When getting out of bed is asking too much: How to handle fatigue

Whether you’re dealing with fatigue due to a chronic health condition, a demanding job, a new baby, or something else, daily fatigue can make even the smallest tasks in life feel huge.

Whether you’re dealing with fatigue due to a chronic health condition, a demanding job, a new baby, or another issue, daily fatigue can make even the smallest tasks in life feel huge. Constant fatigue affects you physically, mentally, and emotionally, leaving you easily overwhelmed and unable to cope well with things that come your way.

Several years ago, I experienced a bad case of mononucleosis that lasted for more than a year and left me with permanent Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Since then, fatigue has become an unwanted part of my daily life, turning ordinary day-to-day activities into challenges that can sometimes seem insurmountable.

Although living with daily fatigue can be frustrating, I’ve learned a few things over the years that have helped me keep my own fatigue in check and manage my life even when I’m not feeling 100 percent.

If you’re struggling with fatigue, try a few of these suggestions to help streamline your days and lighten a little of your burden:

Make rest a priority

Let’s face it — when you’re experiencing long-term fatigue for any reason, rest becomes a priority. Whether you’re juggling an infant, dealing with a disability or chronic illness, or coping with something else in life that is wearing you down, it’s crucial to take a hard look at your daily schedule.

Cut out things that aren’t necessary, and make sure you’re able to get the rest you need. If you’re having trouble sleeping at night due to insomnia or a new baby schedule time each day to nap or rest quietly. Even a 20-minute power nap can make a huge difference in the amount of energy you have each day.

Don’t overbook yourself

In today’s world, it seems “being busy” is a point of pride for most people. It’s all too easy to take too much on your plate. Overscheduling is the fastest way to make your fatigue worse. Be wise in choosing projects, assignments, and appointments to which you commit. Don’t be afraid to say “no” if something will be too much for you.

Write things down

Forgetfulness often goes hand-in-hand with fatigue. When you’re tired, it can feel like your brain is filled with fog, making it difficult to think and remember. If you’re struggling to keep ideas in your head or recall all the items on your to-do list, write them down.

Make a habit of writing down daily to-do lists and anything else you might need to remember, such as appointments or noteworthy things you want to remember to tell your spouse or friend. Don’t forget to refer to your to-do lists often to ensure that you haven’t missed something.

Cherish yourself

Whether your fatigue comes about through illness, parenthood, or a demanding life situation, it’s likely that stress will accompany it. Don’t push yourself beyond your limits, and always allow yourself the rest you need to function at your best.

It’s likely that as time goes by, and your life situation changes, your fatigue will lessen and you will be better able to fulfill your responsibilities. For now, take the time to honor your limits and give your body what it needs to keep functioning. Pushing yourself too hard will only end up making your fatigue more severe and leave you vulnerable to other health problems, as well.

Although living with fatigue can be difficult, caring for your body and being careful not to overload your schedule will help you make the most of your limited energy, and find satisfaction and fulfillment despite your limitations.

Cindy Baldwin

Cindy Baldwin is a homemaker and freelance writer who is expecting her first child. Her poetry and prose have been featured in several publications, and she blogs regularly at Being Cindy.