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Those who suffer from auto-immune diseases know what it is like to have the bone-deep exhaustion known as fatigue. Fatigue is not tiredness – it is an overwhelming lack of energy that can’t be relieved by sleep no matter how much sleep you get. Frequent or chronic fatigue is one of the biggest issues facing those who suffer from auto immune diseases.
In addition to the pain and discomfort that those with auto-immune diseases deal with, the fatigue they feel is often described as paralyzing. Auto-immune fatigue has huge impact on energy levels, mood, social interactions, physical activity, touches every part of your life and affects quality of life. This exhaustion is part of an often self-perpetuating cycle in which poor sleep and a flare up cause fatigue. The fatigue then increases pain which, in turn, causes sleep loss and extends a flare up leading to further exhaustion and fatigue. In addition, many auto-immune sufferers will also find they are struggling with anemia during these periods as it is a commonly correlated condition.
Countering Auto-Immune Fatigue
- Get minimum 7-8 hours sleep in a cool, quiet, dark room. Do everything you can to improve sleep – don’t eat right before bed, avoid alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and exercise before bed. Get rid of electronics in the bedroom and be off them for an hour before bed, and develop a bedtime ritual to train the body to be ready to sleep when you get in bed.
Check out alternative healing methods to help with the pain and fatigue that comes from having an auto-immune disease here!
Rest Whenever, Wherever You can
- Get rest during the day. Plan for naps and take them if you need them. This requires close time-management so that you can be sure you have realistic goals and timelines with opportunities to rest without feeling guilty and pace yourself so you don’t over do.
- Keep a journal to help you track what activities give you energy and what take energy away. This helps you evaluate which ones are draining you and if you can cut them out of your life.
Talk to Your Doctor about Auto-Immune Fatigue
- Discuss your fatigue with your doctor. There may be underlying issues, such as anemia, that your doctor can work on addressing. These other health issues can happen in addition to your auto-immune conditions compounding your fatigue problems. Treating them will help alleviate your fatigue.
Try Alternative Therapies
- Get out for alternative therapy such as massage, acupuncture, energy healing, and chiropractic. You can also try meditation, yoga, stretching, and self massage to help manage stress and help the body heal. Get into aromatherapy to find scents and oils that can help clear your headspace and bring energy into your home.
- Exercise is a double-edged sword – on the one hand it’s great for the body and can help you get more restful sleep but if you do too much or do it too late you can make your fatigue worse.
- Try a dietician or nutritionist to make sure you’re getting the right macro and micronutrients. Nutrition can be very complicated, especially for those who suffer from auto-immune diseases. You want to get the most out of your food! Proper nutrition can help the body heal after a flare-up and help reduce fatigue. And don’t forget pre-and pro-biotics! Many auto-immune medications can cause an imbalance in our gut flora which then affects our ability to properly process and receive nutrition from our food.
Staying Positive with Auto-Immune Fatigue
Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed about your auto-immune fatigue. You cannot cure auto-immune diseases, but you can reduce their influence on your life. Give yourself permission to be tired. Do not feel as though you have to make excuses when you are in a flare-up. Take active steps to provide yourself with chances to rest even when your body is in a good place. Be kind to yourself. The connection between mind and body is very strong. Positivity can, and does, help to reduce pain and will definitely help to improve your quality of life.