Tips for Managing Fatigue

Anyone living with blood cancer knows the feeling all too well: the fatigue that shows up way too often, and has a tendency to linger.

The good news is that there are ways to learn to live with it, or learn to manage it.

To hear about how the blood cancer community is handling this, we reached out on the Blood-Cancer.com Facebook page and asked you to fill in the blank: “I manage my fatigue by _________.”

We received comments from 85 community members. Here is what you shared.

“Random acts of napping.”

The number one answer given was napping—which, yes, makes sense as a solution to being tired. But many of you said the hardest part is starting to nap was to allow yourself to rest and to accept that it is OK to do so. Your old normal most likely looked different—you may have had more energy, worked more hours and said yes to more commitments. But this is now. You may find you are happier when you slow down—and it is OK to give yourself a break.

“Taking naps when I need to.”

“Resting when I need a timeout.”

“Small periods of rest—even if just for a few minutes.”

“Random acts of napping.”

“Trying to rest... or better yet, to allow myself to rest. It has been a battle within myself to feel that I should always be doing more, but I am slowly learning that if I do not pay attention to my body, it will go right around what I ‘wish’ I could do, and force me to rest. I am still learning how to balance and understand it.”

“I have learned to respect what my body says.”

A big piece of living with blood cancer, for many of you, has been learning to distinguish when your body needs a rest, and when you will feel better if you do keep going. For some of you, you have found you are happier if you push yourself some, especially if it is to exercise. But, you may also be finding there are other times that you simply do not have it in you to keep going.

“I have learned, especially from this website, to respect what my body says. And it has also helped me recognize when and if I should push myself.”

“I listen to my body.”

“I have learned to set boundaries.”

Likewise, the more you listen to your body, the more you will know when you need to say no. When other people are involved, this may mean setting a boundary. A healthy boundary may mean going out only one night a week. Or that maybe you will go to an event but reserve the right to leave if you do not feel up for it. Or, the boundary may mean saying no to unsolicited advice from friends or strangers. You do not have to listen to whatever people want to say to you. All of these are OK. It is your life and your time and your decision as to what to do.

“Trying to rest and stay positive. It is sometimes difficult when people want to tell you how they handle things, even though they are not dealing with the same disease. I have learned to set boundaries.”

“He is so patient with me, even if I am not up to going out or having people over.”

“I find swimming a great stress reducer.”

One thing many of you have found gives a lot of energy is exercising. Yes, it takes energy in the beginning, and discipline to develop the practice, but in the long run, exercise leaves most of you feeling much better.

“Exercising. I started water aerobics in September and it definitely made a difference.”

“I find swimming a great stress reducer. I always feel better after an hour in the pool. There is no pressure. Just a different focus sometimes can make me feel accomplished even when I just really want to sleep.”

“Ironically, I find forcing myself out to do any form of exercise helps alleviate my fatigue. The key is getting yourself motivated to do so!”

“Working out every day. Sounds strange I know, but I have less fatigue now.”

We want to say thank you to everyone who opened up and shared their experiences with blood cancer. We appreciate you.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Blood-Cancer.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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