Sometimes A “Sick Day” Is Necessary, Even If You Are Already Chronically Ill

I’m a huge fan of pacing. It’s number one on my list of key chronic illness/ pain management strategies.

Pacing doesn’t remove symptoms or take all my pain away. It does help to reduce some discomfort and reduces the risk of me causing an escalation of more crippling issues.

Well, usually it does that!!

My Normal Daily Pacing Routine

Being permanently disabled and medically retired, I have a very set and very strict daily pacing routine. If I try to change it, even slightly, there is always consequences.

So without boring you with every detail, the high level overview of my plan looks like this:

  1. Wake up and take my medication;
  2. Stay in bed for 30mins to check my forum, emails etc while waiting for meds to work;
  3. Have breakfast.
  4. Do some chores (eg: light dusting, load dishwasher) 20 mins max;
  5. Make hubby and I morning coffee…..sit and chat for 30 mins;
  6. Clean up coffee cups etc;
  7. Lie down for an hour;
  8. Get up, make bed and get dressed for the day (this is around 12pm);
  9. Unload dishwasher;
  10. Make cup of tea and sit in my lounge chair;
  11. Hubby makes us lunch and we’ll watch a favourite recorded TV show for an hour;
  12. Clean up after lunch;
  13. Go to my office and pay bills, check emails and forum etc (30 mins max as the pain is too much in this position);
  14. Have a cuppa with hubby. We’ll often sit in the courtyard;
  15. Lie down for an hour on my bed. I use this time to write;
  16. Get up and sit in my armchair while hubby cooks dinner. I continue to write or work on my forum, scheduling segments or chatting with members or my admin team online;
  17. After dinner I shower and am in bed by 8pm. Hubby joins me in the bedroom and we spend the evening watching TV or a DVD, chatting together and I’ve aways got one eye on my forum.
  18. Lights out around 11pm.

It really couldn’t be more paced. I’ve had to completely overhaul my need to achieve a week’s worth of activities in a day. That was my old life. This is my new life.

If I have a medical appointment or we want to attempt a pleasurable outing, I have to rejig the whole day to have any hope of making it happen……that’s a whole other story!

Any Slower I’d Stop Completely

There we have it. Truer words have never been spoken.

There are some days when even my paced approach to living isn’t enough.

There are some days when I simply can’t push through the small active periods of my day.

I have to admit I really do hate those days. It’s like my body digs its heels in and says, ” Where do you think you’re going? I don’t think that’s going to happen today. I hope you have another plan!”

How can I possibly come up with another plan, when I pretty much live at a snail’s pace in four walls in an “upmarket hospital ward”…(aka my home)?

Pacing The Pacing

There is only one possible plan…pace even more.

Is that possible?

Well, yes apparently it is. I seem to be able to do it when I literally don’t have a choice.

It’s not fun but it’s essential. So, in stark contrast to my normal “active and adventurous” life, ( yes, sorry that was a hint of sarcasm), here is my “pacing the pacing” routine:

  1. Wake up and take medication;
  2. Have breakfast in bed (thanks hubby) and check my forum, emails etc;
  3. Attempt to get up. It’s at this point reality kicks in;
  4. Collapse in my lounge chair;
  5. Try to get up to make morning coffee…fail miserably;
  6. Realise it’s just not going to happen today;
  7. Feel disappointed but very quickly decide it’s a full on writing and resting day. Could be worse;
  8. I’ll throw comfy day clothes on ( throw is obviously a massive exaggeration!);
  9. I’ll rotate between resting in my lounge chair and bed but I’ll need to spend most of the day on the bed;
  10. I’ll shower around 4pm, get into bed properly and spend the rest of my day/night there (including all meals).

Take a Sick Day

Despite being a little “tongue in cheek” my important message is that there are days, when living with chronic illness, you have to accept you need a full on “sick day”.

If you were healthy and working, you would take the occasional sick leave day. You’d have no choice.

