Don’t let fatigue get you down this winter
What is fatigue
Fatigue is “extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness”. I suffer from fatigue as a result of my Breast cancer treatment but even before my treatment I used to get quite fatigued in the winter months mainly because I used to feel low with Seasonal Affective Disorder.
How I feel when I am fatigued
When my fatigue kicks in, it is such an effort to move everything seems 100 times harder. Going upstairs to bed can be a challenge. Since our bathroom is downstairs it also adds that extra trip when I need the loo in the middle of the night. Sometimes I dream of having stairlift to help on the bad days but then obviously I don’t need it on good days, but it would still be fun whizzing up and down the stairs. I hear that they are not as slow as they used to be many years ago.
I tend to set myself up on the sofa when I am really lacking energy with everything I will need near me. I have read that exercise is the best thing to help combat fatigue but this is the last thing I feel like doing. I am quite lucky that I do not have any dependents so I am able to give myself some me time to get my energy levels up again.
I find if I have exerted myself then I pay for it for a couple of days, so I plan my schedule if I know I must go out and do something then the next few days I will plan nothing, so I can build my strength up again.
Christmas can be an exhausting time of year, so I plan ahead. I have been doing my grocery shopping online over the last few months. We have been getting bits of the Christmas food and drink shop when we have been doing our general food shopping so it is not such a big amount to get nearer the festive period. I hate crowds and start panicking at this time of year when the shops are so busy. I have my home delivery all sorted to arrive a few days before Christmas and if I have missed anything I have 1 day to run out and get last minute things.
Also, winter can make me feel more fatigued, the change in weather and suffering from SAD all adds to my lack of energy. I have a light that is supposed to help with SAD it is not having much affect at the moment but that might be because I keep forgetting to put it on… joking aside there is evidence that lamps can help with SAD so fingers crossed. If I don’t get too low in the winter months my mood and fatigue might not be as extreme.
I try to factor in fun things, so I have something to look forward too which can be a mood booster as I don’t want to get low as this also makes me feel less energised. I am drinking Matcha tea which hopefully is doing some good by now, have been drinking it for a few months. I am used to the taste now, so it goes down a lot better than it did when I first started drinking it.
Ways to cope with fatigue
This is one thing I struggle with I know I should be eating more fruit and vegetables but given the option of a nice healthy salad or a bag of chips I know what I am gonna choose. I am going to make this a priority of 2018 though to get a more healthy diet regime in my life.
This is going to be even harder as the Christmas period approaches, lots of parties and we have a great stocked home bar at the moment with alternative Christmas drinks which I cannot wait to try but I am going to be more sensible this year. Gone are the days of partying until 3am I am more interested in a couple of
bottles I mean glasses of prosecco and a chat with friends. To be honest it is the hangovers that put me off drinking so much now as they last for days and really do knock me down, but I think that’s more my age than anything else.
I am not going to avoid alcohol completely but will be sensible.
I would have thought this would have been the opposite because I remember having caffeine pills when I was a teenager to give me energy. NHS UK states that “The Royal College of Psychiatrists recommends that anyone feeling tired should cut out caffeine. It says the best way to do this is to gradually stop having all caffeine drinks (this includes coffee, tea and cola drinks) over a three-week period. Try to stay off caffeine completely for a month to see if you feel less tired without it. You may find that not consuming caffeine gives you headaches. If this happens, cut down more slowly on the amount of caffeine that you drink”
It isn’t just coffee that has caffeine in I was surprised to find out that hot chocolate also had it and this is my go to drink when I am feeling fatigued. There are also quite a lot more drinks and even food items that have caffeine including energy water drinks.
Obviously you want to sleep if you are tired but fatigue can be just the body that is tired and I sometimes find my mind is racing all over the place which makes it harder to actually sleep. It is important to try and keep to your usual sleeping regime. If I nap too much during the day then I can not sleep at night so I try to avoid this however if I really need a nap I will go and have 40 minutes I find that this time frame helps if I have any longer I feel even more drained.
Ask for help
If you can’t manage do ask for help do not struggle and don’t think you are a failure if you can’t manage to do everything.