Balancing school, work and leisure activities

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teens hanging out

You have a lot going on in your life, and if you spend too much energy trying to do one thing, you may feel too tired to take part in other activities. Think about what is most important to you, and then work with your healthcare team to figure out ways that you can accomplish these things.

Everyone has a limited amount of energy that they can spend on different activities throughout the day. Sometimes, having persistent pain can reduce the amount of energy that you have.

Balancing your energy

Imagine if your total energy for the day were counted in spoons. While your friends without chronic pain might have “six spoons” of energy, you might sometimes feel that you only have “three spoons”. This means that it’s important to think carefully about how you want to spend your energy without exhausting yourself. Try filling out the table below with a specific activity for each category. Then pick two or three categories that are most important to you, and focus on accomplishing them. If you have extra time and energy, you can move on to the other activities.

Here are a few examples to help you get started on some ideas for yourself. Tip: The table is best viewed in landscape mode if you are accessing this page on a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device.

Yourself Your friendsYour familySchoolWork
Go for a walk outside Meet up for a movie Play a board game Read a chapter of a book Finish a task that you started

Tips for achieving balance

  • If you are experiencing more pain, you need to pace yourself. You may need to change your schedule to meet the demands of day-to-day aspects of your life, such as school, work and friendships.
  • Balance your physical activity with short rests.
  • At school or work, you may need more time for certain tasks, access to a computer if handwriting is a problem or changes to your schedule to accommodate more frequent short rests. Your therapist can write a letter to your school or work to help you get the accommodations that you need.
  • Ask for advice from your physiotherapist. They can help if your pain is keeping you from doing activities that you really want to do.
Last updated: May 2nd 2016