Depression and stress can leave you exhausted. It feels like some sort of veil is being dropped over my brain and there is no way of reaching it, to put the ‘on’ button on on again. Last night I was so tired I forgot to close the tap in the bathroom before going to bed. In the morning I was met with a very unhappy boyfriend scolding me that the-one-who-always-wants-to-preserve-water isn’t following her own advice. And the dog vomited on the floor in the dining room. Welcome to a day in my life.
I’ve been dealing with fatigue for a long while now. First it was really really bad when I was too tired to eat and had to lay down with immense hunger in my stomach. After a long while, the help of medication and a night guard I manage to have a decent night of sleep. Isn’t the problem solved one might ask. Not really as I don’t feel rejuvenated after a 10 hours night’s sleep.
My doctor recommended more physical activity during the day, so I would be more tired at night. I started to use an app to undertake some exercising. That does help a lot and I slept better for a period of time. Then I guess I overdid it somewhere because I found myself depleted of energy even before starting to exercise. I gave myself a rest and plan to resume my fitness journey the month to come.
My physical fatigue seems to stem from mental exhaustion, better known as my old friend ‘stress’. The more continuous stress on my mind, the more combating I need to do to get ahead in life. This translates itself in a very heavy feeling in my legs. It takes effort to move ahead. The next best thing, would be to take some rest when possible.
I’ve noticed that I’m not that resilient anymore and that some small efforts can take a lot of mental resources. What I try to do to find a way around that problem is to be careful when and what I spend energy on. It is very tempting to ‘forget’ about your illness and struggles, only to find yourself at the bottom of the pit again.
For me it helps to keep a friendly routine and to stick with it. That routine means a fixed sleep schedule, three meals a day, household work and physical activity in the mornings and reading and relaxing in the afternoon. Off course, there are many appointments with doctors, job placement centers, therapists and the apothecary to attend. And errands won’t do itself magically overnight.
As I’m managing, with the help of Pierre to actually eat three meals a day, I sometimes feel a little ‘dip’. Due to weight loss I try not to eat too much but I snack on fruit during meals to see if that can help me in the energy department.
As for extra physical activity I’ve found the active 10 app from the NHS. It is supposed to keep your brisk or not that brisk walks on track. You can get goals and adjust them. Me and Pierre also sometimes do a little dance in the living room as a dance party is forbidden due to Corona. It is quite important that moving is a part of your day and that it happens in a fun way.
I’m trying out if mindfulness can help me to let some of the stress go, to relieve some of the stress, to unwind the mind as much as possible. This takes practice and discipline. It promises good things and as long as I’m not met with adverse effects, I will see where that journey might leave me.
So those are my strategies to combat fatigue at this point in time. To recapitulate:
- Get to know where your fatigue is coming from. It can be from (mental) illness or stress.
- Care about your energy and spend it wisely. Be prepared to manage it like your household budget.
- A friendly routine can be your best friend. Get into healthy eating and sleeping habits.
- Move during your day. Fit some acts of fun activity in your schedule, do what you like.
- Try to unwind the mind at a set time. Be mindful about what is going on on the inside.
Have you ever dealt with exhaustion or fatigue? Have you discovered some tips to deal with it or even better, to improve fatigue? Please share in the comments what you think.