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Finding your energy envelope

Thursday 6 May 2010

CFIDS & Fibromyalgia Self-HelpCFIDS & Fibromyalgia Self-Help has a two-part article by Bruce Campbell about understanding your limits with ME/CFS/Fibromyalgia:

Finding Your Energy Envelope

By Bruce Campbell

Part 1

Living with CFS or fibromyalgia is frustrating. Not only do the two conditions bring pain and discomfort, they also impose limits. If we fight against or try to ignore those limits, the result is an intensification of symptoms. This article and the next one will propose another way to live with CFS or FM. I'll suggest how finding and honoring your limits (your energy envelope) can give you some control and improve your quality of life.

The Energy Envelope

To use the idea of the energy envelope, think of your situation as having three elements. The first is your available energy. This is the energy you have to accomplish things. It is limited and is replenished by rest and food. The second is your expended energy, the energy you lose through physical, mental and emotional exertion. The third is your symptoms, fatigue, brain fog, pain, and so on. In this view, if you expend more energy than you have available, you will intensify your symptoms. This is called living outside the energy envelope. An alternative is living inside the energy envelope. If you keep your expended energy within the limits of your available energy, you have a chance to reduce symptoms, and over time may be able to expand your limits.

Many students in our program have found it helpful to think of their life using the idea of the energy envelope in this way. To explain higher than usual symptoms, they may say "I was outside my envelope this week." This statement may sound like an admission of defeat, but it implies the possibility of control: if you can live differently, you may be able to gain greater control of your symptoms.

The full articles can be found here:

Finding your Energy Envelope, Part 1

Finding your Energy Envelope, Part 2

PDFs of Finding Your Energy Envelope can be downloaded here:

Finding your Energy Envelope (Parts 1 & 2 combined) (PDF, 228KB)


Finding your Energy Envelope (Part 1) (PDF, 155KB)


Finding your Energy Envelope (Part 2) (PDF, 80KB)


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