Monday, 2 May 2016

What is a low energy activity?

If you'd have asked me that 10 years ago  I'd probably have said watching TV, having a shower, reading a book, doing homework, playing on the PlayStation. I'd also have said high energy activities were walking to school, going on the dance mat, walking into town, playing sports etc.

But I'd have been wrong; or at least I'd be wrong about what a low or high energy activity is for a person with chronic illness.

You see for someone with chronic illness even simple tasks can be classed as a high energy activity. Walking from one room to another. Sitting up for ‘long’ periods (sometimes a long period can be as short as 5 minutes). Showering. Dressing. Watching TV. Having a conversation. Using a computer. Drawing, writing, painting. Studying. Making a cup of tea. Making a quick snack. Knitting. And so much more.

Therefore low energy activities are hard to come by; listening to music, colouring in a colouring book, watching a DVD you've seen a thousand times before, texting a friend, lying out in the sunshine, listening to a TV show but not watching it. It's hard to think of much else. If you have any suggestions please leave a comment!

This makes managing energy levels incredibly challenging; when most activities can be classed as requiring high energy it can be difficult to fill the day. Although it's possible to do more than one high energy activity a day, in fact it's often necessary to do so, it requires significant rest periods between them.

And by rest periods I mean complete rest. No stimulation. Deep, meditative breathing. Lying down but not going to sleep. Perhaps listening to some gentle music.

Managing a life with such limited energy while carrying out simple everyday tasks, let alone having some fun and achieving what some people wouldn't even think about, is incredibly difficult. But for many of us it's necessary. I hope by writing this it helps people understand just how difficult it can be to manage activity levels with such limited energy.