This is no different. There will be days when we can’t function at our “normal” chronic illness pace. Days when we need to take a “sick day” from our chores or other commitments.20190205_162515_0001.png

I’ve even had days when I’ve had to call in sick to my Doctor. Sounds bizarre doesn’t it but it’s true. That conversation goes something like;

“I’m too sick to see Dr xx today, sorry I’ll have to try another day!!

Don’t feel like a failure if you have to pace your pacing. It’s just a blimp, a glitch. You may get away with only taking one sick day or it might be a case of needing a week of them.

The important point is, the sooner you start “pacing the pacing”, when your body gives you the knowing signal that all is not well, the sooner you will get back to your normal level of paced activities.

I’m trying to convince myself of this, as much as I am anyone else. I know it’s not easy but it’s essential if we want to navigate this chronic illness life in the best state possible.

Take care

Sam xx

Bible Verse

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11 v 28 (NIV)

If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding & friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic & complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.

I’m also a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page

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WEGO Health Award 2018 Nominee

17 thoughts on “Sometimes A “Sick Day” Is Necessary, Even If You Are Already Chronically Ill

  1. I think I needed to read this today after feeling so frustrated with my body not wanting to do what I wanted it to (which was my already ‘paced’ routine). You’re right that sometimes we need to pace the pacing, and accept that. The result of pushing yourself isn’t worth it sometimes, not unless absolutely necessary. It’s also fascinating to read what you ‘usual’ days include (I’m so nosy)!
    Brilliant post, Sam! 🙂
    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your pacing schedule Sam !
    Even after years at home, I’m still waiting to ‘get all the things done’ in the manic fashion I used to when I got mad enough at the state of things……but, I got mad and then weary then would crumple, spending months despondent at the mess.

    Your schedule may be just the time-energy balance that can help me make the most of this ‘new’ way of life !
    ♥ Thank You ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you found this helpful Lisa. I really hope you can find a pacing routine that is just perfect for you. It’s not easy to evolve from wonder woman to an extra slow snail. It’s taken me a long time to work it all out and I still have hiccups along the way. Just remember you are still wonderful, even as a snail. Lots of love 💞💞


      1. Aww, I Love that Sam !
        From crazy buzzybee ….. now comes Lisa the Wonder Snail ! Lookout housework, I’m coming at you ! ♥^-^♥ I’m so glad I ‘know’ you, here in Internet land. From my very dark days your kind words and sharing has helped Me . Now I’m a bit better trying to find a way to function, You’ve helped again .
        I’m keeping this to reflect on when i find myself “waiting for the energy” instead of doing 5 or ten minutes of something here and there.
        Thank you Sam
        You are very much appreciated

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this! I have to remind myself DAILY to rest, otherwise I would run myself out the door. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to have a chronic illness involved in your daily life, but props to those who DO take their time to rest.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love this Sam – you made me giggle!! Whilst “walking” our very ancient dog up the road to my mum’s last night, I definitely thought to myself “any slower we’d stop completely”, although I’m not sure who was slower me or the dog – hubby had to pull us both along! Then pacing the pacing went out the window as yours truly had decided “no, I don’t need the wheelchair, I feel ok” – so we got halfway home (we really do live in the same road!), I lost the feeling in one foot and then dislocated the other knee. I saw the funny side – hubby not so much…..having a “sick day” today. Fab post – sharing, Claire x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think sometimes unless someone has experienced a situation for themselves, it’s almost impossible for them to relate. The general population see Drs as a place to go to get a cure and a quick fix, something those of us living with chronic illness know isn’t ever likely in our situation. Also most of us are immune compromised and Drs surgeries can be “deadly” places for us at the best of times. xx


  5. This is such a great article! I wish that I had read it when I had first been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. There have been many days where I have been so very frustrated when even my pacing doesn’t work. You are right though that it does take planning to be productive and manage pain levels. I also appreciate that even plans must be laid aside if there is a particularly bad day. I have dealt with guilt from taking a sick day, but you help me to see that I am taking care of myself for the future. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Elizabeth, I am just so pleased my article both resonated with you and encouraged you not to feel guilty about looking after yourself. Self care with chronic illness is vital if we any hope of living the best life possible. Thanks so much for reading. Take care xx


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