Friday, April 27, 2012

Breaking up the task, in the name of lupus

I've recently rediscovered the value of what I'll call "the break up" - taking a break in the middle of a task in order to complete said task without pain, suffering, or both.

I've known this concept was an essential part of living with lupus for a long time. In fact, about two years ago, I posted about my compulsion to work butter into a scone batter recipe all in one fellow swoop - when doing so caused me nothing but terrible shooting arthritic pain. I realized back then that if I tackled the dough- massaging process in steps - resting for a few seconds while my fingers temporarily recovered - I could have yummy, delectable scones WITHOUT provoking a paralyzing arthritic mini flare in my hands. 

And even before that, I realized that breaking up the day with a nap was essential to making it through each and every afternoon. I've blogged about my nap a lot - but it's only because it's probably made the single-most difference in my life with lupus. There were days when the only reason I could even get up in the morning was because I knew I had a nap coming to me in less than six hours. And there have been countless times when an event comes up in the evening that pushes me way past my bedtime...but with that nap in the middle of the day, I can hang like the best of them. And really - my nap allows me to have a rested, enjoyable, and active evening each and every day. Without that break in my day, I wouldn't be able to make it pass 6pm. Ever.

So my most recent integration of the "break up" concept took place in my weekly workouts. As I've mentioned before, I jog about three times a week, for about 15 minutes each time. I'm not setting records, and I'm not logging a ton of miles, but I'm very happy with my 1.5 miles, three times a week. 

That said, I recently decided to throw some interval training into the mix, as we've all heard that doing so can really boost your heart rate, increase the calories you burn, and enhance your overall performance during a workout. So I tried it...and I love it! I run for about 12-13 minutes...walk for 1 minute...then pick back up and run for another 4 minutes. So now - I've added 3 minutes to my workout, log an extra 1/4 mile + to my overall mileage per run, and feel great doing it! (This, of course, is my own version of interval training...please consult a health professional before adopting this or any exercise regimen.)

Can you think of any tasks that you could break up, making it easier on your body to complete? And maybe it's not a physical advantage you would gain , but a emotional one. I say any kind of adjustment that makes life with lupus a little more enjoyable and a little more bearable gets an a-okay from me!  

(Okay...cue the Pillbags intro.) 


2 comments:

Postdoc said...

Cleaning! I used to be pretty all-or-nothing when it came to cleaning my house... and then too often it was "nothing". :P I'm newly diagnosed with lupus, and have learned to break up the cleaning into 15 minutes a day or so, a la the FlyLady system: http://www.flylady.net/d/getting-started/ And boy, what a big difference that has made in my life! Not only am I managing to keep the house pretty clean, even while dealing with lupus fatigue, but it actually looks BETTER than it did before I was diagnosed! It's amazing, setting a timer for 15 minutes and just doing whatever you can do in that time period actually *does* make a tremendous difference over time! Who knew 15 minutes could be so powerful?! :) Some days I do more, some days I do less, but I always work in short spurts and don't worry about marathon 4-hour cleaning sessions anymore - and it still definitely makes a big difference!

Sara Gorman said...

Thanks for sharing! The flylady is definitely on to something, I agree. Glad you're managing the fatigue - figuring out how to make the most of the time you have is essential. Well done!