5 Tips for Managing Fatigue
Whether the result of a chronic condition or too many late nights, fatigue can have a significant and detrimental impact on your day to day life. At its extreme, fatigue is a physical and mental tiredness that isn’t helped by sleep or rest. I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) at the age of 12 and at my worst was housebound.
Fast forward to today, I consider myself fully recovered but still have to be mindful of my energy levels and ensure I get enough quality sleep. A few nights of poor sleep and I quickly start to become unwell. These tips can be used by anyone experiencing fatigue. If your fatigue is extreme, unexplained, or linked to a health condition, please seek the advice of your GP.
What You'll Need
What You'll Do
- Ensure your basic needs are met. When experiencing fatigue, it can be difficult to make healthy choices, however this can lead to a downward spiral in your health. Prioritise your basic needs to ensure you are meeting your nutritional, exercise, sleep and social needs.
- Be aware of your body’s warning signals. Before physically crashing, there are usually signs. These vary and can include a range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms. When my body is run down, I get sore throats followed by cold and flu symptoms. If I don’t listen to these signals and get some rest, I quickly crash. Get to know your body and the signs that you need to pay attention to. When the signs show up, slow down and get some rest.
- Practice good sleep hygiene. If you have a condition that causes fatigue or insomnia, it can be difficult to follow a routine but taking steps as simple as going to bed and setting an alarm for the same time each morning can make a big difference. Other principles of good sleep hygiene include not looking at your phone for at least 30 minutes before bed time; finding activities, such as meditation, to help you wind down and making your bedroom “sleep friendly” (see https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/how-to-get-to-sleep/ for more information).
- Prioritise your energy. When you experience fatigue, you may have to make choices about when and how to use your energy. It’s ok to say no for the sake of your health. Decide what is important to you and use your energy accordingly.
- Be kind to yourself. It can be deeply upsetting when you feel let down by your body and this can easily become your focus. Concentrate on what you can do, rather than what you can’t do. Some days this might not be very much and that’s ok. Self-acceptance and self-compassion are the goals here.