Conserve your energy using the 4 Ps
Everyone has experienced the challenge of trying to conserve enough energy to do the everyday things on our to-do list, and when you have arthritis, it can complicate matters by limiting the amount of energy you have and interfering with your ability to do them. every day. activities, work and enjoying that precious time with your family and friends. But, there are some pretty simple things you can do every day of your life to help you use your energy wisely. These energy saving techniques are called 4 “P’s”: pacing, planning, prioritizing and positioning.
- Rhythm: It is the key to helping you maintain your energy levels throughout the day. You will review your activities and break them down into small steps with alternating rest periods. Think about the steps you need to take to complete a task or activity, and then try to work on them in your own time and at your own pace. Don’t rush! Rushing is stressful even though it will finish much faster and you will have used more energy in the end than you really needed. Allow yourself plenty of time to complete the task, and don’t forget to take several rest periods in between. You may find that you actually have more energy for later. The correct way to control your pace is to learn to listen to your body so that you can determine what level of activity works for you. If you do too much activity, you will end up being overly fatigued or in too much pain, but too little can cause you to lose muscle strength and undo any conditioning you already have. Learning how much you can do before you get tired and stopping to rest will help you avoid depleting your energy supply completely and end up with some reserve. Learning to rest your mind and body is equally important, and if you’re worried about what to do next, you probably won’t get the full benefit of your rest time. You should try to keep your activities and rest times constant and automatic so that you always stay within your energy limits. Keeping a journal or journal, documenting your energy levels at different times of the day will help you see when you feel better and when you feel your energy levels are dropping. You should write down the activity you were doing when you started to feel your energy starting to decrease. This helps you learn what activities you can tolerate and you will begin to brainstorm some simple changes you can make to your daily routine to help you maintain your energy levels. The first thing you’ll want to do is break the task or activity into small steps. For example: let’s say today is laundry day, you can break it down like this; step 1- collect all the clothes; step 2: separate it into different loads; step 3 – washing and drying; Step 4: fold and hang the clothes and put them away. By washing your clothes in this way, you can rest after the first load has been collected, separated, and put on for washing and then drying. Then while the second load is being washed and dried, you can double the first load, you see, sitting doesn’t require as much energy as standing. Plus, simple changes, like delegating tasks to other members of your family, can leave you with more energy for other daily tasks.
- Planning: You need effective planning for a proper pace. You have to look ahead a day, a few days, or even a week in order to develop some kind of strategy to carry out your activities. Make a to-do list of things you want to do or do, that can be accomplished in one day so that you can plan the best time to do each activity. If mornings are your best time, then you should probably plan your most strenuous activities by time or if you have more energy after a nap, you may want to schedule that time to run your errands or do work activities that require you to be more physical or so you think a little more. However, you will need to plan your rest time at some point during the day in order to replenish your energy levels. Using a calendar or planner can help you schedule your activities during the week so that you are not doing all of your hard work in the same day. The first thing you need to do is look at all the things that you want to do or need to accomplish in a week, and in a way, rate them according to how much energy it takes to do each one, such as low, medium, and high. The second thing is to spread out your high-energy activities throughout the week so that you don’t do too many in one day and end up so exhausted that it will take several days to regain your energy levels. Remember that doing too many energy-consuming activities in one day can lead to a flare-up of arthritis or fibromyalgia that can take several days to several weeks to recover. When you keep a list of the things you want to accomplish, you can keep track of what you’ve already done and what you still have to do. This will give you a sense of accomplishment that is positive when you take a look at what you were able to accomplish. Also, remember that you will need to be somewhat flexible with your schedule because it will allow you to do activities that are enjoyable and that you might otherwise have missed because you were too tired to do them.
- Prioritizing: Learning how to decide what to do first, prioritize, can go a long way when you’re trying to conserve energy. It can also be one of the most challenging to master because it requires you to take a close look at all of your work, home, leisure, and recreational activities and then decide which ones are the most important, necessary, and even enjoyable for you. Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself when trying to decide which activities are most important to you.
