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What is rest?

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by yabeeb, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. yabeeb

    yabeeb

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    OK random question here but what exactly is 'rest'?

    Does it entail lying down doing nothing, dozing/falling asleep, deep progressive muscular relaxation, doing a guided body scan or meditating on the breath?

    The reason I ask is because when i went to the CFS clinic in the NHS (UK) they suggested that doing ANY activity at all was not considered rest - for instance, watching Masterchef on TV, listening to Portishead or surfing ebay for hours looking for retro Adidas gear. Is that correct?

    Also, are things like deep relaxation, body scans and meditating better for CFS recovery than just lying there? Sometimes it feels like even these are too much effort but that's probably because i want to zone out rather than be mindful and truly feel my symptoms.
    rosie26 and justy like this.
  2. Cheesus

    Cheesus Senior Member

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    I had the same advice from my specialist and in my opinion it is spot on. The brain uses a lot of energy, as do the eyes and ears. Its even better if you can get your brain to slow down but I can find that difficult sometimes, as I am sure does everyone.

    Deep relaxation/meditation is really great for getting deep rest and your health in general. However, you don't have to do it all the time. If you want to lie there daydreaming that is fine. Moreover, sometimes meditation isn't all that restful if you're going up against something particularly troublesome. If you can escape into daydreaming then that is fine. Meditation is a tool and should be used when appropriate.

    The one proviso I would say to the above is that if you can listen to some very relaxing instrumental music that is fine. I have an app from Meditation Oasis that has an instrumental only track. I listen to it on my noise cancelling headphones and it sort of fades into the background. I do not have my actual attention on it but it seeps into my subconscious. I spoke with my specialist about this and we agree this still constitutes proper rest. If the music captures your attention or is at all stimulating, I would not consider that proper rest.

    Also when I saw your thread title I wanted to say "baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me, no more".
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  3. xchocoholic

    xchocoholic Senior Member

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    It differs depending on your level of functionality. Some are OK with activities that require minimal physical or mental energy and others, esp those with OI, orthostatic intolerance, have to lay down to rest.

    You'll feel rested / relaxed if you're meeting your body's requirement. It takes my body an hour to recover and feel rested / relaxed from getting potsy, tachycardia, but that's not true for everyone.

    Tc .. x
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  4. yabeeb

    yabeeb

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    Hello Haddaway... I mean Cheesus.

    Thanks for your reply. Very helpful. Mainly though thanks for making me larf out loud. Sadly I am old enough to know exactly what track you are referring to.... And it still makes me feel sick!

    I am off to listen to something relaxing (not shoddyway)
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  5. yabeeb

    yabeeb

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    Cool thanks for this. I think just doing some would be useful for me. I just need to find the time and the willingness :)
    xchocoholic likes this.
  6. Cheesus

    Cheesus Senior Member

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    Also just wanted to add that looking at a laptop deceivingly energy intensive. You think its not doing much but really it is a lot and will take its toll. If you want to browse retro adidas gear keep it to a minimum ;)
    justy, rosie26 and yabeeb like this.
  7. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    @yabeeb - I think it depends on how much physical rest you need versus cognitive/relaxation rest. With ME/CFS I need physical rest for most of the day, but sitting around while doing absolutely nothing (not even TV, etc) drives me batty.

    I think complete cognitive rest from time to time can be worth a try, but I wouldn't try to push it.
  8. TigerLilea

    TigerLilea Senior Member

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    My doctor defined "rest" as laying down with my eyes shut for two hours; no watching TV or reading a book. She also didn't want me doing anything physically active during the day. After four months when she could see how much I had declined mentally, she decided her advice was bad and told me to get back to living my life. Within a week or two I was back to being much more mentally sharp.
  9. yabeeb

    yabeeb

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    Thank you. This is sound advice Cheesaway :)
  10. yabeeb

    yabeeb

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    Thanks Valentijn!
  11. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

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    When I was first diagnosed and didn't know how to pace appropriately, my ME/CFS specialist advised me to lay completely supine, eyes closed for at least an hour every afternoon. If I fell asleep, fine, it meant my body needed the sleep and I should sleep as long as my body needed. If I didn't fall asleep, I could get up after an hour and go about my day.

