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Does "pacing" help with chronic fatigue?

"Pace yourself!"

This is the kind of advice you might get from someone who loves you and is watching you intermittently thrive and crash.

Or maybe it's advice you've given yourself in an athletic race—or a professional or personal one.

"Pacing" is also a recommendation chronic fatigue syndrome and long-COVID patients receive from their doctors. It's a practice of proactively conserving energy by strictly limiting commitments and activities to avoid crippling flare-ups of fatigue.

Tawny Kross, D.P.T., a pain specialist in Durham, North Carolina told me that, by pacing, people can find the "Goldilocks zone" with movement and activity... a worthy goal that can be maddeningly difficult to achieve.

Being told to slow down—to anticipate and heed physical and psychological limitations—can be extremely frustrating, especially for people who are used to accomplishing a lot.

One of my clients with CFS likened pacing to palliative care—a frightening acceptance that all she can do is stay alive and try to maintain some quality of life. Her feelings about pacing make perfect sense and are common, not just for folks with fatigue, but for many others dealing with chronic illness.

In my experience as a coach, pacing can be an opportunity for folks who are struggling to get their footing. Once they're stable, they frequently find themselves in a better position to decide what comes next.

Realistically, most of us could benefit from finding our "Goldilocks zone"—spending just the right amount of energy each day, not too little, not too much.

If you'd like to know more about pacing, check out this week's Hey, Health Coach.

Quality of life isn't a bad place to start, after all. 💪

All the best,



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