One of the hardest parts of dealing with chronic illness is knowing when to stop. When you’re feeling well, it’s as if you can conquer the world. But you can’t, and in the back of your mind, you know that.

So what happens if you’re having a great day? Unfortunately, you still need to monitor yourself as the day goes along. If you don’t, you can crash within a matter of moments. Sounds grim, I know. With a little due diligence on your part, though, you can recognize the signs of your energy flagging.

say no

Your particular signs may vary from someone else’s, but there are usually some in common. For instance, you might be walking along outside and see a bench. You’ve already gone by several without noticing them, but this one looks very inviting. It may be your body’s way of telling you to rest. Maybe once you have stopped walking and sit down somewhere, whether at a playground, a ballgame, or any number of places, you aren’t eager to rise again.

Perhaps your vision starts to blur a little, you begin feeling dizzy, or you develop a headache. Your balance wavers. Muscles start cramping. There are many different things that can happen.

It’s necessary to figure out what your particular “tells” are, so you can recognize them when they happen. And in the event they do, you need to be willing to cut short events, or at least take a break somewhere. It’s difficult to do that. Believe me, I understand. You have to do it, though, or you’re inviting a flare.