How Can I Combat Cancer Fatigue
The best way to combat fatigue is to treat the underlying cause. Unfortunately, the exact cause may be unknown, or there may be multiple causes. There are treatments to reduce certain causes of cancer fatigue, such as anemia or hypothyroidism. Other causes must be managed on an individual basis.
The following are tips you can use to combat cancer fatigue:
- Conserve energy.
- Manage your stress.
Do The Opposite Of What The Depression Voice Suggests
If you believe an event wont be fun or worth your time, say to yourself, You might be right, but itll be better than just sitting here another night. You may soon see the automatic thought isnt always helpful.
Why Depression Makes You Tired And How To Deal With Fatigue
- Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of depression.
- If you are depressed, it’s likely that you will lack energy and feel tired physically, emotionally, and cognitively.
- Depression can also make sleep less restful and restorative here’s how to get better sleep and feel less tired.
- This article was medically reviewed by David A. Merrill, MD, PhD, psychiatrist and director of the Pacific Brain Health Center at Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center.
- This story is part of Insider’s guide to Depression.
For people with depression, feeling tired is an all-too-common symptom. “Tiredness or fatigue is one of the hallmarks of depression,” says Amy Ricke, MD, of Your Doctors Online.
With depression, energy levels dip, and many of the symptoms, such as profound sadness and loneliness, can further exacerbate fatigue. Here’s why depression makes you tired, how to tell if it’s the cause of your fatigue, and how you can feel more refreshed and well-rested.
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Exercise Is Something You Can Do Right Now To Boost Your Mood
Your fatigue will improve if you stick with it. Starting to exercise can be difficult when youre depressed and feeling exhausted. But research shows that your energy levels will improve if you keep with it. Exercise will help you to feel energized and less fatigued, not more.
Find exercises that are continuous and rhythmic. The most benefits for depression come from rhythmic exercisesuch as walking, weight training, swimming, martial arts, or dancingwhere you move both your arms and legs.
Add a mindfulness element, especially if your depression is rooted in unresolved trauma or fed by obsessive, negative thoughts. Focus on how your body feels as you movesuch as the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, or the feeling of the wind on your skin, or the rhythm of your breathing.
Pair up with an exercise partner. Not only does working out with others enable you to spend time socializing, it can also help to keep you motivated. Try joining a running club, taking a water aerobics or dance class, seeking out tennis partners, or enrolling in a soccer or volleyball league.
Take a dog for a walk.If you dont own a dog, you can volunteer to walk homeless dogs for an animal shelter or rescue group. Youll not only be helping yourself but also be helping to socialize and exercise the dogs, making them more adoptable.
I Modified My Food Choices And Hydration
In the past few weeks, I have made a huge effort to increase my daily protein intake, decreasing my fat and carbohydrate intake, and increasing the amount of water I consume per day.
In addition, I have reduced the amount of sugar I have consumed. For some reason, when I drift toward the depressive side of the pole, I crave sweets. So, now more than ever, it is important that I stick to my guns.
Increasing my water intake is fairly easy. I drink an extra glass in the morning and night. Plus, I add more before, during, and after my daily workout.
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As Normal Life Returns Scheduling Sleep May Be More Challenging
In September 2019, the lab launched their app, DOZE, external link, which helps users learn about their sleep patterns and make changes to improve their sleep. This app will soon be available for download in the app store.
And they found that, unlike what might have been expected, sleep in student-aged populations was actually better over COVID.
Students could stay in bed longer, so they weren’t that sleep deprived, says Carmona. What this goes to show is that when we have a normal schedule, especially when things go back to in-person, many students do end up being sleep deprived, because they have a lot of things to do: extracurriculars, homework, classes, studying and then late-night social media engagement can push their biological clocks, which naturally tend to go a bit later during that age range, even later. So it’s like they have a tendency to go to bed later and their bodies want them to wake up later.
So as normal returns, students should be watchful for insomnia, as well as hypersomnia .
Find Someone To Talk To
Its understandable that you might not want to tell everyone you know that you are feeling depressed. Its a sensitive issue and, like other health conditions, its something you may want to keep private.
But this doesnt mean you need to keep it a secret under lock and key. In fact, research has found that having social support can protect against symptoms of depression.
How much you decide to share depends on your personal comfort level, but having someone to talk to is important. A confidant who can offer support might include:
- A friend
- An online friend
- A mental health professional
If you feel like you need someone to talk to but arent sure who to share with, consider reaching out to a depression helpline. You can talk to a trained counselor who can listen, offer advice, give you helpful information, and connect you with treatment options in your area.
