Lupus Fatigue - Prioritizing Sleep one afternoon nap at a time!
That's what my nap and I were on last week. Somehow, I had slipped out of my daily routine of taking a 2 hour afternoon nap in order to stave off lupus fatigue. I was still fitting one in everyday. But it had slowly gone from 2 hours to 90 minutes to 60 minutes over the course of a few weeks. Last week, I hit rock bottom - three days in a row I took naps of just over 50 minutes each. Not enough time for me to recoup my rest, stave off lupus symptoms, or feel refreshed enough to function for the rest of the day. Yikes!!
Knowing I have to set an alarm for when I have to be up and out the door should help. Many days, it's to pick up the kids from school. Other days, it's a practice - softball, piano, or both. Still others, it's a PT session for my mom. Whatever the "deadline", I know I only have a certain amount of time to sleep. So why can't I get to bed more than 60 min beforehand??
I'm simply not prioritizing my health. I'm choosing accomplishment over prevention. I'm deciding "to finish" rather than "to preempt."I never intend for it to happen, but life's other priorities just keep getting in the way.
I think I can get away with it, so I push my limits. And it works...for a bit. Until it doesn't.
But before I know it, I'm going to push too far. My body won't be able to bounce back, and I'll have to put in waaaay too much work to get back to healthy, stable, and strong.
But not this time. The slippery slope to Flareville stops now. Because it has to. My health is too important. My longevity is too precious. I matter too much.
So here I go, back to allotting a full 120 minutes to take a nap. If I wake up after an hour and a half, so be it. I'll have a few extra minutes to do something productive. But the time will be there if, and when, I need it.
As with any lupus management plan, there are always going to be unforeseen circumstances that prevent me from getting the perfect nap - a lawn mower, a repair person, a sick munchkin. I've even written about the challenge of taking a nap before here, when my kids were young. But, as is always the case, I can't actively sabotage myself by not allowing enough time to rest in the first place!
Especially with the holiday season around the corner, I have to resist the urge to skimp on rest and risk a flare, simply because I had "too much to do." I have several consultant gigs coming up, a busy (fingers crossed) season of retail Pillbag sales ahead, plus my own personal hustle and bustle of the holidays. There's too much at stake not to be on my best behavior.
So here's to hopping back on the wagon. Am I perfect at managing life with lupus? Clearly not. Do I always choose wisely? Heavens no. But I am pretty good at realizing when I'm slacking off, and how I could do better. Setting boundaries for myself helps. Working within my limitations - like stopping midday to rest - helps me to thrive within the boundaries I've set, rather than merely surviving one day to the next. (There's a time and place for that, too, of course. Click here to read all the posts labeled "Flare" on this blog and you'll find loads on how to just make it from one flaring minute to the next.)
But today, I'm at this crossroads, presented with the choice to do better in order to live better. I say bring on my boundaries, so I can max out life with lupus to its fullest potential. That's really my prescription for living well.