Author Topic: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?  (Read 2696 times)

SimpleCycle

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Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« on: November 29, 2018, 07:20:37 PM »
Iíve been exhausted lately, and am wondering what everyone does to keep their energy up.

I have a bunch of medical conditions that can cause fatigue - hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, and depression.  All those conditions are well treated and have been under control, but I am following up with my doctors to make sure all the medical bases are covered.  I also have two small kids, so Iím up with them 2-3 nights a week.  I donít get enough exercise, especially because the fatigue means Iíve been skipping my walking commute and opting for the bus.  It just feels like a viscous cycle.

What anti-fatigue measures have the most ďbang for your proverbial buckĒ?  Thoughts on how to find the energy to do the things I need to do to feel better?

ixtap

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2018, 07:47:19 PM »
Proper nutrition

Yoga

Short walks (~10 minutes)

And some times you just need sleep. I have a new med that totally wipes me out.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2018, 08:01:53 PM »
First up: sympathy. I have a toddler, lupus and fibro. The struggle is real.

Sleep is obviously the biggest thing for me, but exercise is the next best (for my particular physical limitations, walking or cautious weight training is ideal). Nutrition doesn't make as much of a difference for me as getting a half hour walk everyday.

Things that help, but less than sleep, walking and nutrition: getting time outdoors every day. Getting the right mix of people time and introvert time (difficult with kids!). Setting good boundaries so I don't get used up emotionally, and being very choosey about who I spend time with. Therapy has been helpful. Being on the right meds (another obvious one! but still needs to be said). Taking iron and vitamin D, because I can't keep my levels up without supplements.

The only thing that has helped me find the energy to do the things that make me feel better has been cutting out other things. I only work part-time, I don't study on top of work, we're spacing our kids to minimise impact on my health and sleep, we have a cleaner, we live close to work and amenities... My whole life is pretty much arranged around enabling self-care. Much easier said than done, particularly for people who get diagnosed after they already have kids. Also, no point trying to do anything but sleep if I'm having a flare-up. When my disease is crushing me I just have to wait it out and then start up again with the fatigue reducing activities when I'm capable (this is also enforced by my medical team - I'm not allowed to do more than 15 minutes of gentle walking a day when I'm badly flared, for example).

Given the time of year, and assuming you're in the northern hemisphere, I wonder if lack of daylight could be contributing?

Poundwise

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2018, 08:59:51 PM »
The only thing that has helped me find the energy to do the things that make me feel better has been cutting out other things. I only work part-time, I don't study on top of work, we're spacing our kids to minimise impact on my health and sleep, we have a cleaner, we live close to work and amenities... My whole life is pretty much arranged around enabling self-care.

Hear hear!!

Currently I'm trying to enforce a "no eating after 9pm" rule.  I'm tired and ready for a treat at night, so I eat, then I gain weight, then I feel cold and sluggish, then I don't have the energy to go out and get some walkies.  And it continues.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2018, 09:16:03 PM »
Sorry you're dealing with all this =(

Yeah a huge thing when you're dealing with chronic conditions: exercise looks different than you might think. Like HaH mentioned, walks are incredible! They're low enough impact they are unlikely to trigger a flare, unlike a lot of higher impact options like weight lifting or running. So think low and slow, and low impact- swimming, walking, gentle yoga flows. It'll make a big difference for most people and be way more sustainable.

Sleep for sure. If you have trouble with sleep when there isn't an obvious cause (like kids keeping you up) let me know and I can wax poetic on sleep hygiene. I consider myself an "insomniac in remission". Basically, when I do all my Routines, I sleep really well. But as soon as things slip, I can go back to insomnia super easily.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2018, 09:22:33 PM »
Basically, when I do all my Routines, I sleep really well. But as soon as things slip, I can go back to insomnia super easily.

Oh yes, this. Sleep hygiene is SO IMPORTANT.

FIFoFum

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2018, 10:52:45 PM »
It may sound obvious, but if it's in the budget - additional childcare help. 

1. Less fatigue because 2 small children is already exhausting, before adding medical conditions and life stuff.
2. You can use some of the time saved to sleep more or catch up on other anti-fatigue types of self-care (whether it's exercise, massage, a bath or whatever).

BlueHouse

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2018, 07:37:04 AM »
Cut out all caffeine.  Drink only water -- and a lot of it.

