How Can You Beat Fatigue While Staying on Schedule?

When you don’t get enough sleep because you pulled an all-nighter it’s called that you are tired. When you end up dragging your thoughts, words and probably your feet out of the morning shower and you are already exhausted although you had a full-night’s sleep it’s called fatigue. As an MS-er you are mostly already familiar with the topic. So, let’s get started!

What Is Fatigue and What Does It Want?

But what IS fatigue? Let’s look at some cold facts. First of all, having fatigue does not make you a lazy person. It can fluctuate from hour to hour or from day to day. It’s that feeling of overwhelming tiredness or feeling of exhaustion you tend to feel even in the early morning.

Do you know the Duracell Bunny featured in the Duracell Batteries commercial? The one that looses energy as he goes around doing certain activities? It’s feeling like you are out of batteries, literally!

The particular stuff about fatigue is that it can come suddenly, take you off-guard and be totally out of proportion to any activity you might be doing.

Fatigue: Shapes and Sizes

This is the case of primary fatigue, also called lassitude. Another subtype is a kind of “short-circuiting fatigue”, meaning that your muscles get confused and stop responding as they should when doing repetitive movements (i.e. walking gets your legs feeling tired, your hand gets tired writing or chopping vegetables, etc).

These is a second type called secondary fatigue, which is the consequence of lack of sleep, heat sensitivity, stress, infections, relapses, low mood, unhealthy diet, lack of pshysical exercise, meds for other symptoms or conditions that you might have.

Beat Fatigue to the Curve!

How can you beat fatigue while staying true to your daily schedule and to-do list? How can you feel less like moving in slow motion and tripping all over the place? It all starts the day before.

You are the key element in managing your fatigue. You are the only one who can ensure the best levels of energy through enough sleep, relaxtion techniques, a regular exercising routine and a healthy diet.

That’s why you should establish a daily routine that will maximize your energy supply and make you use it in the most efficient way possible to your daily context.

  • Wake up and go to sleep at the same hours everyday. The body and the brain will start to get used to your rhythm and adjust the internal clock accordingly, making you less tired and prone to waking up feeling groggy. Plus, doing the same things at the same hours gets rid of stress, as you don’t have to think it through everytime you do it.

  • Don’t sleep to much. Oversleeping increases fatigue. Keep the bed only for sleeping (an for other pleasurable activities) and do the rest of them in another part of the house. Read on the couch, have some tea on the porch (or again on the couch if you like it so much). The point is to have a fixed place for resting. So, if you want to nap during the day, where do you go? To your bed, that’s right! Then after napping, get up and resume your daily activities.

  • Stay physically active. It will considerably improve your sleep. Try to adapt your exercising routine to your level of energy. It is preferable to exercise in the morning, like I myself choose to do, but it depends on how tired you feel Don’t overdo it by pushing to hard. Keep it light and efficient, just enough to get your blood flowing and muscles stretched. It will alow you to reduce stress, impove your mood and help you with weightoss. I personally enjoy yoga, stretching and deep breathing right after I wake up (and after I have a glass of lemon water to clense my body from all those toxins it released during the night).

  • Having a poor diet exhausts your body. Your eating habits play an important role in managing fatigue. Eating foods that are high in nutrients will boost your energy levels and nourish your body, making it more resillient and ready to face the daily MS challenges. Having your meals at the same times everyday, keeps your body knowing when it will receive a new recharge and makes it less prone to headaches or tension. Size DOES matter in this case! Large meals make you feel tired afterwards. Try eating frequent, lighter meals. For example, try eating three main meals and two snacks throughout the day (no, I don’t mean Oreos!). And don’t miss that breakfast! It gives you a fabulous kickstart (or a kick in the behind if you skip it!).

  • Having your kitchen organized and cool at all times makes it easier for you to cook, eat and enjoy your meals, without the burdain of fatigue lingering by. Choose to cook in bulk / batches, and store the food into the freezer so it will be ready some other day you need it. A personal tip that I can give you is to gather all of your ingredients and utensils in advance and line them on the table in front of you. Even lining them in the order you have to mix them in is helpful. I have been doing this even before I was diagnosed with MS. Try it and tell me how was it.

  • Also, try to maintain a healthy weight. It boosts your energy levels sky-high and it will also help with your self-esteem issues. I messed up this part, as I gained weight after receiving my diagnosis after eating a whole lot of junk just to keep my emotions in place. Big fail! Eat healthy and get rid of bottled juices, pizza, chocolate (I know, I’m evil! But I also have a delicious coconut chocolate recipe that I will soon share with you, in a future post). You get it! Eliminate all that your grandma wouldn’t see as food and you’ll start feeling better (plus the scale will drop a few pounds… just sayin’).

  • Drink enough water to keep you hydrated and to flush those toxins out! Dehydration causes tiredness and makes you feel slugghish (like I’m feeling right now… let me grab some water!). But careful with the salt intake! You don’t want to become bloated, as that will mke you feel shitty as well. Drink as much as one liter and a half - two liters, but don’t overdo it (you remember those frequent trips to the bathroom, right? That’s what I thought!).

Fatigued All Day, Can’t Sleep at Night?

And what about that insomnia that kicks in right after you get into bed feeling exhausted?! Kick it to the curve by following a sleeping routine.

  • Try not getting overtired during the day, rest and mind your energy levels.
  • Eat a light meal, and do not drink coffee or any tea that contains caffeine.
  • Ditch TV, smartphone, tablet, laptop… you name it. If it has a blueish screen and it’s glowing right before your tired eyes, it’s gotta go. Period!
  • Go take a shower and then do some light stretches. It helps you relax and feel at ease. Plus it helps with some of your digestion.
  • Make to-do lists for all your tasks for the following day, getting them off your mind when it’s time to go to sleep.
  • If sleep won’t come, don’t stay in bed. Focus on something else. Read a book, go take another warm shower, pour yourself a nice cup of herbal tea (no caffeine!) or do some light stretches. Distract your mind from trying to force yourself to sleep. Keep a notebook on your nightstand, as to be able to free your mind of any ideas, concerns or plans that might come up and keep you awake.

This is it, my dears! I hope you’ve enjoy this article and you find it useful in your daily life. I have personally tried most of the techniques presented here and I would love to hear what your experiences are like.

Untill the next article, have a wonderful day!