It seems to be all too common to take on too much during this season. Some of that can be managed by choosing your activities wisely. Use the following tips to shave off some energy expenditure.
Think about the 4 “P’s” of Energy Management:
Managing your energy bank can be compared to managing your finances. Plan for what you need and want to do for with your day.
Banking + Budgeting = Energy Management
“Work Smarter, Not Harder”
Banking definition: Making deposits into your energy bank so that you have the energy to do your daily activities.
1) Rest BEFORE feeling fatigued. Find the time of day, and location/position where you get most restored.
2) Good body mechanics/ergonomics with activities
3) Use of tools, such as mobility devices, scooters, wheeled cart for carrying objects within your home, etc.
4) Analyze how you do activities/tasks, and modify for simplification
a. Minimize steps
5) Communicate with others for support and to diminish feelings of isolation
7) Keep cool, using coolant products, etc.
10) Good sleep at night
13) Medications as prescribed
Budgeting definition: Planning and choosing how to spend your energy
1) Evaluate your standards – does the floor really need to be vacuumed every day or every other day? Or, is once a week sufficient?
2) Evaluate your priorities – family, personal health care, exercise, spiritual growth, etc. Consider if you’re spending your time on what matters to you most
3) Set goals for accomplishing what you need and want to do
Fatigue Measurement Scale
1-10 (1 = no fatigue;10 = extreme fatigue)
Identify what your number is that indicates you need to take a restoration break, such as, 7-8 would be indicative of significant fatigue and that restoring your energy bank would prevent “hitting the wall." This method of measurement can also be used to indicate when you need to change how you’re performing an activity for less effort out of your energy bank.
Increase Energy Awareness
1) For 1-2 weeks, keep a schedule log
2) Simply record daily activities. Rate level of fatigue at a variety of times of the day, such as at the beginning and end of the day, and intermittently throughout the day.
3) Look to see if there are any patterns.
4) For the next week, plan your activities plus restoration breaks, pacing yourself by spreading out heavy and light activities. Using a need to do and a want to do list can assist with prioritizing activities.
5) Continue rating fatigue for analyzing the impact of the changes you’re making
6) Continue with planning activities plus restoration breaks
Suggested reading for ideas on simplifying activities: Multiple Sclerosis: 300 Tips for Making Life Easier, by Shelley Peterman Schwarz