I read an article over at Rheumatoid Arthritis.Net on the cost of exertion. What is the cost of exertion you ask? Basically, if you run a marathon, you might be a little tired the next day if you are a normal healthy person. Or, if you are me, you go to the gym and the grocery store in the same day, and you need a nap.
If you have a chronic illness (or ten) you have a greatly limited ability to do much of anything. Learning to accept your limitations is an important part of coping with your ailments.
Yesterday I met a friend for lunch and then we went shopping for just over an hour (because it started snowing like hell and we wanted to get home before the roads got bad). Then I needed a three hour nap. And today I am still exhausted.
But I am happy I am tired because I did a fun thing. As opposed to going to the grocery store and then needing a nap.
My life is a balancing act. I balance the exertion with recovery. I could spend all my time doing nothing, which would not be good mentally or physically. I wouldn't be in any shape to have any strength to take care of what I need to do. And emotionally I would be a wreck. Or I could work as much as I possibly could, and I wouldn't have the energy to take care of myself and would be in worse shape.
Or I could do what I can, laundry, groceries, and the gym three times a week (which is taking care of me) and then resting and recovering as needed. I spread out my exertion. My husband does all the heavy lifting and I do the laundry and groceries – but he carries them up and down stairs for me.
But sometimes I can't do even the basics because I need the rest. That is what the cost of exertion is to me.