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Hate doing nothing

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by melc23, Jun 23, 2015.

  1. melc23


    Can anyone help me understand how I balance activity and rest?
    I rest on settee in front of TV most days between 9am-3pm and spend a lot of time on computer, tablet or reading. Then I collect kids from school so have to be more active til they are in bed. Then I watch TV/read again until about 9pm, then bed.

    My symptoms fluctuate a lot and I rarely get good days right now. I've tried to properly rest for an hour every so often in bed with an audio book but I'm not good at it and resent the time I lose.

    I don't mind physically being inactive but find it hard not to keep my mind active. I'm just rubbish at doing nothing. People keep telling me to go to bed while kids are at school and then as soon as they're in bed but I'm just not that sort of person.

    Is it OK to do these simple mental activities from the settee each day or should I really be stopping all activity for periods each day?
    L'engle and Hutan like this.
  2. lansbergen

    lansbergen Senior Member

    If it does not cause problems I do not see why you should stop.
  3. Effi

    Effi Senior Member

    It depends on how much you need to concentrate in order to do these activities, or how highbrow the books or tv shows are. Some people (me included) crash just as much from mental activities as from physical. I too find it hard just to lay in bed doing nothing during the day (I can't sleep during day time), so I watch very lowbrow, slow tv. On a very bad day I'll follow the shows with my eyes closed. This keeps my mind busy but not so busy I crash.

    If you're not for lowbrow stuff you could try to pace your reading or tv watching. I for one know I can't watch an entire movie in one sitting, so I rest in between. I know this is a strange concept but it is what it is...

    PS: I've had to learn to abandon the idea that 'I'm not that kind of person'. I do get it. But sometimes the illness decides otherwise for us.
    SOC, L'engle, Sasha and 1 other person like this.
  4. Hutan

    Hutan Senior Member

    New Zealand
    @melc23 It sounds as though you are doing very well in a difficult situation.

    Perhaps have a think about how you can rest in that period from 3 pm until the kids are in bed. I find that if I can intersperse active periods with rest, I don't get PEM so much. So maybe you could prepare most of the dinner slowly and quietly in an hour while the kids are at school and then sit for a while with your feet up when the kids are home. An advantage of that is that, as well as not having long periods of activity that might trigger PEM, you don't end up with long stretches of inactivity that are, well, boring.

    I have also found it useful to monitor my heart rate and blood pressure. Over time, that has helped me understand when I'm not so well and need to rest more. For instance I know my normal heart rate when I wake up. If my heart rate one morning is higher, then I try to rest more during the day. And if my heart rate gets high during the day, then it is sort of like permission to lie down and rest properly.

    If you are actively monitoring how you are feeling, then you are the person who knows best what is right to do. I find that what is right to do can vary quite a bit from day to day and month to month.
    WoolPippi, SOC, Effi and 2 others like this.
  5. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

    What about resting in shorter bursts - say, 15 mins each, that add up to an hour?

    The hard truth of this illness is that if you don't invest the time you need in resting, you'll lose a lot more time by making yourself worse. It's a very hard lesson to learn and takes most people years. :hug:
  6. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards Senior Member

    You might feel better rotating activities, do 20 minutes of something lying down, 15 minutes of something more active, have a bit of a rest in silence, etc.

    You'd have to figure out how much you can do for how long yourself. I've found it helps to have a structure to your day that you can keep to, to keep symptoms under control. Although if you're dealing with kids that will make it harder to be a master of your own time.

    And yeah, everyone resents the time we lose, that's just part of being ill. Don't make the mistake of thinking you have a choice - it may appear so at first but things soon get out of control if you don't rest when you need to.
    Effi, Hutan, Sasha and 1 other person like this.
  7. sarah darwins

    sarah darwins I told you I was ill

    Cornwall, UK
    Hi melc,

    You might just like the “constructive rest” idea that’s used by teachers of the Alexander Technique. The AT is really good for “busy mind” types (I’m another) who struggle with any form of resting which feels like, um, resting.

    I’ve been getting some coaching over the last year by a friend who has taught the AT for many years. It’s definitely helped me cope much better and become more productive than I was. It’s not a treatment or therapy, but a tool for just functioning better within whatever limitations you have. Not wasting energy, being more efficient is a big part of it.

    A one-to-one lesson with a good, experienced teacher of AT can be a revelation (and weirdly emotional). There’s none of the “just relax” stuff, to which some of us don’t respond well at all (I went through a period of trying guided mindfulness tapes a while back and had to quit when I found I was getting increasingly angry at the people telling me to relax!). With AT, even when you’re resting, you’re attending to it, doing something. Since you're “rubbish at doing nothing”, it might work well for you :)

    You can find stuff about "constructive rest" and the AT generally online, although it really doesn't lend itself well to verbal description. If you're in any position to try a session with a teacher (a good one) that's way better.

    On a sidenote, I find television — any television — pretty much the opposite of restful. It wears me out.
    WoolPippi and melc23 like this.
  8. Soundthealarm21

    Soundthealarm21 Senior Member

    Dallas, TX

    Sorry to hear about your frustrations. Trust me, we understand here. As far as mental activities go, if they don't make you feel worse later on then there is no harm in doing them. However, if you're forcing yourself to do them and you feel worse afterwards then it's probably best not to. I've never had any crashes from mental activities. I can stay on a computer, watch tv, read a book, etc all day with no issues as long as i'm resting physically. You might be like that as well, but you might not and you'll just need to figure it out.

    Also as others have mentioned, pace yourself if it does become bothersome. Maybe read a few pages and then rest and then continue. That sort of thing.
    melc23 likes this.
  9. Sherpa

    Sherpa Ex-workaholic adrenaline junkie

    I recommend Dr. Myhill's book on "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome" - lots of good info about resting, what constitutes rest, how to increase activity
    melc23 likes this.
  10. L'engle

    L'engle moogle

    I have different types of activities depending on how low my mental stamina is. I can certainly crash from studying or reading a difficult book or playing a demanding game. But, making your mind do totally nothing is sometimes very hard because your mind can wear itself out even without stimulus if your are lying there resenting that you have to do nothing (kind of weird but maybe it makes sense?).

    Reading simpler books such as young adult books, or playing easy games, watching shows that aren't too complicated, all can be good options when your mind won't be completely at rest but can't handle much. I try to avoid things where I'll end up reading about politics or world news as it is stress inducing.

    Also there are net pages like stumble upon where it just keeps finding pages for you to look at based on the interests your enter. You can get it to send you easy things like travel blogs/pictures and art/architecture pages.
  11. Kati

    Kati Patient in training

    @melc23 have you considered having a hobby which you could take and leave as you please? something that keeps your brain busy but that does not cause you to crash?

    I also like to keep myself busy, somehow. i think it's important.

    i have tried a few hobbies, including teaching myself how to crochet, drawing, quilting, sewing, bird watching, and more. And when I am not well enough to do these hobbies, I look them up on the internet! Many of these I could do 10-15 minutes at a time and go rest for a while.

    As long as you do not overdo, having hobbies is allowed.

    Best, Kati
    WoolPippi and sarah darwins like this.

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