Recently we had the privilege of hosting two young men from Voices of Mobile when they were performing at our church. This group travels around for 10 weeks in the summer and performs at various venues. I tried to upload one of their videos from YouTube, but WP said the file type is not supported. If you’d like to see them perform, please check them out here. As often as possible, they stay in host homes overnight rather than in hotels. The two young men who stayed with us were absolutely delightful, and we enjoyed the short time we had with them.
Having someone (especially someone we didn’t know) coming to stay with us required a little extra work because, though I’d like to say our house is always company-ready, if I did say that, I’d be telling a big fat lie ha ha. It also got a little stressful on Sunday morning because getting ourselves ready, breakfast eaten, the dogs taken care of, and two college-age young men out of the house by 8:00 am is like herding cats. It was not an easy task, but we almost made it! We were only five minutes late, so that’s a win in my book. They didn’t have to perform until 9:30, so they got to the church in plenty of time.
All the extra activity and stress took its toll, but it was totally worth it. When we were buying our house, we prayed that our home would be a blessing to others as well as us, and when God presents those opportunities, we try to take advantage of them. It’s not always easy, but knowing that I can show the love of Christ to others simply by opening my home to them is important to me. Although there may come a time when I can’t do it anymore, right now, as long as I pace myself in the days ahead and give myself adequate recovery time afterward it’s not a problem.
That’s where pre-planned recovery days come in. Whatever we call those days when we have to take it easy, I’d guess that most of us with fibromyalgia have taken them when we’re having a bad flare, but I’ve found pre-planned recovery days are extremely helpful as well. Whenever I’ve engaged in more activity than usual, I go ahead and plan to take a recovery day the next day. This helps in several ways:
- It helps the body recover from the added stress that’s been levied upon it during the previous days. When we do more than our bodies are used to doing, we need to give ourselves added recovery time. This allows our bodies to do their repair work.
- It can give us something to look forward to when we find ourselves in a situation where we have to be more active than usual. Let’s face it, even with the best planning and careful pacing, sometimes life just happens and we may find ourselves having to do more than is comfortable for us. Having that recovery day to look forward to can help us get through the extra work we’re asking of our bodies.
- It can help us feel less guilty about taking a day off. Of course, we shouldn’t feel guilty for taking care of ourselves, but when it comes to not doing anything I know many of us do. Knowing ahead of time that we plan to take a recovery day can help change our mindset and help us accept it as a part of our self-care plan.
- Because it gives our bodies some extra rest, it has the potential to prevent a full-fledged flare. This isn’t always the case, of course – as you know, sometimes there seems to be no rhyme or reason to flares – but if it does have the potential to reduce the chances of one.
I also plan each Sunday afternoon as a recovery day – we stop for lunch after church, and we eat leftovers or sandwiches for dinner. I take my day of rest seriously. :o) That means I have at least one day of every week where I’m planning to do absolutely nothing. When taking these pre-planned recovery days, just as with a regular flare-induced recovery day, it’s still important to move around some to prevent the inactivity/pain cycle that can result from a day of no activity. Just getting up every hour or so and moving around the house can help keep your joints lubricated and your blood flowing to your muscles.
Adding pre-planned recovery days to my self-care plan has made a huge difference for me. It’s helped me find a balance between caring for myself and being able to do the things that are important to me, which can sometimes mean being uncomfortable for a short period of time. I know this may not work for everyone, but for me it’s been one huge key in giving me my life back.
Do you pre-plan recovery days? Have you found them helpful?