Fatigue is one of the hallmark symptoms of Fibromyalgia, and it’s probably the symptoms that I personally struggle with the most. It’s is all encompassing and can quickly take over your life, leaving you little to no control. Fatigue is hard to understand, which is why people with Fibromyalgia are told to “just sleep more” or “push through it, you’ll be fine.” However, those things are impossible when you have fatigue because it isn’t cured by rest, and pushing through it generally only makes it worse. So how are you supposed to cope with fatigue when none of the usual methods are effective?
Allow yourself to rest periodically, even when you aren’t feeling fatigued at that moment
When you live with constant fatigue and it improves for a short time it’s a natural reaction to want to try to get everything done you couldn’t do before. You will feel better if you continue to take periodic rests throughout the day so your body isn’t overtaxed. You may even have to schedule your rest time so that you aren’t tempted to do something else.
Don’t try to push through it
Fatigue is not like tiredness, you can’t push through it without encountering consequences. Trying to push through fatigue only puts a strain on your body. Listen to your body’s limits. Set your own pace and stick to it. You will get pressure from other people to ignore your fatigue, but just say no. If you have a hard time telling people no you may want to practice your responses ahead of time so you are prepared.
We all like to roll our eyes when doctors suggest exercise for Fibromyalgia, because they envision us doing high intensity workouts that are a pipe dream. However, gentle, light exercise can be very helpful for people with Fibromyalgia, even if it’s only a few minutes. Everyone’s body is different, and only you know what will work for you, but some light stretching and gentle yoga can really help with the physical pain and the mental strain that come with Fibromyalgia. Improving those can have an impact on levels of fatigue.
Choose your priorities
You’re not going to be able to do everything you want to do, so you have to prioritize what is the most important. I like to make lists of all the things I need to do and then I pick the top tasks that I think I’ll have energy for. Everything else I ignore because I know there isn’t anything I can do about it that day. I don’t dwell on the tasks I don’t have energy for because that would just suck out more energy. Overall, I tend to prioritize my family and friends over other tasks because that’s what is the most important to me, but my list changes day by day.
This looks different for everyone. I love to read a good book, spend some time coloring, or going outside and enjoying nature. You need to find what rejuvenates you and makes you feel peaceful and fulfilled. As you take care of your mental health, it helps you to have better coping strategies when it comes to your physical health.
Unfortunately there is no magic answer to Fibromyalgia fatigue. It’s a frustrating symptom because it’s completely unpredictable. No matter how much you try to pace yourself and carefully control for it, fatigue often hits you out of nowhere. However, I’ve found that following these steps will make a small dent in the amount of fatigue I feel and helps my overall physical and mental well being.