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Planning ahead is important with fatigue. Plan your day so that you have time to rest and do the things you want to do most.
It’s important to be realistic about what you can do, and you should try not to do too much. Pace yourself, and plan enough rest and sleep periods. It makes sense to plan a rest after a period of activity. Some people also find that they need to rest after meals. Short naps and rest periods are useful as long as they don’t stop you from sleeping at night.
It’s also important to plan your days around your treatment. Try to avoid anything energetic or stressful for 24 hours before and after your treatments. If you have a fever (high temperature) or your blood count is low, your body will use up more energy so you will also need to get plenty of rest.
Keeping a fatigue diary can help you to see how treatment affects your energy levels and allow you to plan activities for times when you have more energy. While some people feel less tired in the mornings, others cope better in the afternoon.
You can download this fatigue diary [PDF, 59kb]| to help you plan your activities. You need Adobe Acrobat Reader software to view PDF files like this fatigue diary. You can download the software free from the Adobe website|.
Use the fatigue diary to write down the times when you feel your best and when you feel most tired. Try to plan bigger tasks to fit in with the time of day when you feel least tired.
Doing things for yourself is very important, however, you may have to accept that you won’t be able to do everything you used to do. It may be helpful to decide early on which activities you are prepared to give up, at least until you feel more able.
Try not to feel guilty if you have to ask other people to help. Often friends and relatives want to help and are pleased to be asked.
You may also find it helpful to see an occupational therapist from the hospital or from social services. They can help you find ways of saving your energy and may be able to visit you at home.
Content last reviewed: 1 February 2011
Next planned review: 2013
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