One of the most annoying MS symptoms is fatigue. It’s as unpredictable as the British weather and a constant balancing act. On energetic days we tend to do too much, depleting our energy for the next day.
Running a business is no easy task, but I have a few tricks to help me conserve energy and make sure I can get through what I need to do each day.
Following are five tips I use to manage my fatigue:
1. Determine when you are at your best
Figure out when you feel the most energetic and schedule tasks around these times. Is it morning, noon, or night? I am at my best in the morning, so I pack in as much as I can for my business and work around the house during this time. Around lunchtime, the side effects from my disease-modifying therapy Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) kick in (flushing, itchy skin and a dry mouth and throat), brain fog shows up, and exhaustion sucks the life out of me. I try to sleep it off, and if I feel up to it, I work in the evening. But chances are I will struggle. Plus, I’m not a night owl and usually am asleep by 10 p.m.
2. Choose your priorities
Ask yourself what your priorities are for the day so that you can achieve something when you’re feeling the most energetic. That leaves you time to sleep or rest at other times of the day. I find that if I’ve done the main things I needed to do, I don’t feel guilty about sleeping the other half of the day.
3. Combine tasks
If I’m traveling by train, I can respond to emails or arrange tasks during the trip. If I need to pop into a shop, could I also mail that letter and take the car to the car wash? Doubling up on chores saves you from having to make multiple trips.
4. Simplify cooking
Because my husband and I work from home, we eat a lot of home cooking. I’m most active in the morning, so if I have a lot to do on that day, I’ll put dinner in a slow cooker. Chili, soup, or even baked potatoes are super easy. I also have a food box delivered at the start of each week that contains everything I need for evening meals. The vegetables, spices, and meats are often prepared, and it’s easy to make something amazing. I use the service Gousto, which is exclusive to the U.K. Others are available worldwide.
I can’t stress this enough. It has taken me years to learn because I am a control freak, but delegating is my best friend. I have handed over the cleaning of my house to a cleaning company. It saves me valuable energy that I can devote to my work. It felt weird at first, but I would not change it for the world. It also doesn’t cost as much as you might think.
Bonus tip: As a rule, I have a rigorous energy management system. If I have a day coming up when I will need a lot of energy, I’ll make sure to have days with smaller energy tasks leading up to it. And following the big day, I will plan a day of rest.
One study found that drinking a daily cup of flavonoid-rich cocoa might help ease fatigue. And researchers from the University of Michigan developed My MSToolkit, a free online program to help manage symptoms.
What are your favorite fatigue hacks? Tell us in the comments below!
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.
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