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Improve Your Sleep Hygiene
Sleep and mood are intimately related. A 2014 study found that 80% of people with major depressive disorder experience sleep disturbances.
But, you might feel like you just can’t fall asleep. Or perhaps you struggle to get out of bed because you feel exhausted all the time.
Good sleep hygiene could be key to improving the quality and quantity of your sleep.
Turn off electronics at least an hour before you go to bed. Use dim light to read a book or engage in another relaxing activity.
Only use your bed for sleep and sexual activity. Doing work in bed, or even in your bedroom, can cause you to associate your bed with stress, rather than relaxation.
Dealing With The Winter Blues
For some people, the reduced daylight hours of winter lead to a form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder . SAD can make you feel like a completely different person to who you are in the summer: hopeless, sad, tense, or stressed, with no interest in friends or activities you normally love. No matter how hopeless you feel, though, there are plenty of things you can do to keep your mood stable throughout the year.
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How Can I Best Take Care Of Myself If I Have Seasonal Affective Disorder
Talk to your healthcare provider. By planning ahead, you can manage your symptoms and feel your best.
- Stick to your treatment plan: If you have medications or a lamp for SAD, use them as directed. Follow up with your healthcare provider if you dont see an improvement in your symptoms.
- Care for yourself: Eat a well-balanced diet. Get enough sleep. Exercise regularly. Try to manage stress, perhaps by talking to a counselor or therapist.
- Plan ahead: Make a plan for what youll do if your symptoms get worse. If you notice signs of depression, take action. It might help to plan a lot of activities during these months. Having a busy schedule keeps you from hunkering down at home.
- Start treatment early: Talk to your healthcare provider about preventive treatment. If you know your symptoms start in October, consider starting treatment in September.
- Isolate yourself: Being alone can make your symptoms worse. Even though you may not feel like going out or being social, try to reach out to friends and loved ones.
- Use alcohol or drugs: They might make symptoms worse. And they can interact negatively with antidepressants.
Depression Is Different From Sadness Or Grief/bereavement
The death of a loved one, loss of a job or the ending of a relationship are difficult experiences for a person to endure. It is normal for feelings of sadness or grief to develop in response to such situations. Those experiencing loss often might describe themselves as being depressed.
But being sad is not the same as having depression. The grieving process is natural and unique to each individual and shares some of the same features of depression. Both grief and depression may involve intense sadness and withdrawal from usual activities. They are also different in important ways:
- In grief, painful feelings come in waves, often intermixed with positive memories of the deceased. In major depression, mood and/or interest are decreased for most of two weeks.
- In grief, self-esteem is usually maintained. In major depression, feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing are common.
- In grief, thoughts of death may surface when thinking of or fantasizing about joining the deceased loved one. In major depression, thoughts are focused on ending ones life due to feeling worthless or undeserving of living or being unable to cope with the pain of depression.
Grief and depression can co-exist For some people, the death of a loved one, losing a job or being a victim of a physical assault or a major disaster can lead to depression. When grief and depression co-occur, the grief is more severe and lasts longer than grief without depression.
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What Is Chronic Fatigue
Chronic Fatigue is the constant feeling of weariness or overwhelming tiredness that doesnt seem to improve or change regardless of the amount of rest or sleep received. Patients may receive an adequate amount of sleep each night and still feel fatigued during the day.
Fatigue affects people physically, mentally and emotionally. When people experience fatigue they feel as though their energy has been depleted and they dont have the strength to perform daily activities.
Fatigue may come and go or worsen during certain times. The onset of the fatigue may be unpredictable and occur without warning signs or symptoms. Fatigue may not be preceded by physical activity or exertion, and it may occur in between or during flare-up episodes of RA.
Depression Affects Your Diet
When youre feeling depressed, you might have less of an appetite, skip meals, or have an overwhelming desire for sweet foods that have less nutritional value.
Large quantities of fat and sugar can make you feel groggy and tired.
Nutritious foods, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can provide healthy antioxidants and nutrients with energy-boosting effects and these are the foods that we tend to put to aside when depression arises.
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If Youre Up For Exercise Consider A Walk Around The Block
On days when you feel as if you cant get out of bed, exercise may seem like the last thing youd want to do. However, exercise and physical activity can help to lower symptoms of depression and boost energy levels.
future depressive episodes.
Even when you have the feeling that youre unable to or have very little energy, see if youd be willing to do the opposite of what your mood is telling you to do, such as curling up in bed. Instead, set a small goal for yourself, such as taking a walk around the block.
Tips For Coping With Mental Fatigue
Sometimes, you can remove the source of your mental fatigue altogether. For example, changing jobs can fix brain fog caused by a high-stress work environment.
