Let’s talk about four side-effect free tools that can help you with chronic fatigue.
I have had chronic fatigue for a very long time. It came on suddenly and after a bad bug at university but I have a feeling it would have developed anyway because I’ve had insomnia for longer than that, So we’re talking since I was in my late teen years I’ve had the pain the fatigue and the insomnia but the fatigue really jumped up in that last year of university and it’s gone up and down over the years and I have learnt a lot of different things.
It is a bit tricky because you know there’s no medicine for fatigue, you can’t just take painkillers, but if you do manage your pain well you can reduce your fatigue. And there are ways to reduce your fatigue, but I find that it is not as easy to manage.
The four side-effect free tools to help you with chronic fatigue video
But I want to talk today particularly about how I use yoga tools to help me manage chronic fatigue and how I put it into my management plans, so the first thing is that yoga tools permeate my pacing plan.
Pacing is important; I use the energy that I have well and that helps me to create more. It helps me to have a whole day plan and alternate rest and work within the day as well.
Learn more: See my free pacing training.
Looking at my work-life balance and looking at the ratio of rest to work and all of that kind of thing and the yoga tools really help there.
I can use my Yoga Nidra guided meditation for my bigger more restorative breaks and I can use breathing and restorative yoga for shorter more accessible breaks. And gentle movement is just good for fatigue management overall so let’s have a quick chat about that.
If you want to try each of the four tools I mentioned above, that we will delve into more detail about below…
Yoga Nidra Guided Meditation
This thing has saved my life. I have a long history of chronic fatigue, a long history of chronic pain, and a long history of insomnia. And if you know anything about being extremely exhausted but completely unable to rest you will know what it’s been like.
It’s been hard and it came to a head when I had my small children and so even my very interrupted, very poor quality of sleep was interrupted and ruined. I wish I’d found it earlier but I started practicing when I had just gone back to work with my first son and it’s been a lifesaver ever since.
In yoga nidra you are mimicking those deeper levels of sleep in your brain waves which we don’t tend to get when we’ve got a chronic sleep problem. Even with all the things I do, even with my Yoga Nidra and years of doing it calming my nervous system, having all of my sleep hygiene plans in place doing all the things, I still don’t get the right amount of deep sleep percentage and rem sleep percentage we need for optimal functioning.
Read more: Yoga Nidra for Fibromyalgia
I talk about this in chronic pain management as well in quite a lot of places. Taking some deep breaths really helps. When you’re in high levels of fatigue and pain your breathing can become quite shallow which puts a lot of tension in your shoulders and neck. And more pain makes more fatigue. But also it doesn’t help your brain work optimally – it makes you more tired if you’re not breathing effectively.
Stopping and focusing on your breath not only withdraws your energy from external things for a minute but it improves your breathing. A few minute breathing breaks here and there are really great you can do them while you’re dealing with your children you can do them when you’re driving when you’re on the train when you’re at work you can really do it anywhere anytime and building that into your day can really help.
Read more: Breathing for Fibromyalgia
Then we’ve got other another passive practice which is restorative yoga so that is where you really set yourself up comfortably in a position and hold it for some time. Each position has good benefits but most of the benefits are that they activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is our rest and digest response. So it helps us rest which helps improve energy and decrease fatigue. You can do one pose for 5, 10, 15, or even 20 minutes – whatever you’ve got. It can be done right before bed, first thing in the morning, as a rest in the day, so you can see how these tools start to work.
Read more: Restorative Yoga and Fibromyalgia
Then we talk about the physical practice – that you think of right when people think of yoga. This is last for me, but gentle mindful movement and stretching also helps it is good for our body to move carefully and mindfully. It creates more energy when we do it well and that’s the key part is -we want to do it well – and in a way that’s appropriate for our body.
That concept of pacing right how much energy we have how much we should be using right now and what is suitable for our body and so that might mean stretching on our bed, stretching in the chair, a five minute class. Or it might mean 10, 15, 20- whatever.
I like a good mixture – I like the idea of breathe, stretch and rest. So you breathe, then you have a gentle stretch or movement class and then you do some rest – whether that’s restorative yoga or just a savasana for a time or whether you get to do a full yoga nidra.
Breaking it all up – using the side-effect free tools
That’s how it all works together and you can see how these break up really nicely and can go across your day and they can go into your chronic fatigue management toolkit and your whole of life management toolkit.
You see how you can break it up so it is not necessarily what people think when they think of “yoga”. And that’s kind of my jam – to make sure people know it’s an option. It’s a really great, natural, side-effect free (if you’re doing it wisely) – way to help us manage and improve our energy levels. It’s not going to cure us, there is no cure for us.
But it really helps and the research proves it and it really helps me so that’s why I love to share it.