Less is More with AS
Last updated: May 2022
Since getting diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (AS), I've learned that it is better to undershoot than overshoot. Living in a capitalistic society, we're encouraged to push ourselves beyond our limits to achieve success. This is unhealthy for a myriad of reasons but is especially harmful when one has a chronic illness.
Pushing it to the limit
My approach to doing things used to focus on speed and efficiency. I would try to complete tasks as fast and efficiently as possible, often at the expense of missed meals, less sleep, ignoring pain and stress signals, and minimal exercise. While I would get things done, it was detrimental to my health and exacerbated my symptoms. This was before I understood what my triggers and limits are.
Learning to slow down
Now I incorporate pacing techniques into everything I do and follow a priority mindset. I divide up all my tasks based on importance and their deadlines and then break each task into chunks and rest as needed.
Oftentimes I have to skip some tasks entirely and leave them for another day or have to leave a task incomplete and finish it when I am able to. Doing less has made my disease more manageable and has helped me become more productive. Changing my mindset and approach has been an essential lifestyle change that has helped me cope with AS.
Do you notice worsening flares in colder weather?