flowers grass meadow time

Why pacing is so important.

“There was a little girl, with a little curl,

 Right in the middle of her forehead. 

When she was good, she was really, really good

And when she was bad,

She was horrid.”

picture of a little girl, pacing ourselves

Table of Contents

1.pacing ourselves

That’s me in a nutshell, in particular with knowing how to pace myself. When I’m on a roll, there’s no one with more energy than me.  When I’m not, I’m like a limp dishrag.

One of my biggest challenges is learning to pace myself. I used to think I was one of the few with this problem. But every friend I have, every person I know suffers from the same dis-ease. I write it that way, dis-ease, because it really is a case of not being at-ease with ourselves.

a. speed has nothing to do with it

Pacing has nothing to do with personality types. Some people are very “quick”. They move fast, they talk fast, they think fast.  They’re just fast.

Then there are those who move slow, talk slow, think slow. They’re just slow.  Don’t be deceived. The turtle-types are not inherently better at pacing than are the jack-rabbits. It just looks that way.  Pacing has much more to do with what’s going on inside than what we see on the outside.

Why is pacing even important? How do we realistically pace ourselves in a healthy way?  pacing ourselves is especially important when it comes to chronic health conditions.

2.why pacing is important.

Pacing ourselves is important because if we don’t pace ourselves, we open ourselves to severe mood swings which are detrimental if you suffer or are prone to depression. We run too hard, we play too hard, and when it comes to a sudden halt, we crash. Having some margin in our lives is good for everyone. 

As you know from last week’s post, we had a very stressful week that week. We were home two days when we had company for a week. I tried to pace myself but it was almost impossible. There were a couple of days though that I just called it quits and slept for an hour or so, explaining that if I didn’t slow down, I was going to be much fun.

None of us function well when we maintain a hectic pace. Our emotions will reflect this frenzy and will be all over the place.  Our emotional swings are much like vertigo from which many people suffer but in this case, it’s our emotions that get “dizzy” not just our head. It’s never wrong to take a time-out. how do we pace ourselves well? 

a. pay attention to your body

This is easier said than done. If you’re like me, you don’t know you’re getting tired until you are already exhausted.

So my first tip to pace yourself is: no matter what you are doing but especially if it’s physical labor, take five or ten minutes every hour to just stop. Walk away and do some stretches. Drink some water.

If it’s doing something sedate, the same principle applies but instead of relaxing do just the opposite, do some exercise, walk around the house, move. When I’m working on a book, I have a hard time with this one myself. But I know I have to do it so I follow the Pomodoro method of writing.

b. pay attention to your feelings

I can’t cover all bases but a jumping off place might be in recognizing the connection between what we’re doing and how we’re feeling.  

Think about the above mentioned “dizzy” emotions. We can be insanely busy for a period of time and still be at a comfortable pace within. It’s not the busyness as much as how we respond to it.

At other times, we can be physically inert for a while but be running at top speed within. Our minds are busy with a thousand things as we plan

It isn’t so much what we do as it is how we listen to our bodies and our feelings and respond to what we do. We are all going to find ourselves at one extreme or another at times. It’s how we pace ourselves overall that is important.

my own example

During the last year of my mother’s life, there was nothing routine about my schedule. But for the most part, I settled into a pace I knew was healthy for me.  Sometimes it felt really selfish but I knew that if I were going to be available for the long haul for the people that I care about, I had to take care of me. Sometimes it was all about me.  

I made this little craft just to remind me that it was OK to put myself first when needed.

small tray/ words ME glued on with scrapbook paper/liking ourselves

In case there are some of you who balk at this idea and think I’m really selfish, I urge you to read the gospels. You will find Jesus often took time for himself when the pressures of his ministry were too great.

4. evaluate your expectations

Could it just be that we have a hard time pacing ourselves, simply because we try to do too much. Or we simply calculate that something will take less time than it does. I have a funny story that emphasizes this.

My mom liked to watch decorating shows, you know when they redo a room in one hour. When I would share with her my husband and I were tackling something, she could never understand why it took us so long. And we are very fast workers.

Finally, I explained to her that none of this was done in real time. I don’t think she ever got it. We still laugh about that every time we start something. “Hey, honey, it will only take us a few hours,” we tell each other.

a.think through your tasks

I am one of those people of overschedule. It’s absolutely one of my failings. I have found that having a journal (I follow the BUJO method) really helps. Sometimes, I still plan for more than I should but I’m getting better at it all the time.

So think through your tasks. Do they all have to be done? Sometimes, they do.That ‘s just life but often they don’t. It’s good to think through your list and ask yourself if you’re doing some things more than you need to.

5. pacing ourselves highly individual

What is well-paced living for one person may not be well-paced for another. If you will start to pay attention to your emotions you’ll know for yourself what pace is best for you. I’m not suggesting you trust your emotions. Our emotions can be seriously misleading. Mine certainly have been on occasion.

What I am saying is that we simply pay attention to our emotions. They can be a good indicator of how we’re pacing ourselves.  When our emotions are all over the place and we feel “dizzy” inside, we are usually out of sync with what is good for us.

When I sense I’m out of sync for me, I try to regain my footing. For me, it’s often remembering my favorite scripture. “Be still and know I am God.” Psalm 46:10.

Sometimes I take each word and concentrate on it. I might repeat it throughout the day to remind myself I need to “be still”.

Sometimes, I might breathe deeply and slowly.  I might take a brisk walk or have a cup of tea. read. Praying, meditating. Sometimes I indulge myself. Only to a point. Otherwise, I have guilt feelings to deal with.

Take some time and ask yourself what works for you to keep you even-keeled. What can you do to live your life in moderation? Have you ever experienced “dizzy” emotions? The answers are waiting for you. The answers to most things are waiting for us if we seek them.

When I write, I used the Pomodoro method I mentioned earlier. I wrote today for the specified amount of time and then got up and did something entirely differently. That could be something you could try throughout your day.

6. pacing is spiritual

God expects us to pace ourselves. Didn’t he? Six days of work and then one day of rest. And it doesn’t matter if you think it was a twenty-four hour day or not. God rested. God brought Moses help because Moses was doing too much as well. The help came from Jethro his father-in-law who suggests that Moses assign some cases to other people. This same court hierarchy exists today.

Jesus called twelve disciples to help him.

We are to take care of ourselves physically so we can be of use to God.

God bless and have a great day.