Our Nurses > Ask a Nurse > Fighting fatigue by using your 'energy boost time'
Fighting fatigue by using your 'energy boost time'
January 14, 2014
I'm a busy mom with a lot on my plate between work, my kids, housework, and volunteering. Some days I'm fine, but other days my MS fatigue completely wipes me out. I try to save up energy on my good days, but when the bad days come it takes everything I have just to get to the couch, let alone tackle my chores and deadlines. How can I get through my day when my fatigue is so unpredictable?
– Too Tired to Make it Through the Day
Nurse Claire replies:
You're right that MS fatigue is notoriously unpredictable, and unfortunately it's just not possible to “save up” energy for one of those bad days. But there are some strategies you can employ to plan your day around your symptoms a bit.
First, take a look at your daily routine. When do you feel most energized? Some people with MS find that they are full of energy in the morning, but completely wilted by early afternoon. But your peak energy time might be in the afternoon or evening. Whenever it is, think of this as your “energy boost time.”
Each day, make a list of what you want to accomplish for the day. Then number or circle the tasks that are most important. Tackle those high-priority tasks first during your energy boost time. When you start to feel tired, don't try to push through to the end of your list. Let your body rest and recharge. And rest assured that you've taken care of the big priorities of the day.
You can also help conserve the energy you do have by minimizing your exposure to situations that cause fatigue. Overexertion or over-exercise can bring on fatigue symptoms, so don't try to run the carpool and go to the gym in the same day. Heat can also cause fatigue. So, if it's a hot day outside, try taking a cool shower in the afternoon. Just be mindful of what you're doing and how you're feeling as you go through the day, and try to be flexible when you need a break.
Talk to your doctor about your fatigue symptoms, especially if you've experienced significant changes in your symptoms. You might want to ask if anything you are taking can cause or exacerbate fatigue.
Lastly, it's important to remember that some days you just won't have all the energy you need to get everything done. Treat yourself with the same kindness you would a friend in your situation. It's okay to let yourself off the hook sometimes.
— Nurse Claire, MS One to One® Nurse
Helping since 2013