- What are the most important priorities for me in my life? My work, household activities, or maybe my family and friends?
- Where do I want to direct my energy? What is the most important thing to me?
- How can I achieve the best balance between work and play in my life?
- How can I have more moments of rest and relaxation in my day that help me regain my energy supplies?
- Can I simplify my daily tasks to have more energy to spare at the end of my day to do the things I enjoy?
- Is there something I really have to do that can’t be delegated to someone else or someone else can help me with?
You’ll want to prioritize the most important activities and delegate those that are least important to someone else in your family. Delegating can be difficult if you are the type of person who has always had the attitude that you should do everything on your own, but if you approach it in a more positive way by realizing that you are helping to conserve your energy levels, it will will make it easier. Who knows, you may actually be helping others in your home or even your workplace, teaching them to accept responsibility. When you connect with family, friends, and neighbors to help you complete tasks at hand, such as taking your children to carpool activities, you may also be helping them learn to conserve their energy.
Positioning: When you look at how you position your body or your body mechanics, you may have other ideas about how to conserve your energy. When you look at how you position yourself throughout your day, you will be able to identify some ways to do your daily tasks with less energy, which can help you protect your joints from any undue stress. Here are some examples of techniques that you can introduce into your daily routine to help conserve your energy:
- Sitting instead of standing because sitting uses less energy from your body and reduces stress on your leg joints. Using a shower stool while showering or sitting down to get dressed can help reduce the energy you would otherwise use to perform these activities.
- If you must stand for a task to relieve stress and fatigue on your back, try resting one foot on a stool or inside a lower cabinet.
- Good posture while sitting and standing will help relieve neck, back, and shoulder fatigue. This involves keeping your ears aligned with your shoulders and your shoulders aligned with your hips, and making sure your head doesn’t lean too far forward.
- Organizing your work areas so that everything you need is within easy reach can help you avoid stretching, bending, or bending over unnecessarily. Having duplicate items around the house can help eliminate unnecessary travel between rooms. A cart that you have organized with the items you will need or a lightweight organizer basket, or a storage container that you can carry items in, are other ways that can help you avoid unnecessary stretching, bending and bending.
- Having your work surfaces at the right height for you can help promote good posture and reduce fatigue that comes from poor posture. You will want your work surface to be just at your elbow height and when you are sitting it should be just below your elbow height.
- To simplify your daily activities, try using devices that can help you perform those activities. Items like scopes, long-handled sponges, brushes and dusters, and jar openers are just to name a few that can help you when you’re trying to conserve your energy.
- Lastly, you will need to breathe during your activities. I know it sounds a bit strange, but there is a proper way to breathe so that you can maintain your energy levels and help you relax. To begin with, pay attention to how you are breathing and if your chest is moving up and down when you breathe then you are breathing badly, it should not move at all. Instead, you want your belly area to move. When you inhale, your abdomen area should expand, and as you exhale, your abdomen area should compress or go in. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth very slowly. For you women, think back to when you were in labor with your children and every time you had a contraction you were told to inhale just before and during it. It is the same concept. If you practice this breathing method and pay attention to how you are breathing during your activities, it will soon become natural and become a habit.
Occupational therapists are professionals trained to help you make these and other changes to the way you go about your daily tasks. If you have arthritis, an occupational therapist can recommend techniques and devices that can help protect your joints from excessive stress. They can also help you change your job and home to make them more manageable. Your doctor can recommend an occupational therapist if he decides you need this kind of help.
If you take the time to think about everything you want or need to do, it can be a bit overwhelming. But, if you can accept the fact that you will have some difficulties that are manageable ahead of you, then you will begin to make the changes in your daily life that can help you conserve your energy. Remember that the changes you make will improve your quality of life in the long run and you will feel in control of your energy resources.