Deeper than exhaustion, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is described as feeling so tired that you can’t do all of your normal, daily activities for six months or more. It's usually not responsive to rest and not triggered by exercise. Other symptoms can include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Difficulty thinking clearly and remembering things
- Headaches, joint pain or tender glands in throat or armpits
More than 1 million Americans have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, of which about 80% are undiagnosed. Often it's seen in conjunction with fibromyalgia, which affects five million Americans.
While there is no known cause, CFS is generally preceded by a period of physical or emotional stress and diagnosed by ruling out other, more serious medical conditions. The medical community recommends treatments that focus on cognitive approaches to increase positive thinking and lifestyle changes to restore vitality.
When I had these symptoms a few years ago following a near death experience from kidney failure (kinda stressful) I felt drained, trapped—literally sucked dry. I was never diagnosed and didn't know what was going on. So I slowed down, savored life and body, and focused on joy.
It worked, my energy was restored. Here is the combination of life strategies and body care that worked best for me.
- Accept and love yourself as you are. Just as GPS can’t give you directions if it doesn’t know where you are, you can’t make changes until you acknowledge where you are right now. It’s not forever.
- Tell yourself what you can do instead of what you can’t. When the body is sick, it's easy to get frustrated and drop into negative thinking. But that saps your energy. By focusing on what you can do, you begin to create energy and momentum.
- Plan and pace each day. Focus on what’s important. Being realistic about how much you can do and honor it.
Nutrition and Body Care Strategies:
- Sleep well.
- Do moderate exercise to rebalance your body. I found that yoga works well.
- Eat well. Cut processed and sugary foods. Give your body the best nutrition.
- Create a routine of 1 hour of downtime each day. This is really important! Cook dinner, take the dog on a long walk, read an actual book before bed.
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