Fatigue and everyday life

Day-to-day, you may not realise the energy it takes to do your normal routine. Everyday tasks like getting dressed and taking a shower, are just a part of life. Fatigue can quickly make you aware of what it takes to get things done, but it’s all still possible.

How fatigue can affect daily living

Working

Keeping up with work may get more challenging. Fatigue can affect your ability to concentrate on deadlines, make you need to take breaks, and more.

Travelling to appointments

Travelling to the hospital or to your check-ups can make fatigue worse. Getting ready, gathering what you need, and then travelling to your destination can unexpectedly tire you out.

Sleeping

What’s keeping you up at night? Is it the TV? Needing to urinate frequently? Worrying about what’s next? If you’re having trouble getting to sleep, this can make fatigue worse. Turning off electronics and drinking less liquids before bed can help. If you still have trouble sleeping because of stress, fear or anxiety, it’s time to talk to your doctor or care team.

Focusing

Concentrating, remembering things, understanding new information, and making decisions can be tougher.

Driving

Sudden feelings of tiredness can happen at any moment — so you must be careful if driving or operating a machine.

Socialising

Hanging out with friends and family may take more effort.

Pain or pain-relieving drugs

If you’re already in pain, adding fatigue to the mix doesn’t help. But pain, and pain medications can affect your energy levels, so talk to your doctor. There may be other options to manage your pain.

How can you
fend off fatigue?

Fatigue can be caused by a number of things, but there’s plenty you can do to help ease that draining feeling. Review these tips below often and remember to talk to your doctor or care team if you have questions.

Talk to your doctor
or care team

Tell your doctor or nurse how you’re feeling. They can help you understand what could be making your fatigue worse and help you manage it. If you feel very stressed, anxious or depressed, please speak up because they need to know.

Ask family and friends for support

Asking for help is a sign of strength and courage, especially if you’re used to doing things for yourself. Make a list of activities you currently do for yourself daily. Then, take another look at your list and imagine which tasks a partner, friend or family member could take on. There are probably a few things other people can help with — so don’t be afraid to ask.

Plan your days in advance

Keep a diary to jot down what your days or weeks look like. You may feel like you don’t have enough energy for it all, but planning ahead will help you take care of the most important items.

Eat and drink well

A healthy, consistent diet is necessary to keep your energy up. Ask your doctor to refer you to a dietitian, who can suggest which foods are best for you. You may even want to check out healthy delivery options from the grocery store.

Rest and relax

To wind down, try:

• meditating

• yoga

• deep breaths

• listening to music

• audiobooks

Doing these will help you focus and give your body and mind time to rest.

Doing these will help you focus, and give your body and mind time to rest.

Exercise

Exercise and physical activity have been shown to help beat fatigue. Even if you’ve only done light activity before, it’s highly recommended that you start including exercise in your daily routine, under your doctor’s guidance.

With some exercise, your energy levels could actually increase. With more energy, you might be able to get back to doing the things you enjoy, sooner.

Make sure you work with your doctor or care team to find a plan that works for you.

Knowing your rights at work

It’s important to know your legal rights as an employee. Know your company’s policies and review the employee handbook. There are laws designed to protect you from discrimination.

Talk to your employer. If your boss knows what you’re going through, as well as the laws, you might be able to adjust your schedule to help you get the job done. You might need work from home days or extra breaks, for example.

Live in England, Scotland or Wales?
The Equality Act protects your rights as an employee.

Live in Northern Ireland?
You have protection under the Disability Discrimination Act. Even if you no longer have cancer, you are still protected against discrimination.

Find out more about your rights at work during and after cancer treatment from Macmillan cancer support or Disability Rights UK. Your rights are also protected if you are self-employed or looking for work.

Additional resources

Causes of fatigue and ways to manage it
Managing fatigue at home and work
Ways to support someone with fatigue
Finding services that deliver meals
Improve fatigue with a healthy lifestyle
Fatigue and your relationships

What's next?

Now that you've read up on Fatigue and everyday life , here are some related articles to explore as you continue to build your knowledge and understanding of this topic.
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