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List of low-energy activities appropriate for PWMEs

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by Patrick*, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. Calathea

    Calathea Senior Member

    I'm not sure I can really see the distinction between "useful" and "fun". I do divide things up in my mind, but it's an entirely personal thing and will depend on my moods and abilities. Indoor/outdoor is an obvious basic one, not that the outdoor list is likely to be that long. Perhaps another list for things which are next to mindless?
  2. CJB

    CJB Senior Member

    You just reminded me of a joke someone sent - Dogs have people; cats have staff.

    You're so right! Thinking like a cat is the absolute correct approach to CFS.
    WillowJ and ahimsa like this.
  3. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

    Logan, Queensland, Australia
    Hi SOC, the key is to play games that reduce the competitive requirement. Online MMORGs are worse than single player campaigns for many of these games, there is too much time pressure. In a single player campaign you can go at your own pace, start and stop when you want, and can choose the difficulty level. The adrenaline rush from intense combat does nothing for me - or sends me into a crash. So I use normal to low difficulty and just play for the fun.

    Its also important to avoid the category of game called shooters. Those are entirely about adrenaline. Some of us can handle them, but generally I think most wont be able to. I can play some, but not many.

    Bye, Alex
    L'engle likes this.
  4. SOC

    SOC Senior Member

    Maybe it only makes sense to me because I've been thinking about it lately. :D

    Now I know that I have 3 minutes of activity before I go anaerobic, I'm trying to figure out little things I can do that take less than 3 minutes OR are so low energy that I can do them from the bed or recliner. That's so much NOT my nature, that I've been struggling with it for as long as I've been ill. I'm used to starting a job and finishing it. My mind will simply not operate on doing things in miniscule pieces, or come up with very low energy chores. For example, if I try to do meal prep in small increments, I either forget to do important parts :eek: or I spend the whole day mentally poking myself, which is exhausting.

    I think making a list of low energy activities to inspire us to get the most out of our limited energy is a terrific idea. Thanks!
  5. L'engle

    L'engle moogle

    I've never played interactive RPGs. It looks fun but I wouldn't find it very relaxing. I've seen people hhave very creative group gaming experiences, which is great, but for me it would drain my limited cognitive energy.

    I play the RPGs from 15-20 years ago (super Nintendo era, when I was a 'kid', lol) I can't handle the new style 3D games very well but the 2D graphics are fine for me. Building characters and winning easy battles can be quite therapeutic, I find. It is also quite gratifying when your characters accumulate gold pieces simply by walking around and finding treasure chests. :)

    When my brain is half functioning, not quite good enough to do work or study but kind of wanting to stretch a bit, I might do something like rubik's cube and other puzzles (mega sudoku, tetris). With these too, though my mind can risk spooling away it's cognitive energy from other tasks. They are good mental training in themselves, though. I can gauge my cognitive functioning somewhat by what tetris score I can attain, lol. If I can barely get a few lines down, time to do something slower paced.

    If I'm in a different frame of mind I might try to practice easy language lessons or short readings in another language. It takes energy but can be very fun and gives your mind a bit of a change.

    When I don't have the energy to do these things, I can read, thankfully, or talk online. Odd times I am not well enough cognitively to read and I might lie down and watch something, though I find my attention span for shows and movies is actually worse than for reading, if there is any kind of plot. If I'm that tired, I tend to watch those home-buying shows or a travel show where the sequence of events isn't that important. I don't watch TV very much though, these days. When I was sicker I watched a lot more, as reading or anything else cognitive was difficult.

    I watch documentaries when I feel like thinking about something interesting or relevant, probably takes a bit more energy than reading fiction but less than doing work or puzzles.
  6. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

    Hi PW, great idea to do a list - you're very sensible to try to find low-key things to do to help you not overdo it. The better you manage your illness in the early days, the better the prognosis. Good luck!

    I have a couple of things to add.

    In the days when I was completely bedbound and living a long way from friends, I started up a "bookpact" with certain friends. We'd choose a book together (usually a different one for each friend), read it, and discuss it on the phone. It helped me keep something in common with my healthy friends whose lives had become very unlike mine and gave me a reason to be more thoughtful about what I was reading. It adds an extra dimension to reading a book. I think it's important, if you have the energy, to find a way for your entertainment not to be merely passive.

    Another thing - after years stuck in the house I've seen plenty of reruns of TV shows but now with the internet, you can sort of create your own TV channel, depending on your interests. I love new ideas so I dip into the TED Talks - 20 minute talks on interesting ideas by experts. I'm sure there's other stuff for people with other interests.

    Good luck with your list - I look forward to reading it!
    WillowJ and L'engle like this.
  7. Sparrow

    Sparrow Senior Member

    I've found the same thing. Turn based strategy, or RPG's with turn-based combat are MUCH easier than anything where I have to react quickly or can't take my time doing things.

    Once my mental stamina is a bit better, I would like to:
    -learn a language
    -write a novel (even a terrible one)

    I think goals and projects help to make me feel like I'm not "wasting" this time in my life.
    L'engle likes this.
  8. DaiWelsh


    From another computer game addict: avoid all real-time games (shooters, first person action, even real-time strategy). Turn-based strategy are good if they are your bag (Civilization is one of the all time great computer games for example and involves no (significant) adrenaline rush). I also find if I stick to games I am already familiar with on moderate-bad days so I don't have to concentrate too hard on rules/how it works. I would only try a new game on a good day as the cognitive effort is significant.

