What is pacing and why am I writing about it?

To me, pacing is a skill set that requires acceptance and practice! It has been an essential skill set for me to use in helping me get through a day, so I wanted to share in case this helps anyone else who is struggling.

What is pacing? How does it relate to my heart failure journey?

First, to me, pacing is about being purposeful and realistic in how I use my energy.

This allows me to have the energy for the activities I want and need to do. However, I will say that putting this skill set into practice also required acceptance because a part of this is being able to prioritize, which inherently means that certain things are declined.

I can no longer be on the go all day, and there are a limited number of activities I can do every day. And I was diagnosed at 35! So this was not easy to accept given that it makes me out of step with my peers and partner.

However, making these smart choices allow me to more fully enjoy the things I can do throughout the day and live my life with purpose, which is a win in the mental battle against heart failure.

Think about reframing it to realize that you are not missing out, you are making choices so that you can do the things that you really want to do and feel like you are in control of your life instead of heart failure controlling you.

Pacing myself throughout the day

Here are a few things I think about when pacing:

Bake in time for rest between activities.

Sometimes even just putting your feet up and being by yourself can be helpful. Do not wait until you are out of energy to rest; alternate rest periods with activities so you can get more done. Listen to your body as well, and be willing to adjust if you might need more rest on a particular day.

Be realistic.

This is a big one, especially going back to acceptance.

Be realistic about the amount of energy an activity requires. Walking around a zoo, for example, will take much more energy than running to a grocery store. And weather impacts this as well.

Sometimes you might need an accountability partner to help remind you of reality. Listen to them! Remember you no longer have unlimited energy and when you are done, you are done; your body does not have the reserves it used to have.

Get creative.

Let's say you like to entertain but planning and executing a dinner party can be tough for many reasons. Perhaps brunch or a potluck is better, and if you have a partner maybe they can entertain solo and you come down 2/3 of the way through to be there for the after part of dinner and dessert?

It may not be ideal, or what you used to do, but is it enough?

Saying no is ok!

Whatever it is, I am sure there will be another chance to do it!

Play the long game.

If you have stuff going on next week, think about what you are doing in the days leading up to it as well.

Do you practice pacing in your heart failure journey?

I hope this helps. Does anyone else practice pacing in their lives? How has it positively impacted you?

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.