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Chronic fatigue - the 20 percent rule

Following on from my post yesterday, one useful thing I picked up from GET is never to increase the amount of activity you do by more than 20%. It worked something like this for me:

- you establish a baseline of activity that is OK for you. This involves pacing yourself, living within your energy limits.
- let's say this involves a 10 minute walk a few times a week. You are used to this level of activity, and it does not make you suffer.
- you want to do more. Previously you might have tried going for 20 minutes as this seems reasonable for other people, however, you are not other people. Instead, you go for a 20% increase of a 12 minute walk. You do this until you are comfortable with it over a few weeks, or perhaps even longer. It may be the case that you need to go back a bit.
- and so on. Increasing activity in a very gentle fashion.

It might seem like a very long winded process but this is an illness that spans many years and there is certainly time to take it slowly. Very slowly with oodles of patience, patience and more patience. I have spent many years at this. Set backs are a part of the game also, but we have faith that change is possible (and remember that, indeed, change is an undeniable fact of everyone's life).

I will post some charts at some point.

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During the day: try it standing up, or in everyday situations. Notice what undermines your attempts to do the practice.

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This appears to be a common pattern. We do our mindfulness course expecting to be transformed, we feel a bit better on the course, a week after the course we find that nothing has changed. There's also the case of people who have been doing meditation for ages and yet they still feel as depressed and angry as they did when they started.

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