Managing my fatigue is something that I’ve been trying to grapple with since acquiring my stroke 16 years ago.
Initially in rehabilitation, the fatigue fog engulfed me from the beginning of the day. I write in my book reinventing emma –
“…I still have to have my teeth cleaned and shoes put on before Susan, the porter, comes to take me to my scheduled assessments for the day. I’m dead tired already. Even though I feel as though a concrete fatigue fog is squashing me, I don’t want to rest. I want to start fixing my body. Now. If I could physically throw a tantrum, I would…”
So, feeling “squashed” by this new deficit dictated my every move and crippled any prospect of operating ‘with‘ it in my new realm. It was through trial and error I learnt (very slowly) the HUGE impact my mindset would have on managing this and the other ‘invisible’ effects of stroke that now polluted my life. Realising the permanency of this ‘brain fog’, I learnt over time that my fatigue management is hugely about my mindset.
“…To accept what I couldn’t change, but change what I could!” was something I began training my inner voice to say when the fatigue fog would hover.
Strangely enough, adjusting the way that I perceive my fatigue significantly impacts my everyday management of it. If I say, “I am pooped!” or “I am so fatigued” or “I am tired” I somehow feel a lot more in engulfed by this deficit. I’m reacting to it, rather than accepting it is here to stay and flowing proactively with it.
In contrast, if I say or tell myself that “I am feeling fatigued” or “I am feeling exhausted” or “I am feeling pooped”. I am subconsciously distancing myself from this impairment. Yes, it still exists (I’m acknowledging its presence) but I’m shifting the focus, choosing to proactively manage it, rather than making it who I am.
‘Flowing’ is not a phrase that we associate with fatigue. It’s likely that ‘fighting’, ‘grappling with’ or’ battling with’ fatigue are phrases readily used. Negative words that seem to empower the deficit. Negative words that only seem to make us feel out of control and disempowered.
Perhaps consider how much of our mindset dictates the way that we manage such symptoms?
Whilst rest, balancing your everyday tasks, reducing stress levels, and engaging in exercise and other activities may minimise levels of exhaustion, how does your attitude impact your fatigue management?
So, when you find yourself saying “I am xxx” or “I am so xxx”, simply become aware of your inner voice.
Perhaps try rephrasing it too, “I am feeling xxx”. Try monitoring your thoughts and listen to whether you’re ‘flowing with’ or ‘resisting’ fatigue.