Do this for two or three months and see if you feel better.  Caffeine has very strong effects on all members of my family.  Some admitted it early and others (me) are still fighting the idea.  I never thought it affected my sleep until I stopped all soda and caffeine for 5 months -- that's how long it took for my system to recover the first time.  Now I might go on a caffeine binge for a few weeks, but it only takes a week or two to recover and start sleeping again. 

rdaneel0

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2018, 08:01:13 AM »
I have a physical disability that results in lots of pain, and of course pain makes you tired. For me working out regularly, avoiding too much caffeine, and eating really well helps. I also just started a 3 month teetotal experiment and I have to say I have so much more energy it's shocking, and I was a fairly standard social drinker, not pounding liquor all day or anything like that. I've also been fortunate enough to construct my life so that it's very low stress and not demanding. I realize that's not possible for everyone, though.

ETA: For finding energy to work out when you don't feel like it/are in pain, I remind myself "I am not going to die from being a little tired and pushing through a workout". I also remind myself that I have never regretted a workout. Sometimes I also make a deal with myself where I agree to work out for just 10 minutes. I know I can get through 10 minutes of anything, and usually once I hit 10 minutes I want to keep going. Another trick is I remind myself "my muscles don't care how tired I feel" so even if I'm tired while working out, and move a bit slower, I am still getting the net benefit of the workout.

One more tip! I finally spent the money to create a little home gym and it has made a life changing difference in my working out ability. My pain is extremely unpredictable and having workout space at home allows me to take advantage of the good pockets I have whenever I have them (sometimes I work out in the middle of the night if I feel good)! And before you think you don't have room for it, I live in a 475 square foot apartment. All I have is a therabike, some light hand weights, ankle weights, therabands, and a padded mat (I can't lay on the floor). It's seriously changed my life.

Working out is the most important thing for my well being in terms of weight management but also pain control and promoting good sleep.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2018, 08:09:26 AM by rdaneel0 »

mm1970

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2018, 10:51:33 AM »
Iíve been exhausted lately, and am wondering what everyone does to keep their energy up.

I have a bunch of medical conditions that can cause fatigue - hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, and depression.  All those conditions are well treated and have been under control, but I am following up with my doctors to make sure all the medical bases are covered.  I also have two small kids, so Iím up with them 2-3 nights a week.  I donít get enough exercise, especially because the fatigue means Iíve been skipping my walking commute and opting for the bus.  It just feels like a viscous cycle.

What anti-fatigue measures have the most ďbang for your proverbial buckĒ?  Thoughts on how to find the energy to do the things I need to do to feel better?

The no sleep / too tired to exercise is a vicious cycle.

I don't have any ideas, except to make time for sleep and exercise.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2018, 11:08:38 AM »
In addition to what others have said about exercise, if you haven't done so already, I would eliminate all sugar,  white flour (whole grain or don't eat it) and any "manufactured carbohydrates" from your diet.  This will, among other things tend to keep your glucose levels more stable.

BlueHouse

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2018, 11:16:03 AM »
In addition to what others have said about exercise, if you haven't done so already, I would eliminate all sugar,  white flour (whole grain or don't eat it) and any "manufactured carbohydrates" from your diet.  This will, among other things tend to keep your glucose levels more stable.

This is really hard to commit to as a forever change.  (it is for me anyway).  I'd encourage the OP to get a book or google "Elimination Diet".  At first you start with eliminating almost everything, and then you add items back in one by one until you find something that doesn't sit well with you.  It's a bit more manageable to handle eliminating things if you know it's not forever OR if you know the consequences of what it does to you.  For instance, my knee pain is completely gone until I eat corn (corn, corn chips, etc) and then the next day, I walk down the stairs looking like an 85-year-old man! 

Sugar does have some symptoms, but not nearly the same for me, so when I indulge, I choose something sweet and avoid corn like the plague.  Much easier to turn down chips and salsa when you can say "I'll have that piece of cake instead"  :) 

Meowmalade

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2018, 11:24:27 AM »
Following.  I never thought about exercise/walking to help fatigue.  Going outside when I'm exhausted seems counter-intuitive.

Slow&Steady

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2018, 12:31:25 PM »
Are you getting the correct about of vitamin D?

