Fighting Fatigue {a #chronicallywell post}

31daysButtonYesterday, I posted about how fatigue affects me and how it can be a blessing, if we choose to view it that way.  I also realize that fatigue is one of the most debilitating symptoms that I, and many others with chronic or invisible illness, deal with on a daily basis.  I wanted to share some things that help me combat fatigue. If you have something that works for you, I would love for you to share it in the comments so others can benefit as well!

  • Stay positive.  People tend to underestimate the power of negativity.  Allowing yourself to stay mired in the negative aspects of your illness will actually increase your fatigue.
  • Eat breakfast.  If you are anything like me, breakfast is optional.  Not because I’m not hungry but because I can’t drag myself out of bed in time to eat a healthy breakfast on most days. {Working with a fitness coach has really helped me with this}.  Your body needs food to fuel you with energy.  Don’t skip this important meal!
  • Evaluate your medications.  I am not anti-pharmaceutical. You will never hear me advocate that you not take the advice of your physician.  I take meds for lupus.  However, modern medicine tends to prescribe a pill for every new symptom we develop.  Quite often, the side effects of those meds made existing issues, including depression and fatigue, worse.  I took Lyrica for all of three weeks before I had to stop.  It was making me an emotional basket case and interrupting my sleep.  Be sure to educate yourself about the potential side effects of medication and be aware of the impact your meds can have on your fatigue level.
  • Stay hydrated.  I am preaching to myself on this one.  But there is a definite correlation between a good day and how much water I drink. Our bodies are made up of mostly water and our kidneys need lots of water to flush the toxins out of our body.  I’m not an expert but I do recognize the benefits of staying hydrated.  I have replaced my sweet tea habit with unsweetened green tea and I have replaced my soda habit with seltzer water and fresh lime juice. I keep bottled spring water in the fridge because I am more likely to drink water if it is ice cold.  Find what works for you but make sure you consume enough fluids each day.
  • Resist the urge to overextend.  Sometimes, on a good day, I will commit myself to a project or obligation that I would not have even considered on a bad day.  Over the years in learning to manage life with lupus, I have learned not to agree to something just because it’s a cause I believe in or something I want to volunteer for.  There is an unwritten law in living with chronic illness:

            If you push yourself too much, you will pay.

  • Make rest a priority.  This doesn’t just apply to sleep {although getting a good nights sleep and taking short naps as you can is very important}.  Rest includes putting your feet up when your legs are hurting, sitting down on the bench at the mall before going on to the next store, turning down the girls night out to curl up with a cup of hot tea and a blanket, etc.  You know your body and your limits.  Respect yourself and your health enough to conserve energy where and when you can.

What helps you overcome the fatigue associated with chronic illness?



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