Fight Fatigue and Get Your Energy Back
A chronic condition like AxSpA comes with many different challenges and symptoms. Fatigue is one of the most common ones across people’s journeys. It can have a big impact on our quality of life, the choices we make (or feel forced to make), and how we approach our days.
Over the years since my diagnosis (6 years ago) and through the work with my health coaching clients, I have learned some ways to help manage the waves of fatigue and to get some energy back.
Identify where the fatigue comes from
This is an important first step to find the possible triggers which you can then address. Take time to pause, feel grounded, and check-in with how you are feeling. One technique for this is the 3-Center Mindful Check-In.
- Body Center: Check in with your body. Are you feeling tight or relaxed? Any pain? Feeling comfortable or uneasy? Close your eyes and notice how you are feeling physically and breathe.
- Heart Center: Check in with how you are feeling emotionally. Do you feel happy, angry, content? Do you feel anxious, nervous? Close your eyes and silently name the emotions you feel and breathe.
- Head Center: Check in with your thoughts. Do you notice many thoughts? Do you feel space and calmness? Are they past, present, or future? Close your eyes and silently name the thoughts you notice and breathe.
Going through this check-in can offer additional awareness around your fatigue.
If your body is tired from the pain, a workout, or simply from not being able to move as much as you want, connect back to your needs in this moment. What could help you to feel better? When I feel like I have done too much, I will take time to relax, take a hot bath, restore my body with some rest, a nap, a long night of sleep etc. On the other hand, sometimes I feel like I need to energize my body by going on a walk, a run, a bike tour and simply being outside. The movement provides fresh new energy and sets me up for the things I want to do that day. I also go back to the basics of what fuels my body the best: whole, unprocessed foods, lots of water, and daily movement. Removing triggers of inflammation can be very beneficial in managing fatigue.
Similar to the physical fatigue, the mental and emotional fatigue can be very powerful. From the check-in exercise you can identify what thoughts are connected to your fatigue. Are you feeling low in energy and need time for yourself? Do you want some external support by being around other people? Reconnect with what gives you energy, laughter, playfulness and optimism.
There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to managing symptoms such as fatigue. The key is to listen and take care of your body, and allow yourself time to reconnect with your feelings and needs. Experiment until you find what works for you.
I would love to hear from you, what helps you the most to manage your fatigue?
Does reading AxSpA patient stories help you in your journey?