It was timely happenstance that this post, from Pete Moore of the Pain Toolkit, popped into my twitter feed a few weeks ago – Is pain self-management a habit or a hobby?
I had been struggling with my pain levels and fatigue over the past couple of months and was beginning to realise that I had been neglecting many of the self-care measures I know help keep many of my symptoms manageable.
My “problem”, I think, is that when I feel well and my energy levels are reasonably good I act as if I don’t have a chronic illness, as if I have been cured, and fail to follow my tried and tested programme of physiotherapy, pacing and prioritising.
I had felt well and my pain levels had been reasonably low during the final few months of last year, so it had been easy to succumb to the temptation of believing that I didn’t have to do my physio exercises every day, or take my (prescribed) supplements or think about pacing.
I started to have the occasional bad day after Christmas, which soon grew into a flare of pain and fatigue, and meant that, by February, I was struggling to function well. I had landed in the classic boom bust cycle.
I’ve been back to the drawing board and revisited The Pain Toolkit so that I can get myself back on track.
My self-care routine cannot be a hobby, it needs to be a habit, like (to use Pete Moore’s analogy) cleaning my teeth. I clean my teeth twice a day, every day. Cleaning my teeth is not dependent on how well I feel, it is something that is part of my day, non-negotiable – a habit.