My energy plummets when the weather changes and I don't get as much natural vitamin D (sunshine).  I started taking a vit D supplement this winter and it has helped dramatically.

big_owl

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2018, 12:58:31 PM »
I suffer from chronic pain and the mild depression  (and insomnia) that comes with it.  For me it's key to be very active.  I was extremely active and fit before this all started and due to the pain my workouts suffered which led to depression and insomnia.  I have now started weightlifting again and though I'm still in pain pretty much 24/7, I find I have something to look forward to again and my sleep and depressiin has improved and my pain is even somewhat reduced (and I'm less tired).  For a while I needed Ambien to get through the night but now I only need it on rare occasions.  I also find that avoiding alcohol is a big help. 

seemsright

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2018, 08:01:12 PM »
Vitamin D was magic for me. I take a high does every day. But I got tested and I was low and I live in the PNW. So I take high amount just to be safe. Doing so has helped my energy and depression.

Ditch booze. I feel so much better with out it. I love the idea of pouring a glass of wine after my little goes to bed..but ditching it I have lost about 5# in about 2.5 weeks. I am making myself a hot cup of decaf tea instead of wine. It is hitting the spot just the same.

I started to workout less. I was trying to go hard at the gym 4 to 5 times a week. I am not going easy just 3 and trying to get in a few walks in every week. My energy is up. I am eating a ton more carbs...ditch the wine and I can eat a ton of bread and potatoes and drop body fat...and not workout hard. I have so much more energy it is insane. Life is no longer a struggle.

MDfive21

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2018, 10:40:07 AM »
i've always been a light sleeper.  what works best for me is to get body rest even if my mind is awake.  blacked out room, silence or some soothing music, no one else in the room making noise. 

cutting carbs helped a lot, but as mentioned food intake is tricky.  experiment and figure out what works for you.

i added a low dose of melatonin to the routine a few months ago and i feel it helps me get to sleep and i wake up feeling more refreshed.  MIT figured out the ideal dose is 300 micrograms (MCG), so find one like that.  most melatonin supplements are waaay too high a dose.

http://slatestarcodex.com/2018/07/10/melatonin-much-more-than-you-wanted-to-know/

EconDiva

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2018, 06:42:18 PM »
For me it's getting proper sleep.  Here's the things that help me with that (chronic insomniac/always seem to be battling depression):

-Keeping a routine
-Earbuds and white noise music
-Occasional xanax
-Ensuring no sources of light are on no matter how small
-Exercise, but not within an hour or two of sleeping
-Avoid large meals at night
-No dessert (I have a BAD bad addiction to sugar, would eat sweets in the bed literally most nights...and on rare occasions wake up and "sleep eat" something sugary!  Never realized just how much the sugar was playing a role in keeping my up although it seems obvious.)

Lastly, I just discovered melatonin.  Tried it mannny years ago and didn't work.  I think it's actually helping now although I need a bit more time to determine if this is actually the case.

Apologies if many of the items I listed were already mentioned.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2018, 06:59:45 PM »
Have lupus, am often exhausted. My energy management is more at a weekly level than daily. For example, I challenged myself to work out every day in November, but pushed too hard, and need a few days to recover.

Sleep hygiene for me means. . . no electronics for an hour before bed. I don't watch TV, so this is a laptop in my case. Consistent bed time. Cool sleeping area. Reading before bed helps me unwind. Limit caffeine as much as possible. As I get older, I also find that I have to limit alcohol to, at most, two glasses of wine.

I also try to meditate, which makes it easier for me to fall asleep.

Working out helps so much, but it's really a hard step to mentally make the hurdle & do it.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2018, 02:13:46 AM »
Are you getting the correct about of vitamin D?

My energy plummets when the weather changes and I don't get as much natural vitamin D (sunshine).  I started taking a vit D supplement this winter and it has helped dramatically.

