Pace Yourself

When I woke up from my heart transplant, I had these wires called pacing wires that would pace my heart rate up or down depending on what was indicated at the time.

There are times like the holidays that I wish I had pacing wires to slow me down when I am exceeding my limits, overextending myself or to kick me in the rear if I am being lazy, lacking in motivation. Yes, pacing wires would be a good thing, a very good thing.

Sadly, I have no pacing wires OR do I?!

I began thinking about this year’s holidays months ago knowing that we would likely have John’s family divided across Thanksgiving and Christmas. When it became clear that I was not going to be 100% of my 100%, I went into self-preservation, energy conservation mode in order to optimize my health, wellbeing, and ATTITUDE.

Pacing wires are THE best friend of an individual with limited capacity whether due to chronic conditions or something else.

So, what are these pacing wires?!

Pacing wires are a willingness to listen to what our bodies are saying and act upon it.

Here is how I paced myself yesterday, Thanksgiving day:

First, I did not host guests for Thanksgiving; I enjoyed the day with my husband and our son.

Second, I pared down the menu significantly.

Thanksgiving 2017: 

Butternut Squash Soup: no cream, just veggies, spices and stock

Spinach Salad with Feta, Dried Cranberries, and Walnuts

Turkey: Free range, brined

Italian Sausage Stuffing: admittedly a bit decadent

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Herbed Dijon: serious yum and healthy too!

Balsamic Glazed Red Onions: no sugar

Potatoes Au Gratin 

Sweet Potato Casserole 

Chocolate Bourbon Cake 

Thanksgiving 2018:

Oven Roasted Whole Turkey Ready to Serve once it reaches room temperature from Honey Baked Ham

Three side dishes: green bean casserole, potatoes au gratin, and corn

Rolls from Honey Baked Ham

Brownies and vanilla ice cream

I also used Instacart Pick Up with our local Publix. I placed my order online; they shopped. I dropped by to pick up when they texted that the order was ready.

Fourth, I slept until I woke up and spent the morning doing things I love which may or may not have been anything: ha!

This Thanksgiving was intentionally simple largely because of my hospitalization the week prior. Regardless, I am thankful to have had the time just the 3 of us.; it’s been a while, too long since the 3 of us have had time together with John’s travel schedule being particularly demanding these last few months.

Bottom Line: I have physical limits and limited stamina; however, the boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places for me [Psalm 16:6]. I’ve realized over the last year that I don’t need to push against these boundaries. Quite the contrary, I need to embrace them and simply communicate them to my family and friends from a heart of love.

If we’re truly honest, we all have limits; it’s just that most put a smile on their face and end up having less than ideal holiday experiences.

Let’s learn when to say yes and how to say no in the year ahead; a skill for all regardless of whether or not you are affected by a chronic condition.

What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Are you feeling overwhelmed? What do you do when you find yourself overwhelmed? What does your ‘ideal’ holiday gathering look like?

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

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