How to combat fatigue

Here’s my bossy little list of ideas on how to combat fatigue. Apart from the fact that I love writing lists – shopping lists, to-do lists, lists of other lists that I want to write – this process has helped me so much in times when my brain is overwhelmed and I am so tired that I feel like I’ve got absolutely no control. Anyone who goes through periods of fatigue, anxiety, depression, stress, overwork or just a longer-than-normal illness may benefit from any of these. Or maybe you can help someone you know by reading about it. Remember that we all deserve to take care of ourselves (It has only taken me 39 years to work this out).

  1. Stay positive. This can be tricky, especially if you feel nervous about your symptoms and have such a tired brain and body that the simple act of having a shower feels like a massive task that will make you need a lie down afterwards.
  2. Have a lie down afterwards. If you have a shower and feel like you need a lie down afterwards, have a lie down afterwards. Even if it’s just for 5 mins. It will help. I find that lying as flat as possible with a cushion or yoga block under my head if I’m feeling a bit dizzy helps the most. Much more so than sitting on the sofa in an awkward position. And if you have children to look after, play “bedtimes” and let your children tuck you and their dolls in with a blanket. Don’t ever dismiss an opportunity to lie down. Even if it’s really short, a bit interrupted, and you have plastic arms and legs digging into your ribs.
  3. Eat properly. As much freshly cooked, nourishing food as possible. Loads of fruit and vegetables. Loads of water and herbal tea (camomile is my fave when I’m feeling a bit done-in because it helps me sleep better at night and relax during the day). Freshly cooked, easy to digest food is definitely best. If it’s cold outside, eat vegetable soup. If it’s summer, eat a big salad with loads of different ingredients and an olive oil dressing.
  4. Book a relaxing massage. Always a winner. If nothing else, you deserve it. It has never not helped me during periods of fatigue.
  5. Fit in some exercise every day. If this is walking the length of the garden, or cycling the length of the country, it doesn’t matter. Just fit in what is appropriate for you and your body at the time.
  6. Practice breathing properly. And then breathe properly. Consciously, with awareness. A lot.
  7. Meditate. As regularly as possible. And build it up gradually. There are lots of CDs, apps and classes available to help you. And if you are too exhausted, get someone to find some for you.
  8. Do some yoga. As regularly as possible. Don’t be put off if you aren’t very physically able. Yoga is for everyone and as long as it is practiced safely and within your own limits, it will always make you feel better, if not amazing. There are lots of ways to practise yoga including in a chair if necessary.
  9. Write realistic lists. Gradually as you start to feel a bit more able,  give yourself a list of 3 smallish tasks a day and be well-chuffed if you do one of them. Be over the moon if you do more than one, but don’t do any if the thought of it stresses you out.
  10. Delegate. Be clear about what you need and what will help you. Don’t be shy to ask. If you are not clear, you probably won’t get what you need.
  11. Accept help. But only as long as it is helpful.
  12. Rest your brain. It’s much like a muscle, so it gets tired too. And allow your senses to rest as well. Meditation (see no. 7) is good for this, as is giving yourself some time away from the TV/iPhone/Laptop/Tablet/Kindle etc.
  13. Go to bed early. Cosy up with the radio or a good book until you feel sleepy (again, camomile tea is my saviour at times like this when I am feeling unsettled and nervous about my health).
  14. Have patience. Accept that it is likely that you won’t see a dramatic improvement for a while. But it will come if you regulate your body with a balanced and healthy routine.
  15. Say no. If you know that an arrangement will exhaust you, postpone, or even better cancel. Rearrange when you are feeling MUCH better so that there is no pressure to feel better by a certain time.
  16. Remember you deserve support. Don’t feel guilty about asking others who don’t have MS/fatigue/depression/exhausting children for help. That’s what friends and family are for. People won’t help if they can’t or don’t want to, and they certainly won’t if you never ask them. And bear in mind that they have probably offered their help over and over already.
  17. Be kind to yourself. By doing all of the above. For as long as you need and as much as you need. Your health is what matters above all else.


  1. babycrow · November 17, 2015

    Thanks Lynne, I think your bossy list is exemplary! It’s exactly the sort of practice I try to employ to help ME/CFS symptoms. Like you being kind to self has been a lesson of about 4 decades! Thank you for sharing this!


    • Lynne Jarrett · November 17, 2015

      thanks for your kind words! I’m pleased to hear that i am not alone in my thoughts on how to best manage a long term condition. Good to hear it makes sense to you too x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lindsey · November 17, 2015

    I’m starring this email *and* bookmarking this page. These are such wise words for all of us, even those lucky enough to not have MS.


    • Lynne Jarrett · November 17, 2015

      thanks Lindsey. I have been forced to take extra special care of myself over the last few years, but yes it’s so important for everyone. Pleased you liked the post x


  3. Pingback: My Christmas Survival List | Life in my MS-y house

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