Sunday 31 July 2016

Tired Of Being Tired - Guest Post ft New Life Outlook

First of all I'd like to thank New Life Outlook for not only writing this guest post but also being so patient in waiting for it to go live. My blogging schedule has been a bit all over the place lately due to my own illness. I've lots of exciting bits coming up so as usual. do stay tuned.

Tired Of Being Tired??

Strategies for When You’re Tired of Being Tired
One of the most misunderstood parts of having a chronic illness, like lupus or fibromyalgia, is the actual level of fatigue we experience and exactly what we mean when we say we are exhausted.
There are different levels of fatigue that chronic illness survivors must push through from day to day. On a scale of one to 10, thankfully not every day feels like a 10. 
At its worst, it could be described as an overwhelming sense of exhaustion and lack of energy that is completely out of proportion to our activity. Taking a shower can cause a need to lie down, for example.
The struggle is real and debilitating. Fatigue has a major impact on quality of life, interfering with activities of daily living, exercise, and the ability to cope with other symptoms of my chronic illness. 
As someone with both lupus and fibromyalgia, I have devised strategies for each level of fatigue I experience: 
Everyday Low-Level Fatigue
There is a nagging level of fatigue that seems to be present just about every day. I equate it to that mid-afternoon energy slump that healthy people often experience — only it is all day for those with a chronic illness. 
  • Eat energy foods. Eat something that will give energy, but not a sugar rush, like a few cashews or sweet potato chips. I drink extra water, and if I am still struggling a small iced coffee adds a little caffeine boost.
  • Take a mid-day rest for 20 minutes. Whether it is your lunch break or some down time after you have completed an activity, respond to your needs and let your body have a rest period. Don’t keep pushing through without allowing this catch-up period.
Sudden, Mid-Level Fatigue
There are days I seem to be only mildly fatigued in the morning, and suddenly it’s like I hit a wall. I’ll be cruising through my work and running to do errands and suddenly I feel it coming on — it’s so intense I I have to lay down as soon as possible. 
  • Avoid refined sugars and other sweets. Excess sugar can dramatically change blood glucose levels, causing them to rise quickly and then crash, making you more tired than before.
  • Eat foods high in vitamins, minerals, protein, and complex carbohydrates. High-quality protein (fish, poultry, and lean meat) can help your muscles stay strong, while complex carbohydrates (potatoes, whole-grain foods, and legumes) can help stabilize blood sugar levels, giving you energy throughout the day.
  • Take a nap. Yes, you need sleep! Keep it short so you don’t impact your normal night’s rest. Even a short sleep can provide a reboot of your body functions.
  • Try taking vitamin D and B-12. Speak to your doctor and see if supplements are OK for you to take. These two in particular provide me energy if taken regularly.

Full, Debilitating Fatigue
Fatigue and exhaustion while in a full-blown flare is a whole different beast. It is facing each day and night so tired that body seems so drained it longs for the peace of sleep. 
Often it is impossible to think clearly or even have the energy to make a meal. I describe this to others as the kind of fatigue you experience with the worst possible flu you’ve ever had, so tired you cannot bear it.
  • Take 15-minute rests throughout the day. Pace yourself and rest in brief periods to conserve your energy. If you simply can’t get moving, don’t.
  • Postpone activities. Sometimes we simply must cancel or postpone nonessential activities when this debilitating fatigue strikes. Always keep in mind you are battling a very real and disabling symptom of your chronic illness. Let go of any guilt that creeps in for not accomplishing everything on your to-do list.
  • Do things that help you rest and recharge. If spending a day in bed reading helps with you regain some energy, then do it. If meditation or yoga help you recharge, than don’t skip your routine unless you must. Know your body and respond to its needs in order to rebound from this full-level fatigue.
  • Once again, eat well-balanced foods and stay hydrated. This is important no matter what level of fatigue you are battling.
There are so many aspects of lupus and fibromyalgia that are difficult to endure, and fatigue is by far one the most impactful. Your strategy must include taking care of yourself, resting, watching what you put into your body, and allowing yourself time to recharge.
Read more about coping with fibromyalgia fatigue over at NewLifeOutlook.

Barbara Leech is a mom of four, autoimmune disease warrior and freelance writer. Throughout her personal battle with fibromyalgia, lupus, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, she is an advocate for greater public awareness and raising funds toward research and improved treatments for these and other autoimmune diseases.

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