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Posted on 3. January 2013

Five Ways to Fight Fatigue

By Annaben Kazemi

Living with a chronic illness is not easy for either patients or their caregivers. As a busy mom, my days are already pretty full and hectic, but the days can feel especially long when I’m caring for my sick child whose unrelenting chronic illness is flaring up. Being up all night when she’s sick and then pulling a long day with her at the clinic can take its toll. There are days when both of us wish we could crawl back into bed!

It’s tough not being able to rest when I want to or need to, but taking a moment to take care of myself can give me the energy I need to temporarily keep going. Yet, while a good respite works wonders, it’s not always feasible. So over time, I’ve come up with some techniques that help me push through the tiredness.

While not every one of these suggestions works every time, using a combination to fight the fatigue has worked wonders for me:

  1. Taking a deep breath
    Deep breathing helps in the delivery of oxygen to our body’s cells, carries nutrients in the blood stream, and takes away toxins via the lymphatic system. Science has shown that proper breathing helps the body detoxify and become less susceptible to fatigue. Taking just a few slow deep breaths will automatically make me feel better and more awake.
  2. Drinking water
    One of the reasons I get tired when I’m busy is that I forget to drink water. Dehydration reduces the blood volume that creates fatigue. Juice, soft drinks and even energy drinks are full of sugars that actually cause dehydration. Water hydrates best, so I keep a bottle near and make it a habit of drinking a little whenever I feel tired. I am surprised how quickly just drinking water can get rid of my lethargy.
  3. Get moving
    Sometimes fatigue is caused by inertia, especially when sitting in a clinic or hospital all day. But if I get up and move, I feel more awake. Movement of any type creates an increased blood flow that in turn increases energy and fights fatigue. All I have to do is get up, stretch a little bit and walk around. I try to do this at least every hour so that I break the pattern of sluggishness.
  4. Listening to music
    Music can help trick my mind into feeling less fatigue. It distracts me so that I’m not concentrating on my energy or exertion level, but just enjoying the music. This distraction is also helpful in preventing boredom when mundane tasks are required, like sitting in a waiting room. I just pull out my headphones, plug in my iPod/MP3 player and start listening to my favorite upbeat playlist. Soon I am distracted from my fatigue.
  5. Laughing
    Laughter has a lot of benefits, such as releasing higher levels of endorphins, which makes me feel better. This gets rid of any feelings of being tired. As a matter of fact, recent studies have shown that even the anticipation of laughter increases endorphin levels. I don’t even have to laugh out loud; simply finding something amusing is beneficial. Sometimes, I start reading some jokes online or watch some funny videos on YouTube. And I notice that once I start laughing, I’m not as tired.

Using any and sometimes even all of these techniques has helped me to feel more awake and more energized until I can get the real rest I need. When I take the time to refresh, I am better able to manage the challenges that come with having a sick family member.

If you are having one of those days were you are just tired but have to keep going, try using one or more of these techniques. They have worked for me. What works for you?


Comments (6) -

12:54 PM on Friday, January 04, 2013

I can tell you that I do all of the above.  Today I have exercised for 90 minutes.  I am drinking my third bottle of water.  I am listening to Telephone by Byonce and laughing and smiling at the same time.  I also stop and just breathe deep to increase blood flow.  Getting up is so difficult that you have to pry me out of bed and I can fall asleep by 5-6pm.  I can't drive in the evening for fear that I will fall asleep even if I drive with my radio on full blast and the window open!  PIDD just kicks my butt, however without the Hizentra I can't imagine what my life would be like.  The pain in my lower back and neck were so bad before my diagnosis.  Right now, my hair is just falling out all over the place.  Just a matter of time before I will need a wig!  Support with this illness is so needed as even my family can't understand it.

8:19 AM on Saturday, January 05, 2013

Good reminders! Of course for those of us with PID, there are days when nothing seems to make a difference, especially when we're sick. Though even then the music helps fight back the depression and laughter is always a good thing. I'd like to add meditation to the list. I'm not consistent with it, but during the times I have been, it's been helpful as well.

I appreciate the reminders!

10:52 AM on Saturday, January 05, 2013

"Support with this illness is so needed as even my family can't understand it." That comment posted by DESPERATE on 12:54 pm on Friday Jan. 4 , 2013, is so sad and so true. I have one 50 year old son who brought his family for Christmas. I have been diagnosed with CVID for 4 1/2 years. My son came with fever, cough--the whole nine yards. After everybody went home, I landed in the hospital with FLU-a horible experience. My sister who does understand asked, "Why did they come anyway?" I answered, "Because they do not understand."
Everybody has a life, and whatever is going on there is the most important. A girl in our support group said her husband left here after four weeks,saying, "You're just lazy!"
God bless us all. Everyone.

julia richardson
9:07 PM on Sunday, February 24, 2013

I have had CVID for many years... now have ridicular neuopathy, burning stabbing thrashing my feet during the night...does anyone else have this... one neurologist said it may be coming from CVID. Anyone?

Betty Potter
9:51 PM on Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Hi, great article.
I know how it feels. I used to get exhaust from my daily routine and I used to feel miserable. But the best way to keep yourself free from this is daily exercise, right amount of water intake, good sleep and keeping balance in your work and social life.
Recently, I bought salt lamps and they helped a lot in reducing my depression and anxiety which I used to suffer almost daily before using them. These will provide a relaxing and calm environment for you to sit back and unwind tensions and stress from the daily routine.The glowing light of orange and yellow gives a serene feeling. I recommend these salt lamps for healthy, peaceful atmosphere at your place. I bought them from Saltean, you can check their website if you want.

Marie Thomas
10:03 PM on Wednesday, April 04, 2018

These are some great tips to fight fatigue. I usually listen to music to relieve my stress and fatigue. Recently I heard about a natural way to relieve stress and daily fatigue, which is Himalayan salt lamp. So, I bought these lamps and placed them in my office and bedroom. I must say these lamps actually work. They purify the air and help me in relieving stress and fatigue. I feel much light with these lamps on. You can visit http://www.ittefaq.co/ to know more about these lamps.

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