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The last step in controlling relapses is preventive: using lifestyle habits to avoid relapses. You can reduce and perhaps even eliminate relapses using the strategies described below.


Pace Yourself 

Pacing is the most powerful strategy for bringing stability to life and preventing setbacks. Pacing means adjusting activity to the limits imposed by illness. Pacing involves a variety of specific strategies, including having short activity periods, shifting among different activities, living according to a schedule, and using individualized rules. 

For details, see the Pacing Strategies and Achieving Consistency sections.


Take Schedled Rests

Scheduled rests, done on a regular basis, can prevent relapses. Also, taking extra rest before, during and after special events or after a secondary illness can help you avoid setbacks or limit their severity.

Manage Stress

CFS and fibro both increase peoples' stress and 
make them more sensiivite to stress. It's usually helpful to use multiple strategies to manage it.

A typical stress management plan might include a daily relaxation procedure, daily walks, taking regular rest breaks daily, having pleasurable activites every day and living by a schedule. For more,see the Managing Stress section of the site.

Take Medications Faithfully & Consider Supplements

Dr. Lapp reminds his patients to take prescribed medications consistently. He also recommends a limited list of supplements. (For details on the latter, see the article on that topic at the self-help program website.) 

Make Mental Adjustments

Many of the strategies for limiting relapses require new habits and behaviors, but their foundation lifes in adjusting our expecttions to fit without our limits. For example, one person in the self-help program says, "I've had to retrain myself from saying 'I work 'til done' to 'I stop when tired'.

Listen to Your Body

There is a strong temptation to respond to the onset of symptoms by "pushing through." A different approach, listening to and responding to the body's signals, can prevent relapses. As someone in the self-help program said, "I have become aware of the warning signs that my body sends me when I'm doing too much and I am learning to stop as soon as symptoms appear."

Use Routine

Living your life in a planned and pedictable way can help reduce relapses because routine is less stressful than novelty and because having a predictable life increases your chances for staing wtihin your limits.
Use Logging & Record Keeping

Keeping a health log can reduce relapses in three ways. First, records can give you a detailed understaning of your limits, the foundation for avoiding overdoing. 

Second, records can help you hold yourself accountable. Seeing evidence of a connection between overactivity and increased symptoms brings home the fact that activity level affects symptoms. 

Third, records can serve as a source of motivation. Seeing how living within the energy envelope reduces symptoms reinforces your successes and provides a motivation toward further improvement.

For several examples of logs and instructions for using them, see the chapter on logs and worksheets in the self-help program textbook. Also, you can find printable logs through the Logs, Forms and Worksheets  page on the program website.
Be Assertive

Believing it is your right to protect your health and standing up for yourself can help you stay within your limits. As one person in the self-help program said, "Communicating clearly when I need medicine, rest, or quiet time and taking time for these things when I need them [all] help me to prevent a relapse." For an assertiveness success story, see the article Pacing and Assertiveness on the self-help program website. 

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