Managing Chronic Fatigue With Lifestyle Modifications
If you struggle with chronic fatigue syndrome, you never know when you will wake up feeling ready to face the day or so totally drained of energy that you can’t roll out of bed. Making changes in your lifestyle can help you achieve better balance.
Creating an individualized treatment plan is the best approach for all health problems, but it’s non-negotiable for people with chronic fatigue syndrome. Each person has their own energy limits and pain levels. Some may thrive with a vegetarian diet, while others feel best with a more traditional meal plan.
Despite all the differences, one thing holds true: Everyone with chronic fatigue syndrome can improve their symptoms with lifestyle changes. Dr. Jelena Petkovic, PAC, MMS, DHSc, specializes in compassionate, personalized care, helping each person find the lifestyle solutions that promote optimal wellness.
These are Dr. Jelena’s top recommendations for lifestyle changes:
Change your diet
If you have chronic fatigue syndrome, chances are you face digestive problems and food sensitivities or allergies. Altering your diet by choosing to eat some foods and diligently avoiding others makes a dramatic difference for gut problems.
Your diet is also essential because having a chronic disease drains your body of nutrients. Any time you’re under stress, whether from pain, fatigue, anxiety, or any mental, physical, or environmental stressor, your body needs more nutrition than usual.
Carefully chosen nutrient-rich foods are essential for supporting cellular energy production and functioning at your best possible level.
When making dietary changes, the most important thing to remember is this: Each person is different. What works for one person (and the diet they may insist is right for you) may not help you and may trigger a flare-up of fatigue and pain. We can help by identifying your unique food sensitivities and nutritional needs and then creating a meal plan that optimizes your health.
As a general guideline, people with chronic fatigue syndrome usually feel better when they avoid:
- Processed foods
- Artificial sweeteners
- Animal fats
Additives include preservatives, MSG, and artificial colors and flavors.
Take dietary supplements
Most people with chronic fatigue syndrome are chronically deficient in certain nutrients. High-quality dietary supplements fill the gap when your diet can’t keep up with your nutritional needs.
While some nutrients, such as antioxidants, coenzyme Q10, and essential fatty acids, tend to improve energy, muscle pain, and fatigue for everyone, you shouldn’t settle for a one-size-fits-all approach. We can create your personal nutritional profile and recommend specific supplements and doses.
Balance your activities
Deciding whether or not to exercise is one of the biggest challenges of chronic fatigue syndrome. By definition, chronic fatigue syndrome causes post-exertional malaise (PEM).
PEM means that your symptoms get significantly worse after minor physical, mental, or emotional exertion. You typically feel worse 12-48 hours after the stress, and you may stay drained of energy for days or weeks.
The key is to define the exercise you can tolerate, exercise when you feel well, and most importantly, pace yourself. It’s essential to learn how to balance activity with rest, making it a point to rest your mind and body even when you feel fine.
If you need help finding an exercise routine that supports your health rather than leading to PEM, we specialize in energy management that finds the activity-rest balance you need.
Practice relaxation techniques
Purposefully relaxing your body and mind reduces stress and anxiety, eases pain and fatigue, clears your mind, and promotes a higher level of well-being. You can choose from a range of stress-management techniques and mind-body therapies.
A few relaxation techniques frequently used to improve chronic fatigue syndrome include meditation, mindfulness-based therapies, deep breathing, guided imagery, and massage. You may also want to incorporate mind-body movement approaches, such as yoga, tai chi, and Qigong, into your balanced exercise schedule.
If you need lifestyle suggestions and support, we’re here to help. Call Dr. Jelena in Miami beach, Florida, or book an appointment online today.