After years of hearing patients talk to me about their struggle with fatigue, I know it is a MAJOR problem in many neurologic conditions. Fatigue significantly impact your quality of life and your rehabilitation. As a physical therapist, I know first hand how it can impact your ability to participate in the exercises and activities that are necessary to recover movement and function. The good news is that small changes today can have a major impact on your overall energy level.
Having more energy will positively impact your relationships, your therapy sessions, and your life.
Step 1: Starting a Fatigue Journal
A fatigue journal is a way to keep track of your activities and how they effect your energy level by using a fatigue rating scale.
Things to include in your journal entry
2) Sleep Quality
3) Rate your fatigue in the morning and evening (using the scale provided)
4) Key events: (time spent on hobbies, household cleaning, errands outside the house, time spent with family/friends)
5) Exercise: include intensity, number of minutes, type, and a fatigue rating before and after the activity
6) Rest Breaks: List number of rest breaks and the length of time of each break.
How you manage your fatigue has many similarities to how you manage the battery on your cell phone. For your phone to function at its best, you must periodically stop using it and plug it in. Similarly, the purpose of rest breaks is to allow your body to “recharge”. You and your body are most efficient when your “battery” is fully charged. The longer you go between charges, the longer you will need to let it rest to recharge. An ideal rest break should be in a comfortable position (preferably laying down), with minimal light and sound.
To help get you started I have included a sample journal entry.
Here is where we come back to our main theme of “working smarter”
At the end of each week, review your journal. Ask yourself these questions: What day(s) did I record the highest level of fatigue?
What activities did I perform that day?
What was my level of fatigue the following day?
The next post will focus on how nutrition can be a powerful “tool” in the fight against fatigue. Please leave comments questions or comments.
“In order to succeed, we must first BELIEVE that we can”