Fibro Blog #3 Fighting Fatigue

Fibro Blog #3 Fighting Fatigue

"And the award for person able to act functionally under a crap load of pain goes to... ME!"

Mood: 🥺
Pain: 4/10
Fatigue: 4/10

Lockdown 2.0 has begun. Everyone, not just spoonies, suffer with sleepiness when trapped at home under pile of pillows. Winter has brought the change in clocks, the mornings are early and grey, followed by afternoons that look like night. Tired eyes are contagious at this time of year. Wet and cold weather may trigger certain tender points on the body, causing more aches than usual. The darker surroundings can leave the brain groggy and confused. 

Top Tips for Fatigue

1. Cut down on caffeine and sugar. These stimulants negatively impact sleep.

2. Have good sleep hygiene. For example, don’t use electronics before bed.

3. Regular bedtimes ensure an ample amount of rest.

4. Cut out power naps. They ruin your sleep.

5. Take short breaks  no matter what the activity or pain level. 

6. Don’t overcommit by piling responsibilities on your plate.

7. Eat more fruit for an immediate energy boost. 

8. Exercise more to boost endurance in daily life.

9. Invest in a quality mattress to ease back pain.

10. Sleep stories or sleep music for restless nights. 

Chronic conditions that cause sleeplessness, insomnia, exhaustion and fatigue can impact the critical REM sleep gained having effects on restoration of cognitive abilities. This is not limited to fibromyalgia. For example, CFS – chronic fatigue syndrome – is fatigue heavy on the symptoms. 

Ironically, many medications to treat these patients include side-effects of drowsiness due to sedatives used for muscle relaxants, anti-anxiety and nerve-blockers. These should be taken at night. Any drowsy pain killers are to be avoided, or taken at night.  

Spoonies should avoid ingesting too much sugar, caffeine and other stimulants which can causes crashes and keep us awake at night. They’re also addictive, creating problematic mood swings that may be harmful to interpersonal relationships. Keep the bedroom relatively cool at night, turn off technology an hour before bed and never drink caffeine after 2pm. 

I say all this from a place of love, knowing how hard it is to consistently pick the things that are best for you over the things that may feel best at the time. It can be easy to give this advice, read this advice, rather than to follow it by instruction. The benefits are worth the costs. 

One way to start the day is with mindfulness, stretching (yoga, Pilates or tai-chi) or exercise such as a brisk walk, swim or cycle. Wake up the body naturally without the use of various chemicals. 

Vitamin d supplements and light boxes can be handy for dealing with the reduction in sunlight. Check back at a later date for our reviews on the options for vitamin d lamps. 

 

Pacing is important to avoid burnout. There is a risk of becoming trapped in a cycle of over-doing on good pain days. triggering bad flare ups, and then under-doing on those days. The tale of The Tortoise and The Hare comes to mine. 

Intoxicants like alcohol and drugs seem to temporarily lessen symptoms but these ease is quickly replaced by depenency worsening the inital problems.

Swapping coffee for decaff or tea for herbal is a small quick fix to one problem, but what about the others?

There are affordable budget prices for therapy lamps, vitamin d supplements and massage cushions (see H0medics). Available free on android and iPhone are apps designed to help track moods, pain, and bring chronic ill people together through virtual networking. There are fibromyalgia communities online, apps, and forums for chronically ill people. Pain and ailments can alienate a person from their community and using online pillars they are able to find belonging to a group with similar ideals. 

Remember...

If counting sheep doesn’t work, try reading a challenging book, meditating, listening to the radio or a podcast. 

When people struggle to sleep, it’s an indication that their mind is preoccupied on a particular part of their life. Normally, one of crisis, challenge or personal value. If experiencing regularly disturbed sleep it is worth considering the situations going on in your daily life and if any conflicts can be identified for resolution. 

Emotions such as anger are misdirected in the people it is aimed toward. Anger manifests itself in scenarios irrelevant to the source of the anger. Any emotions, especially the stronger ones like anger and sadness, left unattended can rot away causing collateral damage to the relationships and responsibilities in our lives. 

In the case of fibromyalgia, these feelings can resonate in our bodies. The trigger points may swell. Spasms may erupt. Aches exist where they wouldn’t before. To take care of your physical health, emotions need to be worked with and not against. 

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