Tired. Fatigue. Exhausted. Beat. Pooped. Drained. Weary.
No matter what you call it – tiredness due to cancer or cancer treatment can take control of your life. There were days where I could barely peel myself off my bed only to end up in the bathtub and then back in bed. It’s so discouraging. When will your life return?
You don’t need to be held hostage when it comes to your fatigue. There are a few things that you can do to help kick it and get back to living. Below are my top four tips.
If you are feeling unwell from cancer treatment, it can be hard to get enough water or fluids. But this is the number one things that you must do to help with your tiredness. Being adequately hydrated can take you from feeling awful to enjoying your life again.
Here are a couple tips to help you drink more fluids and decrease your tiredness:
-Spread your fluids evenly throughout the day
-Pick from a variety of beverages (flavored water, Gatoraid, juice, etc)
-Use a drinking straw to take small sips more frequently
-Always keep a water bottle near by
If you find you absolutely can’t get enough fluids down, talk to your team about intravenous hydration. Sometimes just a bit of IV fluids can really help you along.
Your fatigue is amplified when your nutrition is neglected. When you’re feeling unwell, it’s hard to eat anything and when you do, you are usually reaching for comfort foods (which aren’t always the best option). Find foods that give you the most bang for your buck (e.g the most nutritional value in the smallest quantities). For example, nuts or peanut butter.
Eating small but frequent meals can also be much more manageable than three large meals per day. Try to avoid spicy or citric foods as they can worsen nausea and mouth sores.
It seems counterintuitive but exercise can actually help with your fatigue. Depending on your level of fatigue, this might mean walking around the house, around the block, or heading to the gym. Whatever level of exercise you’re able to commit to, not matter how little, moving your body will help reduce fatigue.
Ideally, an exercise targeted at reducing tiredness would include the following:
150 minutes per week of low intensity aerobic exercise (e.g. walking, cycling)
2 strength training sessions per week (ranging from body weight resistance to lifting weights)
For more information on how you can fight against cancer fatigue and get your life back, check out my Cancer Fatigue Guide here.