Last week, we asked you how you manage your fatigue, and what strategies you have to help you cope. Thank you to everyone who fed back to us. We’ve consolidated your ideas below. They all come back to one theme – the cycle of boom and bust.
Boom and bust
‘Boom’ is the day when you feel a bit more energetic. You might try to make up for lost time by packing in as much as you can. You might enjoy the sense of achievement so much that you become unaware of, or ignore the signs of, fatigue or increased pain. It is almost as if your mind takes over, racing ahead as your body is left behind.
At this point you are expecting too much of your body, which may not be able to deliver what you are asking of it. Your muscular and circulatory systems may be challenged. You may not have the ability your mind expects due to your health condition.
Inevitably, you crash and need to rest to recover. This is the ‘bust’ phase. Sadly, as you enter an extended spell of inactivity, you are further reinforcing the process of deconditioning, losing strength and stamina. Mentally it becomes harder to recover. Over time this can become a difficult downward spiral, as you find that you need to rest more to achieve less. Just recognising this pattern of boom and bust will help you to break it and pace yourself a little differently. Some of the strategies shared by our community help to break this cycle.
Connecting with nature figures highly. Who doesn’t like to walk in woods, along beaches, across cliff tops, absorbing the sounds and the space, and our place in nature? Forest bathing, walking three or four times a week in the open air – all good strategies.
Just being. Nothing like sitting with nothing in our hands, no distractions around, just concentrating on breathing, for emptying our minds and being in sync with our bodies. Sitting back and adjusting our expectations and the demands we’re going to make on ourselves for the day can being that moment of realism that can make the difference between boom or bust.
Sleeping. This features a lot. Regular bedtimes, not being apologetic, building in rest times during the day, winding down before bedtime – sleep hygiene is so important. You can find out much more about this in our Managing my fatigue resource.
Being social. Organizing events during the day, and if they are in the evening, inviting people to come to you or to your area so you are not spending energy on travel. Just being a little proactive about this can help – and having an ally who can help you.
Having a pet. This might sound counter-intuitive, but having a pet around can bring structure to your life, reduce isolation and improve well-being. Animals have a completely different agenda to humans, and bring things back to basics. They want comfort, feeding and love. In return, they give huge affection.
Finally – take time each day to focus on the simple things that bring you joy. Every day, list one thing that has made your heart sing. Look back at the list. Even this simple act will make you smile. Share them on your social media, and tag us – we’d love to see.