    That plan has proved to be a surprisingly reliable indicator of my level of functioning. When I'm doing well, I get the mental and physical rest for an hour and then get up. At the other extreme, when I'm doing badly and have active infections, I fall asleep and sleep for up to 5 hours. My body knows, to some degree, how much rest I need I guess.

    Unless you have no cognitive symptoms, the mental rest is as important (or more so) than the physical rest. TV, reading, surfing the net are not really resting -- for us, at least. I am okay with audiobooks during my rest, but not all PWME are. I imagine some can listen to music, too, but not everyone.

    I think of sitting with my feet up doing something (reading, TV, internet, etc) as low-key activity. It's not rest, but it's not being upright or walking around. Many of us need to spend a lot of our day in low-key activity as well as taking a genuine rest.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2014
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  12. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    I usually say rest only because i cant sleep. I will generally lie down and close my eyes but rarely sleep, sometimes i only need 10min. Otherwise i will rest in front of the tv like homer simpson lol. i can watch tv and zone out, it will go in one ear and out the other, maybe a male thing. My wife can say, did u see that, i will be looking straight at the tv and miss it. i tell her im looking at the tv but not watching it, LOL. again maybe a boy thing.

    Have to agree with others that reading and typing on the computer can be tiring and not really resting. It can be hard to do just sitting there or lying there doing nothing.
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  13. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    To me, rest is what works for YOU. If that means a lot of sleep, meditation, lying supine, or listening to music that is all fine. For me it varies.

    One thing I do to rest that has not been mentioned is vary my activities. As a whole I am not resting, but my thinking brain might be resting watching a DVD, or I might play a computer game, then a different one based on different cognitive demands, though adrenaline based games are a big no. I break up what I am doing with small chores, like peeling one single vegetable as I slowly get ready to make dinner over some hours.

    I lie down a lot too, and sometimes sleep, broken up throughout the day. How much I do that depends on how I am doing.

    By spreading the mental and physical demand, changing it regularly, I can function far longer. Play one adrenaline-fest computer game though, even for a while, and I am stuffed. I have several on my bookshelf that are no longer loaded on my computer even though I like the game, as the result is too hard to take.

    At this point I often know what I need to do. My body tells me if its full rest, or if its a change of pace, or a change in type of activity. I go with that.

    They key issue seems to me to be that we have limited aerobic energy capacity. It takes time to recharge, to create more stored energy. So any one part of us needs to be rested if its been pushed, but the rest of us can do other things. When too much of our body has been pushed then its bed rest.
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  14. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    For me to rest I need to be lying flat or head supported by a pillow. During the day sitting up watching TV isn't a rest for me. Sitting with my feet on the floor is hard for me to do. Sitting with my legs up but upright and supported is the best way to carry out any activity.

    Mediation is work for me, also progressive muscular relaxation for me goes under exercise.

    This is a very individual thing and not something that's I've found a NHS "CFS" clinic to understand as they don't know about (as an example) heart problems that some people have lying down flat.

    I've personally not found NHS CFS clinic advice to be grounded in science so I wouldn't really question it too closely. If they are trying to explain pacing to you then they may mean splitting up your activity and rest. For me in this context it means lying down with no stimulus. Very hard to do for any length of time. I've found that lying and listening to Radio 4 helps balance it but sometimes just lying with nothing works best.

    You may need to experiment to find what works for you.
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  15. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senescent on the Illinois prairie, USA

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    I was dismayed to find that reading, even while lying down, is not rest for me. I can listen to NPR/BBC on the radio or relaxing music CDs.
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