In Norway they put vitamin D in the milk. So every milkdrinker gets a daily dose.

mspym

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2018, 03:10:36 AM »
People have covered most of what works for me (sleep hygiene, no booze, mind the caffeine, sustainable exercise) but I find even a small walk outside in the middle of the day helps me reset. Even 15 min around the  block is enough fresh air and break from work that I can tackle the afternoon without the stress build up I get if I work through

Fig

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #21 on: December 05, 2018, 03:25:51 AM »
I have fibro, plus hypermobility syndrome, plus an overdeveloped work ethic, so lots of fatigue. The thing I find really hard but effective is pacing - breaking each activity down into sections and taking breaks in between, before it feels necessary. The more tired I am, the harder it is to have this discipline, but it can help a lot.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #22 on: December 05, 2018, 04:24:12 AM »
For sleep hygiene: I find that doing a high concentration, but boring task late in the evening, makes me sleep very well. I am currently translating part of a book, typing in one and one Latin species name on a website and retrieving the Norwegian name, which I write in the book. I do a couple of chapters per session. (zzzzzzzz)

Poundwise

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #23 on: December 05, 2018, 09:26:51 AM »
It also helps to reduce ambient noise when possible.  I find that having a fan or the washing machine on constantly is subtly exhausting.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2018, 11:17:01 AM »
Thank you everyone for all the things to think about.

@MDfive21, I've known about the melatonin thing for a long time - I use Natrol liquid to get the right dose.  I'm glad I'm not the only nerd who went to the source literature. :)

I'm definitely revisiting some stuff about sleep hygiene I've gotten sloppy about.  I actually used to have terrible insomnia and did online CBT for insomnia (highly recommend!) and it helped a ton, so it's worth going back to what has worked in the past.

I think I really need to moderate or eliminate my caffeine use.  It's become a way to patch over energy difficulties, but I suspect it's doing more harm than good at this point.

Thanks to everyone who recommended walking and milder versions of exercise.  Sometimes I have a hard time meeting myself where I am, and it's a good reminder.

StarBright

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #25 on: December 11, 2018, 01:04:01 PM »
I recently read Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker and it may sound absurd, but it was practically life-changing for me.

I have auto-immune issues and two little kids who are crappy sleepers so I definitely feel your pain. This is is what has worked for me since I read the book (most fall under the category of sleep hygiene):

  • Ditch Booze after 6pm - I can have a glass of wine while I make dinner but it truly does mess with the quality of my sleep if I have it much later
  • Make sure the house is cold at night 
  • Sleep in as little clothing as possible (we get too warm as we sleep)
  • Take a short, warm shower before bed
  • I have a "sleep ritual": About 30 minutes before I'm going to bed I get out my teapot, measure my water and make a cup of Turmeric tea (anti inflammatory) and sometimes add a little magnesium to it (I use magnesium instead of melatonin). This tells my body it is time for sleep. No screens after the sleep ritual has begun.

I also agree on the vitamin D, make sure you get your iron checked, and I chase sunshine and fresh air when I can get it early in the day. If the sun comes out I take a break and go stand outside in it for 10-15 minutes.

Good luck!

MDfive21

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #26 on: December 12, 2018, 06:42:04 AM »
here's matthew walker on rogan's podcast.  prepare to have your mind blown.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwaWilO_Pig

mm1970

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Re: Exhausted - tips for combating fatigue?
« Reply #27 on: December 12, 2018, 02:02:23 PM »
I recently read Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker and it may sound absurd, but it was practically life-changing for me.

I have auto-immune issues and two little kids who are crappy sleepers so I definitely feel your pain. This is is what has worked for me since I read the book (most fall under the category of sleep hygiene):

  • Ditch Booze after 6pm - I can have a glass of wine while I make dinner but it truly does mess with the quality of my sleep if I have it much later
  • Make sure the house is cold at night 
  • Sleep in as little clothing as possible (we get too warm as we sleep)
  • Take a short, warm shower before bed
  • I have a "sleep ritual": About 30 minutes before I'm going to bed I get out my teapot, measure my water and make a cup of Turmeric tea (anti inflammatory) and sometimes add a little magnesium to it (I use magnesium instead of melatonin). This tells my body it is time for sleep. No screens after the sleep ritual has begun.

I also agree on the vitamin D, make sure you get your iron checked, and I chase sunshine and fresh air when I can get it early in the day. If the sun comes out I take a break and go stand outside in it for 10-15 minutes.

Good luck!
My husband bought me this book last year and I read it this year.  It was amazing!  I was already well on my way to better sleep (through a variety of things, including Unisom to help me go BACK to sleep after I wake up to pee).

I'd already figured out the booze thing, though for me it's more like 5 pm.  Because I go to bed at 9.

I've been consistently getting 8-8.5 hours a night for the last 6 months.  It's glorious.