Novemblog #7 - 10 changes I've made to my routine since developing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

7.11.16

I hope you don't mind that occasionally I post these health/CFS posts on here, but there is a distinct lack of help out there for people with glandular fever, post viral fatigue and CFS (I know because I've spent hours and hours searching for it) so I wanted to do my bit.

It is fair to say that I have had to make a few changes to my lifestyle and routine since becoming ill in August of 2015. Working out what my limits are in terms of my output is still a tricky business all this time later, but here are a few things I do to manage my symptoms and keep my brain and body happy.

1) Avoiding drama / negativity / things that make me angry / emotional / wound up. The problem with having lots of time on your hands is that you have lots of time to check social media, read the news, browse the internet, and obsess over other people's lives because you don't have much going on in your own due to being bed bound / house bound or feeling too poorly to do what "normal" people can. Facebook is full of "armchair critics", Twitter is usually people complaining, and Instagram only makes me feel inferior about my own life. So I made a conscious decision to avoid it and stop living my own life through social media, and not only do I feel so much better/happier for it but it frees up my time to focus on my recovery. 

2) Going to bed earlier. Before I got glandular fever my sleep schedule was all over the shop and I am so cross with myself for neglecting such an important thing. I would go to bed after midnight every night and get up before 6am to go jogging before work. I would stay up watching TV or mindlessly scrolling through my phone, delaying sleep because then it would be time to go to work. Weekends didn't come with a sleep-in because the dogs would wake me up at the crack of dawn.

My sleep is okay at the moment which I am extremely grateful for after suffering with serious insomnia a few months ago, and I think that's due to being strict with my bedtime routine. My general rule is to be in bed for 10pm and read until I feel sleepy, then get a good 8 or 9 hours a night. Yes it's boring and makes me feel like a granny but changing my sleep patterns has made a big difference to my CFS.

3) Getting up at the same time every day. This is a recently new development where I set an alarm each morning at the same time so that I can maintain some sort of routine, even though I don't have to be up early for anything in particular at the moment. I have definitely felt better since doing this as opposed to sleeping in till whatever time I like.


4) Focusing on the good things. One of the things that forms part of my evening routine is to write down 3 positive things in my diary. They range from big achievements to tiny, silly little things that would have passed the old "me" by without a second thought. I am a bit of a Negative Nelly and always have been, and I too often succumb to feeling down about my life and my health but actually I have lots of amazing things and people in my life which get me through each day. Writing them down, seeing them in black and white, really helps to ingrain them in my mind.

5) Diet changes and a new approach to eating. I've mentioned my diet changes in a previous post already (click here) so I won't harp on about them again. Having no appetite and constant nausea is an absolute nightmare but it does make me force myself to tune in to my body and really think about what foods will give me energy and will contribute to my recovery. This is a good habit to have whether you're ill or not and since adopting this approach, and caring less about my size and the number on the scales, I haven't had any issues with binge eating; something I really struggled with before I became ill. 

6) Pacing / writing lists and sticking to them. If you have CFS you will be familiar with the concept of pacing and how difficult it is to have to think about every single action before you do it to make sure you're not in the push/crash cycle. I write myself a list of things I would like to achieve each day and I alternate physically or mentally tiring tasks with restful ones. I keep the to-do list small and realistic for my current state of health. 

7) Having lots of down time. This is something I find so difficult because my personality type is to be busy and feeling productive all of the time otherwise I feel lazy or like time has been wasted (which is probably why I'm in this mess in the first place!) I literally have to force myself to stop and rest, or my boyfriend has to intervene and tell me to because I am that bad at it. Rest for me comes in the form of listening to music, meditating, colouring in, spending time with the dogs having a cuddle, sitting in the garden with a cup of tea (weather permitting!) or having a bath.


8) Meditation every day. I might do a separate post on this sharing some of my favourite meditation sequences, but basically I use YouTube and do a different style and length of video each time depending on my mood and how much time I have. Generally they last between 5 minutes and 20 minutes, and sometimes I incorporate two videos into my day. Working on my stress levels is an ongoing project for me, as is deep breathing and reducing my anxiety. Meditation definitely helps with that but I've got a long way to go! 

9) Taking supplements. There is no doubt about it that I have felt better since taking various supplements. I had no idea where to start and tried a few different avenues before my nutritional therapist put me on a specific plan. I started off with a good probiotic and went from there. 

10) Evening baths with Epsom salts. Two or three evenings a week I take a long hot soak in the bath with some Epsom salts. It's part of my routine and I do it without thinking now. Epsom salts can help soothe muscle aches and withdraw toxins from the body but have a whole host of other benefits too. 


2 comments:

  1. Have you tried the Headspace app for meditation at all? It's fantastic!
    As a fellow Negative Nelly I'll certainly be trying some of your tips! :) xx

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    1. I have but I don't get on with the guys voice that well...
      Ah pleased to meet a fellow Nelly! ha. I hope the blog post has been helpful :) xx

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