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Pacing Tutorial

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This tutorial will teach you a powerful treatment for ME/CFS and fibromyalgia, one which may have a larger effect on your health than any medical treatment. It’s called pacing and it involves changing how you live your life.

If you’re wondering how altering your habits and routines can be transformative, the answer lies in the fact that ME/CFS and fibromyalgia are affected by how we respond to them, so how we lead our lives has a big effect on our symptoms and our chances for improvement.

Living outside the limits imposed by illness often leads to repeated cycles of push and crash. Pacing offers an alternative, a way to live a more stable and predictable life. With pacing, you can live your life according to a plan, rather than in response to symptoms, so you have a sense of managing your illness, rather than illness controlling you.

Benefits of Pacing

To summarize, the benefits of pacing include: 

  • Escape from cycles of push and crash
  • Lower symptoms and fewer symptom spikes
  • More stable and predictable life
  • Sense of control
  • Chance to safely increase activity level

Avoiding Post-Exertional Malaise

Pacing is also important for what it helps you to avoid: the suffering that results from overdoing. Living outside the limits imposed by ME/CFS and/or FM produces an intensification of symptoms called Post-Exertional Malaise (PEM). The key fact about PEM is that it is out of proportion to the overdoing, exacting a large price in forced rest for even small mistakes.

The Three Parts of Pacing

Pacing has three parts:

1 Define Your Current Limits (Energy Envelope)
The foundation for pacing is understanding your current limits. This includes limits on physical activity, and also mental activity, socializing, sense data, and stress. You’ll find tools for defining limits on the Finding Your Limits page.

2 Adapt Using Pacing Strategies
The second part of pacing is adjusting your life so you live within your limits. This is a gradual process, usually involving the use of multiple strategies. For details, see the Adapting to Limits page.

3 Expand Your Limits
If you pace consistently, you may be able to expand your limits, doing more without increasing your symptoms. For strategies and examples, see the Expanding Your Limits page. (And there are more examples on our Success Stories page.)

The effects of pacing can be transformative, but progress is gradual. Learning to pace requires discipline, patience, and time, but you can see benefits immediately from even a small change such as those you'll find in the tutorial, starting with Finding Limits.

Click this link for information on our Pacing Tutorial audio recording.