Coping (pacing) and Chronic Fatigue
Coping, also called pacing with chronic fatigue, is a skill that all of us develop out of necessity. Particularly if you feel tired a good deal of the time. You will adapt all kinds of little methods to conserve energy and time.
Here are some of my favorite tips that I have developed.
"Exercise?!" You may be saying? What does that have to do with energy conservation? If you do some light exercise on a regular basis, you will increase oxygen to your cells. This will energize you. Then you will have more endurance to cope with other things.
Start 5 min. 3-5 days a week by just doing some nice easy walking. Some people encourage 20 minutes per day. That’s great when you don’t have chronic fatigue. Start small and when your legs feel tired and you get short of breath. You’re done for now. You will be surprised at how rapidly your endurance increases every couple of days if you start out small instead of overwhelming yourself with unrealistic goals.
When you feel tired a good deal of the time. OR You may feel good but know that it might not last. You must learn to pace yourself. The key to increasing energy is to rest adequately so you can rebuild your depleted reserves. Coping with chronic fatigue will be easier to manage.
"But I still have a schedule", you may be saying. "I have a life after all!"
Yes, we all like a clean house but make sure you put your personal house before the one that has the couch and lovely dinette set.
I'm talking about your temple, your body. Your first goal is to recover. When we can get that to happen then coping and pacing won't even be such an issue.
I recommend you get yourself the swivel sweeper. What did my floors look like before that thing hit the market? (don't ask) Did my spouse say "ouch" in his bare feet in the morning? That's bad, huh?
“We don't make you bend down with the dustpan when you think you're done and we even do stairs!”
(Lugging a normal vacuum to do the stairs? Don't even think about it!!)
“But I weigh only 1 1/2 lb. so I won't wear out your already achy body.”
They could have marketed it the ‘vacuum for the fibro.’
Cordless Swivel Sweeper - As Seen on TV
Here is another tip: I'm sure there are at least some of you who complain of being exhausted just because you took a shower.
Didn't that used to leave me energized?
Here's a trick that may put this drop in energy to bed instead of you.
Run the shower at a cooler temperature at the end.
Why this works. We have trouble regulating our body temperature. We get too hot and can't cool down. OR we get too chilled and can't get warm.
Plenty of water with sea salt also helps this.
Ginger is the number one cure for achy chilled joints when the barometer drops.
You will feel cozy, soothed and relaxed. Sometimes it even tingles down your neck right into those tight spots.
Do chores in spurts. Rest often. When you feel like resting. Rest. Never get under condemnation for how much you’ve accomplished. Take great pride in small achievements.
Instead of cleaning the whole fridge, just do a shelf or two. In a few days, most of it will be clean.
Clean the stove using baking soda. You may be surprised to learn it works better than most commercial type cleansers.
Coping with cleaning won't be such a burden if you learn to use non-toxic cleaners. They really work and they won't tax your body.
Sprinkle, spray, WALK AWAY.
Let the cleaner scrub while you go chill and relax.
Coping with Phone Calls: The phone for some reason can really drain you. Maybe it’s the nature of the call. It is quite common for many people with chronic fatigue to be zapped (literally) if they use the phone too much. Try using a headset. It is far less taxing than holding the phone up to your ear. You will almost feel like the person is there with you. That’s a nice feeling particularly if you are talking to a loved one who lives far away. Also limit your calls if you are particularly affected by this. Avoid calling anyone who causes you inordinate stress. At least until you can get a handle on it or gain more mastery over being manipulated or put down. If they don’t understand your illness or make you feel crazy. Be extra on your guard and surround yourself with people who are supportive and encouraging.
Take regular breaks from your wonderful computer. Give those shoulders and your back a wonderful break regularly. If you are in a lot of pain, don’t be afraid to take a complete day off from the computer.
Consider getting a palm-sized computer, or PDA. They can hold favorite books to read on the go, or before bed, and you can schedule things.
“Did I forget something?” Yes, you can set a timer for everything with this little gadget. “What did I do before this?”
Just remembering is taxing. With it you can list and prioritize your whole life.
Hint: The less you have to try and remember everything you need to do, the less stressed and drained you'll be. Coping is essential to recovery from chronic fatigue.