My NHS experience with CFS – Part 3 (NHS CFS Foundation Course 2- Recap & Rest)

So I have to admit I wasn’t quite as enthusiastic and with it at the second part of the NHS CFS Foundation course, as I had way over done it earlier in the week, we have all been there at some point.

Like parts 1 & 2 of my NHS experience with CFS, guiding from my experience with my GP and assessment (Link) and the first foundation seminar (Link), this post I will talk through what I got out of the second and final foundation seminar, through both what leader taught us and from comments from other service users, as well as providing you with the handouts that I received on the day.

The formalities
The seminar started at 10.30, I got dropped off this time, but you can park (not very easily and you will need change).

The room was set up for about 15-20 people with various different types of chairs and we had to sign in and were given the following documents:

This seminar was run by a man, I am not sure of his name but I think he was also an OT. And was a mix between the OT talking and the participants chipping in by asking or answering questions as they wanted to.

Run through of what I learnt

Recap of Seminar 1

First things first we had a quick recap of what we went through in seminar one:

  • Symptoms
  • Activity management
  • Pacing
  • Rest
  • Baseline

For full details of seminar 1 – (link)

At the end of the first session we were asked to fill in an activity diary, where for each hour of the day we coloured it in different colours for Sleep, Rest, Low, Medium & High demand activities.

We then asked to analyse our own diaries, and make certain comments, the common points that came out of this was that:

  1. Often there was a 1 or 2 day peak
  2. That on the whole there was very little rest time
  3. Identified that slept in the day more often than had previously thought
  4. Use planner to plan ahead and schedule pre emptive rest.
  5. Rest over time i.e. having rest breaks or continual low activity helps to build up some energy reserves.
  6. That deciding what is Low, Medium & High demand is a judgement call for each individual.

As it was identified that the majority of us did not rest enough we went through a quick run down of what we do to rest:

  • Have a bath
  • Listen to music
  • Sit in the garden
  • Meditation
  • Sit in silence
  • Breathing Techniques
  • Massage

My personal favourites are having a nice long bath with epson salts, either nice and warm one, or if it is really warm outside like it has been recently a much cooler one, so that I feel like my body is getting to a nice cool temperature.

As well as meditation, in a previous post of mine: Demystification of Meditation (Link), explains how meditation can be really simple and ways in which you can build it into everyday life.

We came to the conclusion as a group that in a room full if people who rest gradually builds up energy; we simply don’t get enough, we seem to either have a strong push/crash cycle, too much sleep (and not rest), or a lot of low level activity such as watching tv (which isn’t rest)

We all agreed that it is hard to work and schedule rest into our every day lives, and one of the main issues is that we feel we need to be given permission to actual take a break to ourselves for a little while.

We were all recommended to try a number of relaxation/meditation technique. This techniques include 6 guided meditations in which you can download the mp3 from the links below, as well as a relaxation guide.

File Track 1 – Grounding exercise.mp3
File Track 2 – Autogenic relaxation.mp3
File Track 3 – Deep muscle relaxation.mp3
File Track 4 – Self-Hypnosis for tension.mp3
File Track 5 – Red spot relaxation.mp3

Relaxation Guide

I personally prefer the guided meditation/ relaxation exercises on the Buddify app I talk about in my previous post on meditation, but these are still good.

We briefly talked about environmental issues, such as people having children, snoring partners, stress, worrying, pain that got in the way of being able to rest, and identified that these would be different for all of us, and that it would be best to identify these in our individual sessions.

The second half of this seminar which talks about stress and sleep management will be illustrated in:

My NHS experience with CFS – Part4 (Link)

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