Managing setbacks – make a plan

When a setback strikes: don’t panic! Try to remember that it’s only a short term problem – so don’t stop everything. And if you haven’t already done so, start building your setback plan.

Ideas to try during a setback

Try the ones that you think will work for you. Or come up with your own.
  • Stay active. If you are forced to rest keep this to a minimum. The longer you rest the more difficult it is to get going again
  • Keep doing your exercises, reduce by half your normal level for a few days
  • Cut your sitting, standing and walking time limits in half
  • Use heat or ice packs
  • Increase your relaxation time
  • Use your pacing skills (see Footstep 3 – Pacing)
  • Set yourself some SMART short term goals (see Footstep 4 – Setting goals)
  • Plan how you are gradually going to increase your exercises and activities
  • Keep a diary of what is helping you to manage the setback this time
  • Inform family and friends what they can do to help
  • Review (don’t dwell on) recent activities that may have caused the setback, what can you learn from this?
  • If you need medication then take it regularly “by the clock,” reduce gradually as the setback improves
  • Remember where you were before this setback. Focus on your achievements and not the setback

Make your plan

If you’ve been through a setback and some of these ideas have helped, then they should form the starting point for your setback plan.

But you don’t have to wait for a setback to start planning. Try writing down a list of the ideas that you expect to be most helpful and keep them for when a setback hits. You can always update them in the light of experience.

Don’t forget those triggers

Remember your list of triggers that are likely to cause a setback?

Why not add these to your plan too, so you can think ahead and try to avoid the things you know are ‘high risk’ for you.