What is Chronic Fatigue?
Is Chronic Fatigue yawning all the time? If the answer is yes, then I definitely have it!
If you type the question into Google, it is mainly just refered to as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (or ME, Myalgic encephalomyelitis). ME/CFS is a long term condition with a range of symptoms, including Chronic Fatigue; very much like Fibromyalgia.
There are so many chronic health conditions that can include Chronic Fatigue on their symptoms lists.
Chronic Fatigue is extreme physical and mental tiredness (fatigue) that does not go away with rest or sleep. This can make it difficult to carry out everyday tasks and activities. It is overwhelming and very difficult to live with.
I must stress that if you have not had your Chronic Fatigue diagnosed as part of a condition, then please go and see your doctor.
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This is vital when learning how to live with Chronic Fatigue. You cannot constantly fight it. You will not win that battle. Accept the things you cannot change, but make changes to your life that will help.
There are so many emotions around living with Chronic Fatigue. I personally can have them all in the same day! Anger, frustration, jealousy, sadness, anxiety …..
Loss is a huge part of accepting that chronic fatigue is a big influence in your life. Finding that you are no longer able to participate at all in a favourite activity or that it is extremely restricted is hugely difficult.
Give yourself time.
Be kind to yourself.
Have a good cry.
Your life will look different, but that is not all bad.
I have been concentrating on making my life simpler. Saying no to lots of things. Decluttering our home, but also my schedule and mind. Accepting that having one or two craft projects on the go is better.
What can you do to make acceptance a strong focus in your mind?
Yes, I talk about Pacing a lot. That is because it is so important – for living with Chronic Fatigue, as well as Chronic Pain and all of our other symptoms. (In fact, I think that everyone should learn about Pacing – even if your health is of no issue to you at all. Imagine that?!)
Pacing is taking a break before you are absolutely wiped out by fatigue. Pacing is also controlling what you do within your day and for how long you do those activities for.
Within the blogging community, I often see that using blocks of time to concentrate on one aspect of blogging is said to be a good way to increase productivity. I would feel really inadequate because I couldn’t spend 10 hours in one day creating content. I would try, fail and then think that blogging wasn’t for someone like me. I have accepted that spending around 30 minutes on one task, before taking a break or changing to something else, before returning to it later is my only way of working. This is a healthy way of working for anyone. Give it a go today.
I also recommend taking one full day off (which happens to be Sunday for me). I don’t do anything associated with business or study, or any extra housework. That day for me is for crafting, hopefully getting out for a walk/lunch/afternoon tea (just escaping from the farm/home for a couple of hours – one negative of working from home is that it is always on our minds). If I feel that a flare of symptoms is threatening, then Sunday is definitely a chance to pamper myself and take all the pressure off. It gives my mind and body some free space. Do you take a day off at the moment?
Being kind to yourself is a phrase thrown around a lot at the moment. Think of it as how you would talk to a friend. If a friend was showing frustration about their health stopping them from going on a skiing holiday for instance, you would give them a gentle hug, talk about something else they can do instead (a different sort of holiday – I fancy one of those luxury river cruises!) and listen whilst they get it all out.
Expressing your emotions will help to reduce the pressure on your mind/body. Keeping it all inside you is never going to be healthy.
Do not tell yourself that you are being stupid, that there are people who have it a lot worse. Living with Chronic Fatigue, especially when it first becomes an issue for you, is very overwhelming.
I am not going to suggest that you should be completing a certain amount of exercise each week. We are all different. Living with Chronic Fatigue is also very variable. Some days I can get out on my electric bike for 1 hour (with at least one stop to look at the view, have a drink of water and eat something!). Most days that would not be possible.
Exercise is also movement. It isn’t just going to the gym or getting on an exercise bike. It is moving around the house, getting up from your office chair to go and make a bed. It is not sitting/lying for too long, which is not good for anyone.
Move Your Body
Sleep. This is very important. Many people would think that having Chronic Fatigue is all about sleeping a lot more than usual. It can be. I am finding that since I went into Menopause I am getting very tired in the evenings (usually falling asleep whilst watching tv) and struggle to get going in the mornings as well. However, that doesn’t mean that I sleep well at night. Obviously, as I have Chronic Pain too, my sleep is always disturbed.
We need to pay special attention to what our bodies need each day.
Perhaps you need a nap during the day.
Try going to bed at the same time each day and see if that helps you.
Keep away from screens for a period of time before bed (I have set a restriction on my Ipad for 8 pm to 8 am).
Dark, quiet and cool bedroom.
Try a weighted blanket (I have bought one that is specifically for people who are too hot at night).
A warning. We can spend a lot of time each day thinking about ourselves, about how we are living and coping with Chronic Fatigue. This can be very isolating, as well as the loss of previous hobbies/career etc.
However difficult Chronic Fatigue is to live with, there are positives. It will make you look at what is really important in our lives.
For me, creating a simpler life has been a huge help. Decluttering our home is a work in progress – yes, pacing is important in everything! I have already simplified my schedule. Giving myself a full day off each week, plus two days where I do not plan any extra housework enables me to concentrate on developing my books on Amazon KDP plus this website. I am enjoying learning new skills and giving myself the chance to earn a passive income from home.
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My word for 2022 is ‘essential‘. I constantly ask myself if something is essential – a possible purchase (often just deleted from the online basket when I realise that I do not need it), a tv programme to watch (if it doesn’t make me laugh or cry, inspire me or teach me something, then that gets deleted from our Recordings), a trip into our local town when I would rather be walking in the fields….
Until the next time.