How to Manage Your Chronic Fatigue Symptoms

How to manage your chronic fatigue symptoms

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a long-term illness affecting various body systems.

Sleep issues lead to severe fatigue, sleep disruptions, difficulty thinking and remembering, as well as difficulties focusing or concentrating.

Activities and rest can help manage symptoms effectively, with activity management providing an avenue to pacing activities to within what your body can tolerate.


Exercise can be an essential element in treating fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Exercise increases fitness; reduces fatigue, pain and stiffness; boosts mood; and promotes sounder sleep.

However, for people living with chronic illnesses like ME/CFS, exercise may lead to deconditioning or intolerance that exacerbate symptoms. Exercise refers to any activity which raises heart rate and works muscles such as running, swimming, jogging or walking – regardless of whether this term applies.

As with any form of exercise, it’s essential to begin slowly and build up gradually as you gain comfort with it. Furthermore, be sure to drink enough fluids prior and post exercise.

To determine which exercises are suitable for you, speak to your doctor. They can recommend activities that will minimize impact and maximize results.

As an effective starting point, gentle activities such as stretching, yoga or tai chi can help ease you back into fitness more gradually and use significantly less energy than more vigorous forms of physical exercise such as running or weight training.

Pacing is an effective and widely utilized strategy to manage fatigue among those living with ME/CFS, and consists of alternating physical exertion with rest periods to increase confidence, reduce flare-ups, and prioritize what matters most to you in life and activities.

At first, exercise may seem daunting for patients. Determining your safe exercise limit or feeling overwhelmed by symptoms can be challenging; but by starting slowly and increasing gradually over time, more strenuous activities can be added without risking flare-ups or long-term relapses.

As with any exercise program, when beginning one it is crucial that you select an activity you enjoy doing and can maintain over time. An exercise diary may be beneficial; keep track of when and how often you exercise each day while noting any changes to symptoms over time.


Food has an effect on how we feel, making diet an integral component of managing chronic fatigue symptoms. Consult with both your physician and dietitian before trying different food plans until finding one that suits you best.

Your diet should include plenty of nutrient-rich, whole foods like vegetables and fruits. Incorporating some healthy fats like nuts and nut butters into meals and snacks may also provide extra nutritional benefit.

At meal times, aim to consume plenty of low glycaemic index (GI) carbohydrates such as oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato and wholegrain pasta and bread in order to avoid energy dips that could exacerbate fatigue. This may help.

Sugary foods contain fructose and may lead to weight gain and stomach discomfort, including cakes, lollies, doughnuts, chocolate soft drinks and packaged fruit juices.

As CFS patients often suffer from digestive problems, obtaining sufficient amounts of fibre can help alleviate bloating and gas while simultaneously decreasing inflammation.

Drink plenty of water each day – dehydration can exacerbate fatigue, so aim to drink at least half your bodyweight in ounces each day – caffeine-free herbal tea and freshly made fruit/vegetable juice are also great ways to stay hydrated!

Diets that contain high fibre levels can help you feel full for longer, making it easier to manage your appetite. A balanced mix of protein, whole grains and minimal sodium should also be consumed daily.

Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants can also be an invaluable addition to your diet. Vitamin supplements help improve brain function and energy levels – something especially helpful for those living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

If you need guidance, a health care provider may suggest the ideal supplements to address your symptoms. Furthermore, keeping a food journal may help gauge how different habits impact symptoms over time.


Sleep plays an integral part in our health, helping you manage chronic fatigue symptoms. Without adequate rest, your body becomes compromised and the risks for diseases and conditions increase dramatically.

Studies suggest that even one night of poor sleep can increase your risk for diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease among other ailments. While sleeping, your body and brain receive much-needed rest – making sleep an essential component to overall wellbeing!

Your body’s natural clock, also known as its circadian rhythms, helps regulate when you are ready for restorative sleep and when to wake up – an essential function in maintaining high energy levels throughout the day.

Michael Breus, Ph.D., an internationally recognized sleep specialist and founder of the National Sleep Foundation explains: When people can rest soundly they feel better and perform at their optimal best.

Establish a regular sleep routine so your body adjusts and your restful nights become better. Doing this will improve both quality and quantity of restful slumber.

Keep a sleep diary to help monitor your patterns and determine when sleep has become poorer, as this will give your doctor a clearer idea of the source of any difficulties with sleeping.

Another way to ensure you’re getting enough restful restful restful restful restful restful restful restful restful restful restful sleep is reducing stress levels throughout the day. Studies have demonstrated that stress can hinder our ability to fall and remain asleep. If you find yourself anxious or nervous before sleeptime arrives, find ways to combat those feelings such as exercising or taking a warm bath – both can help!

Or you could visit a counselor specializing in sleep disorders and mental health issues to assist with coping skills, address limitations at work/school and improve family dynamics.

Be mindful that if you have a serious medical condition or other symptoms that make sleeping difficult, before making changes to your habits. In such instances, consulting your physician first might also provide invaluable support in finding a solution if changes don’t help your symptoms improve after trying different strategies. They could even suggest seeing a specialist if issues do persist despite making modifications.

Stress Management

Stress is an inevitable part of life, yet its impact can be harmful if left unmanaged. Stressful experiences can adversely impact both mental and physical wellbeing, so learning how to effectively manage stress is essential.

Stressful situations may include work pressures, relationship strains or financial worries. Stressful times may also stem from an underlying health condition or illness.

Stress management can have numerous advantages, from relieving chronic fatigue symptoms to helping manage emotions and make more informed decisions.

By increasing physical activity, yoga can also reduce anxiety and depression while improving quality of life.

There are various strategies for effectively managing stress, including learning new coping skills and altering how you perceive and react to stressful situations; or developing social support.

At the core of managing stress is accepting that some situations cannot always be changed; sometimes it’s better just accepting what’s going on and moving on rather than trying to alter them.

If you’re finding it hard to manage your stress levels, speaking to your physician or counselor might help. They may suggest various techniques you can use when feeling anxious as well as advice for how you can avoid future episodes of tension.

Consider starting an exercise regimen; studies show that exercise can reduce stress-inducing effects and build your resilience against future episodes of anxiety.

Selecting an activity you enjoy can increase the odds that you’ll stick with it, so if you’re having difficulty, consult with a doctor or counselor in order to see what options exist in your locality.

An unhealthy diet is another effective way to combat stress. Eating too many sugary and processed foods can increase stress, so choosing whole-food, plant-based meals instead is crucial for managing it effectively.

Learn new coping skills such as relaxation techniques or meditation if you are having difficulty managing stress; this may help to reduce symptoms by making you more relaxed and less irritable.

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