1. Rest, but not too much. Plan your day so you have time to rest. Take short naps or breaks (30 minutes or less), rather than one long re...
Thursday, 22 September 2011
Plan your day so you have time to rest. Take short naps or breaks (30 minutes or less), rather than one long rest period. While sleep and rest are important, don't overdo it. Too much rest can decrease your energy level. If you have trouble sleeping, talk to your health care team.
2. Stay active.
Stay as active as you can. Regular moderate exercise -- especially walking -- has been found to be a good way to ease fatigue. Add other activities that are less strenuous, like bird watching, listening to music, or reading. To help you plan your activities, keep a diary of how you feel each day. When talking about your fatigue, doctors or nurses may ask things like how bad it is (rated from 0 to 10), what are the patterns to it, and what makes it better or worse? Keep a record of how you feel to make it easy to answer these questions.
Many doctors have their patients see a physical therapist or exercise physiologist to figure out the best exercise program for their situation.
3. Save your energy.
Plan ahead. Spread your activities throughout the day. Don't push yourself by standing too long or by doing activities in extreme temperatures. Even long, hot showers or baths can drain your energy. Store items within easy reach, so you won't have to strain to get them from overhead storage. Take rest breaks between activities to save your energy for the things you want to do. Most of all, prioritize. Decide which activities are really important to you and which ones aren't.
4. Get help.
Ask your family or friends to help with the things you find tiring or hard to do. This may be things like mowing the lawn, preparing meals, doing housework, or running errands. Don't force yourself to do more than you can manage. It may be hard for others to understand if rest does not make your fatigue go away. Try to explain that the fatigue you feel is different from "normal" fatigue -- this may help them understand.
Many people may ask you if there's anything they can do for you. People who offer to help really want to, but they may not know what to do. Making specific requests can give them something to do that really helps you and makes them feel good, too.
It can help you even more to pick a "job coordinator" who can organize people to sign up for routine chores. Your coordinator can also explain to helpers if there are times that you are so tired that you don't even have the energy to talk to your friends and loved ones.
5. Get support.
Think about joining a support group. Sharing your feelings with others can ease the burden of fatigue. You can learn coping hints from others by talking about your situation. Ask your health care professional to put you in touch with a support group in your area. Or call our toll-free number to find a group near you.
6. Eat well.
Drink plenty of water and juices. Eat as well as you can. Try to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Get enough protein and calories to help your body heal.
7. Call your doctor.
Call your doctor if you feel too tired to get out of bed for a 24-hour period, if you feel confused, dizzy, lose your balance or fall, have a problem waking up, have problems catching your breath, or if the fatigue seems to be getting worse.
Fatigue caused by cancer treatment is short-term, experts say. Your energy will slowly come back, especially if you stay active.