    I used to be an avid reader but these days I find it oddly far more effort than playing a (suitable) computer game, I suspect others may feel the reverse?
  9. hurtingallthetimet

    hurtingallthetimet Senior Member

    may have already been mentioned but my doctor told me to play puzzles to help keep memory...also even though i dont do it i think putting together picutre puzzles would be eyes are just too blurry though and get headache...

    though i cant go to movies anymore it use to be so much fun with kids and a big treat...we do watch tv and movies together at home which i always enjoy any time i can get with them..

    also some walking around neighbourhood i have to take pain medication to do it now and dont do it often but it gives me and my kids quality time together and i really enjoy it...
  10. penny

    penny Senior Member

    Southern California
    It's interesting how different we all are. At my worst I was pretty noise and light sensitive (kept the windows and blinds shut) but oddly could tolerate tv. That was basically my only activity for a while (oh and trying to read about treatments of course : ). I tended to favor watching marathons of the same show (yay, netflix!), very formulaic shows or shows I had seen before. The familiarity made it easier for me to follow, and was comforting. I don't know how many times I watched all the Eureka and Supernatural episodes!

    Once I improved enough that I was able to read again, I did the same thing with books and have been reading all of Agatha Christie's writing (easy, entertaining, familiar).

    I also spent some time making these paper flowers: They were originally meant to be made into garlands for my wedding reception, but I kept making them even after I realized that we needed to have a very small family event because of my health, and didn't need them for decorations. I found them oddly relaxing to make, very repetitive and soothingly pretty.

    I started a granny square baby afghan (inspired by this lovely picture, but it's still just a pile of colorful circles.

    I think part of what was important for me (with crafts especially) was not to feel pressured to actually finish, so it didn't become something stressful.
    sparklehoof likes this.
  11. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

    Sth Australia
    I find it to be the opposite. The more I work my brain and on my memory, the worst it got. Brain work is just another kind of exercise to me which can make my symptoms flare including making the brain fog and memory issues worst.

    When I was completely bedridden, there wasnt any activities at all I could do except look at things about my room. Watching TV and DVs or reading was not possible for me to do. I couldnt handle movement or sound.

    Nowdays my activities are
    - reading

    - watching DVDs. On my not as good days when I couldnt watch throu a whole move, I then tend to watch just an 30-45min episode of something on DVD eg Smallville. I can get in nearly any DVD I want from local library (if they dont have it, they usually buy it in for me).

    - on computer activities.. forums, researching, surfing net, playing games in which I dont have think fast in. I also love to make photo calenders.

    - Photography

    - gardening. Im recently taking this up more lately. I used to love gardening when I was well. Im now growing things in big tubs on my veranda just outside my house door as being out in the real garden is too much for me.
    Yesterday I got to eat a capsicum off of my tub grown plant by door :)

    - experiementing with recipes. I got to cook to eat anyway.. so "when" Im able to cook a proper meal, I turn this into a fun activity and try out new recipes.

    This also has a bonus as there isnt a lot of foods I can still eat so its great to find new nice ways to have the ones which I can.


    I myself fine sewing hard.. anything which uses fine motor skill I find hard still and can make my hands go into tremors eg sewing, writing something by hand are issues for me.

    I also had to give up my piano playing in the past due to it making my hands tremor.. all the things I used to play, Ive lost my ability to do so. I dont think I could do it even now due to the amount of concentation involved to follow music sheets and play at same time.

    I couldnt learn something like a language due to having huge memory issues when trying to learn anything new... I just cant absorb new info well.

    I wont have any more pets as during my bad crashed times, it bothers me as my pet may of starved (I had a cat who died.. I couldnt remember, nor was I capable to feed him so dont know if I killed him by him starving or if he died of old age or his own bad health).
    sparklehoof likes this.
  12. Patrick*

    Patrick* Formerly PWCalvin

    Thanks again for all the great suggestions. I wanted to drop back into this thread and link to the blog post that compiled all of your great suggestions and suggestions from PWME's on other sites.

    I imagine this list will continue to grow over the years, but it's a good start...
    xena and ahimsa like this.
  13. Ocean

    Ocean Senior Member

    Good post Calvin. I haven't commented on there, but I enjoy following your blog.
  14. cgstar4


    Thanks for all the suggestions. and link to the blog post that compiled all of suggestions
  15. pine108kell

    pine108kell Senior Member

    Just goes to show how symptoms are vastly different. A jigsaw puzzle would be agonizing torture, one of the least relaxing and most damaging activities I can think of--with the mental fatigue, agitation, overstimulation. Would make me physically ill with weak legs, fatigue, achy. Just agonizing. Same goes for playing musical instruments, though I never could do that anyway.

    Much easier for me to move around a little--do a little laundary, take a short walk, that sort of thing.
    taniaaust1 likes this.
  16. Sean

    Sean Senior Member

    Tying knots.

    Watching or listening to docos / comedy / movies online.
  17. John H Wolfe

    John H Wolfe Senior Member

    Hobby type activities are great, in my wellness protocol I suggest it's a good idea to:

    "Engage in work/’projects’ in free time during the day, energy permitting, to keep the brain engaged, feel productive, and to avoid boredom and having too much time to dwell"

    However there is a potential pitfall in posture - I believe behaviours that involve/encourage suboptimal posture may contribute to both enhanced symptoms e.g. back pain/discomfort, and, unfortunately also to (what I believe to be) core disease processes e.g. sensitisation and resultant inflammatory/stress responses

    I learnt how to fix broken iPhones last year but eventually realised that whilst it gave me something fairly low intensity (in the energy stakes) and relatively productive to do, being hunched at a desk for hours on end was not doing me any favours! Anyone doing similar 'tinkering' type activities, or indeed using computers (and especially laptops), perhaps ought to bare this in mind, in my view particularly:

    Hip flexion
    Neck flexion
    Lower vertebral compression

    Also a good idea to be mindful of associated respiratory habits e.g. costal vs. diaphragmatic breathing (if we are hunched the tendency is not to breathe properly: slowly/fully/deeply)
    sparklehoof likes this.

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