Listening to your body for recovery from M.E/CFS | CFS Health

Today I am going to remind you of a little system that can help to prevent some of the pushing and crashing; it ties in with the credit system.

Two videos that you must watch are

The CFS golden rules and Precautionary rest . Check them out as they are so helpful for anyone with CFS or something of that nature.

Today we are talking about the traffic lights in relation to your health!

Once you’ve established a baseline, and have the basics of your body’s comfort zone and limits, your body begins to give you signals, and we can compare them to traffic lights.

Every single day you get signals to go, slow down and stop, this is your green, orange and red lights.

We know what the red light feels like- once you’ve hit that you’ve pushed too far, and what you’ve done today you may feel tomorrow, it’s an immediate stop and you need to rest. A red light has a big range though, you never know how long the light will stay red, some of you can refer this to weeks in bed, or half a day in bed. Basically a red light is your body’s response to you ignoring the orange light (we all do it), or sometimes we know but we have to do it. This essentially means you’ve run out of credits, or in some cases, you’ve gone into negative credits (used more than you have).

The Orange light is easily recognisable but also easily ignored. This is your flare up symptoms, you’re starting to do too much and your body is trying to tell you not to. This could be anything from physical, social, emotional, spiritual, anything. This signal means you need to slow down. How you recognise the Orange light, is recognising when symptoms are coming in- headaches, brain fog, aches & pains, dehydration, dizziness or faintness, weakness, or an overall wave of fatigue. This is your signal to SLOW DOWN! Although you may feel like you’re not doing much, your body is trying to tell you it’s not up for whatever the task may be, or that you need to break it up or make it easier.

Why we ignore this (at times) is because we’re so used to feeling crappy, we’re used to the headaches and the pains, but we’re also used to pushing to get done what we need to do. But the biggest rule is knowing your limits, what you do in one day, you should not feel the next! This is where the precautionary rest comes in, or your credit system, you need to restore some credits to keep you going. When you slow down at the Orange light it means you don’t hit red, and we definitely want to avoid the red light as best we can!

Next you have the green light, and sometimes this one can be tricky too. Basically green means go, your body is okay to do the task ahead of you.

And I know sometimes we feel like we never actually feel okay to go. But if you pace yourself and stick within your baseline, you should be able to see/feel the green light. This means that today you can do what you need to do. A baseline can begin with you being able to wake up at the usual time, prepare/eat food throughout the day, maybe some dishes, and lots of rest, and then bed time. You’re baseline is what you can do in one day, that you do not feel the next, your baseline is your 10 credits.

But it also means, you need to have continuous progressive overload and adaptation. Why I say this-

A CFS body is fragile as we know, and we can only ease it into tasks and let it adapt and get comfortable with them. This is also where we see a green light, once your body has adapted to something, it will give you a green light to increase it or try something else. A good example of this is doing the dishes, to start with you could only do half before resting, then your body got more and more used to it, to eventually you being able to do 3/4 and then maybe all the dishes.

Sometimes it is hard to see the green light, but it’s something very important for you to try and learn. This just means your need to start listening to every sign or symptom your body may be giving you, and react accordingly.

Over the next week I invite you to implement the traffic lights into your day, observe which lights you’re hitting and when, and most importantly how often are you hitting the red lights? Once you’re more aware of your body’s traffic lights, you may need to increase or decrease certain tasks. A great way to do this, and something I get my clients to do (if you have the energy or lack of brain fog) I suggest keeping an activity/symptom journal, this can help show you how things made you feel, and can also show you if your body has a delayed response or an immediate response to over doing it. It can also make you aware of how many credits certain activities are actually taking: for instance you may feel a shower is taking 1 credit, when in reality with how you’re currently feeling, it’s taking 3.

Hope this will help you with your overall knowledge of your body and its limits and comfort zones!

Sending love

Raeya CFS Health Coach

Toby Morrison
Toby Morrison
At age 16 Toby was diagnosed with CFS. According to Dr Lionel Lubitz (head doctor at the Royal Childrens Hospital), Toby’s case of CFS was “the worst he’d ever seen”. Initially spending 4 weeks at the inpatient hospital program, Toby’s journey back to health was long and difficult, but he found a way and now dedicates his life to helping others achieve the same. Toby is the founder of the CFS Health Centre in Melbourne and has released a book on CFS