me know how you get on.