- Try doing one thing at a time, at a pace that feels comfortable and so that it doesn't make your concussion symptoms feel worse.
- For any big task, do it in stages so that you’re not trying to complete it all at once.
- Take breaks before you feel worse.
- If your symptoms come back or get stronger as you start to do more activity, this is a sign that you are pushing yourself too hard. You are not hurting your brain. Your body is just telling you to take a break from what you are doing and to try slowing it down for a while.
- Decide what tasks need to be done first and to choose the best time of the day to do them.
What is Pacing?
Pacing is a way to manage your energy and your symptoms.
Have you ever tried to cram for an exam or do a big assignment in one night? How about trying to go for a long or fast run when you haven’t exercised for a long time? How did you feel afterwards?
With pacing, you allow yourself to have lots of time to finish an activity. You study or exercise at a slow and steady pace without rushing.
This may not be how you usually do your school work or exercise. However, by pacing yourself, you’ll have more energy for the fun stuff like hanging out with a friend.
Some Tips for Pacing
You may find it helpful to use a timer on your phone/watch/computer for beginning and stopping your activities, so that you don’t overdo it.
Try paying attention to the ‘messages/sensations from your body such as your headache getting worse or feeling more tired’ that are telling you that you need a rest.
These are messages from your body telling you to take a rest break before becoming exhausted, or making your concussion symptoms feel worse.
Here’s an Example of Pacing for a Physical Activity
You want to get back to exercising but you haven’t done anything physical for a while. You can set a realistic goal of going for a fast paced walk with your dog or a friend/family member or by yourself for 15 to 30 mins.
Try going for a slower walk first (even if you used to be able to sprint). While you’re doing this, check your breathing and tune into your body. If you feel fine, then you can gradually increase how often you go for a walk and how long of a walk.
And in 2 weeks maybe you can go for a faster walk or even a light jog or a walk/run.