Welcome to the Moving into Balance website created to help those looking for information about managing long term health conditions. I hope this website will help you to find some guidance on how to cope better and perhaps improve your health. The site aims to explore the issues that can contribute to keeping someone stuck in a perpetuating cycle of poor health and looks specifically at CFS / ME, but also the overlap with general health issues. I look at some strategies which people have found helpful in moving out of a spiral of deteriorating health.
To help people explore and understand some of the factors that can contribute to the cycle of poor health I use a spiral diagram which you can see below. For people with CFS / ME there can be a variety of factors leading to the cycle. These are often called the predisposing factors ( the things which set us up for a health crisis) and precipitating factors (the 'final straw' which tips us into illness) We know the causes of CFS / ME are complex and the subject of some debate and these are not the focus of this website. The spiral sets out to show visually the ways in our attempts to cope may perpetuate our health difficulties in ways that are not necessarily the result of the original diagnosis. Looking at areas where we can make some changes can give us a new sense of control over some of our symptoms.
The stories I hear on a daily basis have common themes. I hear of people pushing themselves beyond their capacity, to meet the demand of their lives. Pressures can come from external sources ( our lifestyle, job and the other people in our life), or may be a result of our thinking habits and standards that we set for ourselves. Stress of this type has a measurable and complex depleting effect on many body systems, most notably the immune system, making the person susceptible to viruses and illness.
When a person becomes chronically unwell they have often lost confidence in their body, become unsure of what they can physically do, and begin to lose stamina and strength. They understandably begin to adapt their activity levels, usually resting more and moving less. This is particularly true in CFS / ME, where sometimes the situation is compounded when the person is advised to rest until they begin to feel better. Sadly ‘feeling better’ or suddenly having more energy rarely happens in a sustainable way. Over resting will cause significant changes in our physiology, described in the ‘Moving Well’ page. These body responses cause changes which are not purely the result of an illness. Unwittingly the person can fall into a ‘deconditioned’ state and confuse how this state makes them feel, with the symptoms of an illness.
One of the key obstacles to maintaining health and stamina is cycling of over or under activity, in terms of exercise and activity, as well as in our sleep patterns and diet. This is known as the ‘Boom & Bust‘ pattern, and is the first issue to address when looking at ways to rebuild your well-being. I suggest you look at that page first!
The tendency to ‘Boom & Bust’ can be manageable when we are young or in good health, but over time or in circumstances of compromised health will cause a depletion of our resilience. It is possible to become stuck in a downward spiral of reduced physical stamina, and become increasingly overwhelmed by the demands of our life. This, in turn reinforces the stress response within our physiological processes and leads to an increasing sense of helplessness.
Recognising these unhelpful habit patterns can be the first step toward creating a steady platform on which to rebuild body confidence, stamina and well-being. Our bodies are amazingly adaptable, responding to the conditions we create.
Moving into Balance has been created out of a desire to share resources and offer support to people to reach their optimal potential of good health. I hope that it will be of help to those who are looking for a sense of well-being and resilience, even in the context of compromised health.
The content of this site is also delivered as a 6 week programme within NHS GGC.
My name is Stephanie Wilson and I have designed this website to share resources and offer support in order that people may reach their optimal potential of good health. I hope that it will be of help to those people who are looking for a sense of well being, and resilience, even in the context of compromised health. You can read more about me and my work in the About me section of the site.
The future is not some place we are going, but one we are creating. The paths are not found but made and the process of making them changes both the maker and the destination.