I can allow for three days grace, through trial and error I have found the magic number for me.
It is 3.
My specific window of tolerance for not following through with my self care baselines is three days. I’ve deemed it my three days grace.
This means that I know that if I am feeling unwell, and need to take a break to process emotionally, I can comfortably allow myself three days grace. Three days to process, feel and heal through whatever I am processing. I can release myself from all of the super hero shit I usually manage to pull off.
Let it go for three days.
From experience… trial and error, and practice.
On about the third day of lacking responsibility for progress is when the anxiety- depression concoction that is cptsd starts to become intolerable and too challenging to ignore. The mom guilt, the regular guilt, the not enough stuff, all that comes to the forefront if I skip out on the self care for three days.
Three days. That’s how much grace I allow myself.
That’s it. That’s how close to burn out my body still is as I pace my way through and level up by clawing back at my energy levels. Some of us are only days or hours away from burnout, and some of us are in the thick of it with a side of fatigue and the bitter taste of the last two years of the world being on fire have us all in the same burnout boat.
Three freaking days is all it takes to alter my mood and turn me into a #hotmessexpress! My hormones go haywire, and the system initiates a stress response, immediately followed (for me) by a trauma response cascade.
Any more than Three days of the emotional guilt rollercoaster plus the emotional considerations that chronic illness is suffocating my life those thoughts and feelings come back in three days. With the stress of it all… back some of the symptoms that I loathe, like nerve sensitivity, and widespread inflammation, pain, tension headaches, tightness, ibs, nausea, all the fun grief spiral stuff. Full blown central nervous system temper tantrum symptoms, also known as centralized sensitization syndrome symptoms begin for me in three days.
All become very prominent, and increasingly more uncomfortable if I am not meeting my baselines for self care.
This is because my baselines literally keep the symptoms away, because I have designed them specifically to regulate my central nervous system. I use trauma informed self care practices.
I’ve designed my life and my baseline routines on purpose; to meet my basic needs first. On the daily I manage my symptoms and create opportunities to grow.
I utilize my routine for self care that I use to manage my symptoms as medicine. I had to incorporate pacing I’ve taken all of the information that I have received from the professionals that I have encountered and I cultivated their recommendations into a lifestyle that reflects my values and it allows me three days grace, which for me means : the freedom to rest when I need it- without causing issues with my other conditions. I put the advice into practical practice into my life, and had no choice but to learn pacing as part of my post traumatic growth strategy.
With patience and dedication I see results, more and more every single day.
Pacing, and learning it, and respecting it like the delicate bomb that it is is integral to healing success. Pushing too hard makes me crash, not pushing enough keeps me in my anxiety and depression symptoms. It feels like it takes precision and dedication to find this sweet spot.
For those of us who struggle with people pleasing and perfectionism, having the ability to give ourselves grace and space to rest is against beliefs that we have held for a long time! Learning the delicate art of pacing has tested and tried me like no other challenge this far!
Now that I have a grasp on my pacing needs, I am gifted this grace.
I don’t always have to be “on” and feel the weight of my perfectionism on me – this gives me some space to breathe and just be present.
Mindfulness, trauma awareness and authenticity all together hold space to create Chronic wellness for the win! But it is pacing that moves you forward. The seemingly insignificant intentional efforts in my self care routine keep me on pace. One day at a time I lean on my trauma informed self care, and I grow…. Slow as molasses it feels like, but it’s better than not moving at all. That is pacing.
That’s how powerful self care in this way is, without it- my symptoms return for me in 3 days. With self care, they are reducing on pace with my healing practices. ❤️
5 small acts of self care each day keep my complex ptsd symptoms manageable for me. 5, that’s it. And they are mostly things I need to do anyway! Like shower, and walk. If I can’t do 5, I do 3, if I can’t do 3 I do 1. If I can’t even do one I probably need a date with my therapist! ❤️ and those are simply my baselines, my own gauge for wellness, that I created, for me, by me, out of love
Our bodies thrive in consistency and routine because our brains love predictability. Predictably provides us with a sense of safety. When we become consistent with how we take care of ourselves and how we love ourselves, our bodies start to come alive and flourish because of that consistency. When we are providing ourselves with consistent self love, affection and attention to our needs are met. Having our needs met equals safety. This is what I call the rejuvenation-advantage. This safety heals your cells because your central nervous system is properly regulated, and can remain out of trauma response cycles.
Safety in this sense brings your entire system out of reactionary responses that mimic and replicate your survival mode responses, and bring you back into what is called a window of tolerance.
When we meet our own needs first, we expand the window of tolerance for everything; including other peoples’ bullshit. We are more accepting and tolerant.
When we really do the work that everyone talks about and get to a place of truly loving and appreciating ourselves, we see more clearly what we hadn’t seen before.
We see how we weren’t meeting our own needs, and we ensure they get met, by meeting them ourselves first!
I have my three days grace, as a safety net. I am grateful to have it.
The truth is that I prefer to feel better, I prefer to do those self love basics because my body is counting on me for consistency now. I prefer the discomfort of growth and I choose to pace myself through growth.
Self care is my wellness plan, and I am grateful to have three days grace if I need them.
There was guilt around resting for me, and this helped me place my need for resting in line with my desire to expedite growth for myself.
I like this balance. I thrive in this consistency. I’m so grateful for this knowledge, it eases so much of my chronic illness management stress.
I learned a long time ago that you can’t heal in the same conditions you were hurt in, and you can’t heal in chaos… you’ve got to grow through it.
Knowing that I have three days grace has kept me headed in the direction of health, with less crashes into ptsd, it truly is three days grace.
Many people are so burnt out and desperate for their basics that they have lost their grace trying to scrape together what they really need. We lose our grace when we lose our patience.
Do you know how many days grace you have?
It’s a good answer to find for yourself. It saves me so much chasing to know and understand that I’ve got three days grace, and accept that as my pace.
I wish you wellness and grace as you navigate your pacing. Work on your routine, find your baselines and grow from there. Understanding pacing is a key to understanding how to motivate yourself. The pace of my pace nearly drove me mad! This takes time. Pace yourself, embrace the journey.
I am regarded as a very patient person, but the task of pacing tested me like no other! Just keep moving forward to find your grace.
2 thoughts on “Three Days Grace; the fine art of pacing.”
Love this Breanna. Thank you for the deep work you are facilitating.
Leo, I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Thank you.