Managing fatigue on a typical fatigued day
Living with a chronic illness is tiring. In fact it’s exhausting. And no matter how much you rest or sleep the fatigue lingers. I used to feel guilty for why I was so tired. I didn’t understand why my body both physically, cognitively and emotionally were so drained.
I’m tired of being tired I would say. Trying to push back the fatigue by doing more. Thinking this would increase my stamina? Often the next day my body would punish me with headaches, muscle aches, and fogginess.
So here are a couple of strategies I’ve learnt to incorporate into my day to manage and protect my energy levels.
1. Pack your bag the night before. 👜 This means on the morning of going out I do not use unnecessary energy trying to locate items such as my keys or diary.
2. Carry a comfortable bag that can fit all things in.
If your bag is too small you are more likely to forget things or misplace items.🎒
3. Routine: 🕓
Make your regular medical appointments the same time the same day. This means the structure of your week won’t change week to week. And there is less energy required to remember different times and days.
On days you have mental health appointments or groups don’t plan anything else that is too demanding. After my appointments I come home and do something restorative such as napping, a small walk or some art.
5. Listen to music whenever you have the opportunity. 🎶Music is incredibly powerful in helping you stay present and in the moment. Therefore, you are not using energy worrying over what you did or said the day, week or year before.
6. Drink plenty of water, I notice my mental processes slowdown if I’m dehydrated. 💦
7. Dress comfortably. In the past I would waste so much energy worried that my clothes were not fitting right, that they didn’t suit me and I always felt cold. This heightened my arousal state meaning my body would easily respond to stress. When I feel comfortable (particularly in my ponchos and soft pants) my senses are grateful and my nervous system relaxes. 👗
8. Use breaks. This can be hard to do when you are time poor. But a short rest gives your body a chance to refuel and perform better. 💤
9. Decided where to spend your breaks. For me, I need to spend my breaks in silence, with the lights off, lying on my office floor or in bed with a blanket and lily. I have also done this in my car and outside. 🌳
10.Use technology: Having anxiety means there is already alot going on in your head which makes you more prone to being forgetful. Therefore, use a diary, task manager apps, google calendar to help you remember. Also, ask people to send you dates and appointments in a written format. 📲
11.Pace yourself: Listen to your body when it is telling you it is tired.
Be aware of when you are staring off, getting a foggy head, when your sentences don’t make sense and soreness in and around your head. Make sure to stop and take a break to re-set your mind. Or stop the activity 🚦
12. Stop scrolling. Yes you know what I mean. Exposing yourself to 1000s of comments and pictures where you compare your circumstances to another is tiring. Therefore don’t use your lunch break all on social media. Make your break me time. Only do things that are going to restore and re-energise you. ✋