What Does Your Activity Balance Look Like?
Take the opportunity to review your activity balance when you have the time to step back from everyday life to reflect. Is there a balance in what you are doing, or do you need to reconsider your habits? What drains your energy, and what charges it?
Many people, even those without a chronic illness, experience life as a puzzle that is difficult to piece together. Having a rheumatic diagnosis, which requires a calmer pace, means it can be even harder to get life in order. Events and tasks that previously worked well for you now require more energy making planning even more necessary than before.
A personal pattern of activities
Both our essential activities and voluntary ones impact our health. Part of it is about how we do things, another involves how much we do. Similarly, we are also impacted by what we choose not to do. Striking this balance in everything you do—activities that are draining and activities that are energizing—is known as having an activity balance.
We all have our personal habits, needs, and interests, which create a pattern of activities called an activity pattern. Bear in mind that what drains or charges energy is individual and that a fun-filled activity does not necessarily replenish your energy reserves. That is not to say that you should refrain from doing what you enjoy—rather that it would be ideal to reflect on these activities and how they impact you. When you are mindful of how different activities impact your energy levels, you can find an activity pattern that helps you strike a balance.
The importance of recovery
One approach towards striking your activity balance is by placing equal importance on recovery and activities. But what exactly is recovery? It can be defined as the physiological recovery the body needs when we have either physically or mentally exerted ourselves. Allowing for recovery after exertion is essential to prevent harmful stress.
We typically find it easy to see the importance of balancing physical activity and rest. If we overexert ourselves physically, we usually get clear signals from the body that we are used to interpreting, realizing that we need rest.
However, it can be different when it comes to the body’s signals for mental fatigue. We need to learn to understand the signals and stop ourselves before exhausting our brains. Being able to rest after mental strain is important for everyone, but even more so if you live with a chronic disease which means your energy reserves are less robust.
What does your pattern of activities and activity balance look like? What do you do, and how often do you do it? And—perhaps most importantly—what do you choose not to do?