What to do in a prolonged relapse

Hey guys, today’s question is from Tess. 


“Toby I would like to know your advice you have when I’m in a prolonged CFS relapse.  Do we still try and keep with movement exercise routine, or just let ourselves rest and surrender completely.  Hard to know what’s best for your body when it’s like this, especially for an extended period of time.”


You’re not wrong Tess, it gets pretty confusing especially when you have progressed quite a while and then you fall back and you have to start again.  That’s what it feels like right?


So, I’m going to take a different take on this completely.  Rather than give you the answer I’m going to say this because this is the answer: just focus on now


A lot of the suffering and hardship is trying to get back to where we were, or panicking or worrying that we won’t get back to where we were.  And all that focus takes the focus of what we need to be doing right now.  The best thing you can do is ask yourself “what exactly do I need to do right now for myself, for the betterment of my health and wellbeing?”


It could be complete rest.  It might mean tiptoeing your way back through your routine.  It might be slowly doing restorative movement but without the attachment that I have to get to a certain place.  You see what I mean?


So my suggestion for you and anyone else who is in a relapse, I mean the first thing you need to do if you’re in a severe setback and relapse is rest, recuperate, recover.  You want to get back to a place of where you are at a baseline that you can start rebuilding again.  So, if you’re in that severe situation where you literally feel like you’re completely flawed, the most important thing is rest, recuperate, and recover.  Meaning that you allow the time for you to just get the adequate rest, the recovery that you need, just to get back to that place where you can function again.  And then from there, you want to slowly increment and progress and rebuild strength and stamina and health, whilst you’re maintaining your health – meaning that you don’t feel any worse than you did before you started doing this stuff.  We want to avoid having these relapses as much as possible and the best way to do that is by maintaining your health, meaning that you don’t feel any worse than what you did before doing things and you slowly progress that way.  That way you can increment it even when there are doubts and fears or anxiety around moving forwards, you can enjoy that safe and effective way without feeling like you are going to overdo it or push yourself too hard.


So I hope that helps, the question to ask yourself is “what do I need for myself right now, for my good self right now?”.  Forget about everything else.  Forget about the future, forget about the past, because we bring that in a lot.  We want to literally just block it out and focus on what our awareness needs right now.  As soon as you do that you will automatically start to do what is right for you.  It’s when we bring the past in and the future tense that we start to go “I’m confused, I don’t know what to do” and you get paralysis by analysis which makes us feel like we’re going a little bit crazy. 


So my suggestion is, relax, recuperate, recover.  Get to a healthy baseline where you can maintain your health and do your daily living functions, your daily activities, which means get of bed and be able to eat breakfast and go to the toilet and have a shower and do those normal basic things that are hard to do when you’re in a setback or a relapse.  From there as long as you’re maintaining your health on a steady increment, then you can slowly progress back up to where you want to go in a safe and effective manner.


I hope that helps Tess.  Again take what I say with a grain of salt.  It’s my perspective and my experience, I can’t share anything else but that.  Hopefully, it helps and gives value to you and anyone else who is going through a similar situation right now.  Thanks again and I’ll speak to you soon, take care!


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