Fatigue is perhaps one of the most debilitating symptoms for chronic illness sufferers. Your levels of fatigue can range from mild to severe. Some days, you will be able to resume your daily activities and other days, you will have a difficult time getting out of bed. Also, you will have days where you are energetic in the morning but extremely exhausted by the time afternoon rolls around. You can continue to participate in daily activities if you plan how to work these things when you are feeling better and this will also help you to avoid further fatigue and flare-ups.
• Lack of sleep is a major contributor to feeling fatigued. It is important to set a schedule where you go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning. If sleep is still a problem for you, talk to you doctor about sleep aid to help you to get a good night’s sleep.
• Making use of lists, schedules and calendar can help you to remember things. Memory problems and other cognitive difficulties can be problematic and making use of time/date aids can prove helpful to you. You can also purchase planners and calendars that fit into your purse or use the calendar/planner on your cell phone. It is also important not to fit too many activities into one day because this can tire you out even more. Prepare a “to-do” list to keep you reminded of what you need to do each day but be realistic and mindful about how you can do and handle. Cross of items that are done so that you can see how much you have accomplished.
• Rest periods are also an important part of planning because they help you to feel less fatigued. When you are rested, you are better prepared to take on and enjoy activities and tasks.
• Organization is key to planning. When things are within reach, you are not doing unnecessary reaching and sorting through cluttered areas. It might take you some time to get organized but it will be worth it in the end.
• Taking care of your body and health also helps you to stay energized and to keep fatigue at bay. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration because dehydration causes fatigue. Eat well balanced meals because lack of proper nutrition will rob you of needed energy. Exercise to increase your endurance and energy levels.
• Alternate between sedentary activities and strenuous ones. Also don’t do two strenuous activities in one day. For example, if vacuum in the morning, pay bills and respond to phone calls in the afternoon. Do not scrub floors and do laundry in the same day.
Planning can help you to limit the amount of activities you take on daily. It will also help you to keep symptoms at bay because planning makes participating in activities more enjoyable and less stressful. The goal is that you act with consistency during both rest and activity by doing similar amounts of activity each day and taking similar amounts of time to rest. Planning accordingly will allow you to live within your planning, to achieve more, to have a more predictable life and to gain control over your illness.