As is the case with many chronic pain conditions, one of the most overwhelming symptoms of fibromyalgia is fatigue. When you feel tired all the time, you just don’t get to the things you want to do. You also might over-do when you feel good, causing more pain, fatigue, and stress. Using energy conservation techniques to help balance activity and rest can break this cycle and help you get more done during your day. Here are some simple energy conservation principles that you can use to help manage the fatigue you experience with your fibromyalgia.
First make sure to get the right amount of sleep for you. Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time each morning, even if you do not have to go to work. Make sure you have a comfortable bed and a quiet room to sleep in. If you are taking care of young children who disrupt your sleep, try to sleep when they do rather than catching up on chores. Use relaxing music or relaxation tapes to help your body sink into sleep mode. If you are experiencing extreme difficulties with your sleep patterns, consult your doctor. Regulating your sleep patterns is one of the most important factors in managing your fibromyalgia.
Next, schedule your daily activities. Make sure to prioritize these activities and try to complete the most important tasks first. If there are times of the day when you know you have more energy, schedule these important tasks for those times. Schedule the least important activities last or for times of the day when you think you might be tired. These activities can be postponed if you are too tired to complete them.
In addition, make sure to schedule short rest breaks in-between activities. This is important whether the activities are physical in nature or mentally taxing. Another tactic is to alternate physical and mental tasks. This technique gives your body rest periods from different kinds of stress during the day, ultimately allowing you to take on more.
Here is a sample schedule to illustrate how to balance physical ad mental tasks with rest breaks:
8:00 – Walk the dog (physical stress)
8:30 – Rest break
8:35 – Call mother (mental stress)
8:45 – Rest break
8:50 – Vacuum (physical stress)
9:00 – Rest break
9:05 – Pay bills (mental stress)
9:30 – Rest break
9:45 – Exercise (physical stress)
10:15 – Rest break
Your entire day can be scheduled on a similar basis. Once you get used to completing activities in this manner, you do not have to write out a schedule if you do not feel the need to, but you should continue to alternate the types of activities you do with rest breaks.
Finally, know when to quit. If you feel yourself getting tired and sore, stop doing activities before you hit that “point of no return”. If you have prioritized your activities, you will not have anything important left to do and you will be able to quit before becoming too tired. By following this technique, you should feel less fatigue the next day and should be able to get more done overall.
Fatigue can be very debilitating in fibromyalgia and can contribute to increasing pain. By following energy conservation techniques, you should be able to reduce your overall fatigue and get more done during your day.