Other situations, like living with an illness, are not so straightforward. In these cases, mental fatigue can be managed. Here are six simple ways to cope with mental fatigue and improve your mental health:
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What To Expect At Your Provider’s Office
There is no laboratory test for chronic fatigue syndrome. But your health care provider may use tests to rule out other illnesses. Your provider will go over your symptoms, check your medical history, and do a physical examination.
If you have CFS, your provider may prescribe drugs to treat your symptoms, or suggest herbs, vitamins, or dietary changes to help you. Get plenty of rest, exercise regularly, and learn to pace yourself. Often this combination of treatments will help you get better.
If the usual treatments do not work, your provider may check for other conditions that can cause symptoms similar to those of CFS.
Volunteering Can Be A Great Way To Do Both
Knock out a few birds with one stone spending time with other people and doing something new by volunteering and giving your time to someone or something else.
You may be used to receiving help from friends, but reaching out and providing help may actually improve your mental health more.
Bonus: People who volunteer experience physical benefits, too. This includes a
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Simple Strategies For Fighting Back Against Fatigue And Depression
There are many things you can do by yourself or with the help of a therapist to combat fatigue alongside depression. Even small tasks throughout the day may not seem like much but will make a huge difference in coping with these symptoms. A few examples are:
- Make a to-do list of small, yet productive tasks to keep you busy and out of bed throughout your day: These could even be just going to the shop to buy groceries, light cleaning, light studying sessions or revision or just taking time out to pamper or treat yourself.
- Partake in light exercise: This could be doing a few minutes of an exercise video in your home, yoga, a stroll in your local park or even around your home by yourself or with a friend or loved one.
- Try to keep yourself busy, but do not overdo it: This may become overwhelming for you, but remember to take it easy, do not be too hard on yourself and remember to balance everything to suit you and your needs. Have a comfortable balance of productivity and recreation. Small steps are still progress forward, no matter how small.
- Fixing your sleeping pattern: This one proved most difficult for me as I have always had trouble sleeping throughout my life. Yet I found even going to bed that extra hour earlier, drinking a herbal tea before bed and working on it a little each day, it has helped my sleeping pattern and helped with problems of fatigue.
My Personal Experience With Fatigue And Depression
From personal experience, I did not realize fatigue affected me and that depression alone was the source of my issues whilst studying at university.
I found it difficult to concentrate on essays, found myself very tired and exhausted just by going to the shop or a class and was late quite often to work, lectures and social events because of this. It was not until these occurrences were pointed out to me by a friend that I noticed it may not just be my depression causing these problems.
It is important to first acknowledge that there may be something interfering with your sleep, body and mind, as well as depression and to tackle the cause before it becomes a bigger issue.
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Dehydration And Inadequate Nutrition
Staying hydrated and getting proper nutrition is important for keeping your energy levels up. Research shows that a lack of fluid intake is associated with increased sleeplessness, fatigue, and irritability.
Not getting enough calories in your diet can also leave you feeling tired all the time, as can eating too many refined carbohydrates or not getting enough protein. Allergies to foods such as wheat, peanuts, or dairy may also contribute to tiredness.
What Is On The Horizon For The Treatment Of Residual Fatigue
Dr. Fava: Ongoing studies are currently evaluating some antidepressant medications that, in theory, may be much less likely to cause fatigue as a side effect, such as the triple uptake inhibitors and SNRIs with more prominent noradrenergic effects, as well as adjunctive treatments to minimize residual fatigue, such as norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors .13
It is important to note that residual fatigue is not limited to patients with depression and that many drugs we use to treat other mental and medical conditions can induce fatigue well. For instance, we often see fatigue affect patients with schizophrenia that further compounds the apathy and negative symptoms that are core to that illness. Many of the medications we use for neurological conditions can cause symptoms of fatigue as well and that also exacerbates the existing condition for these patients. So, I would say that the topic of fatigue extends beyond depression and will become an important focus of assessment, treatment, and drug development in the next few years.
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Nap Only When Necessary
Naps are great for sleepiness, but not fatigue, says Carmona. But its important to distinguish between the two before napping.
Fatigue is not predicated on how much sleep you got the night before, its a state that can ebb and flow with motivation and effort, says Carmona. Sleepiness is directly related to how much sleep we’re getting. The longer you’re awake and active in a 24-hour period, the more sleep pressure youre accumulating.
Youll want to watch for cues like your eyes rolling back, your eyelids getting really heavy or your head nodding forward. If youre reading a book and you read the same sentence over and over, or miss a chunk of the TV show youre watching, a nap may be helpful. But, naps should be used in moderation. The sweet spot is between 20 to 30 minutes if you really feel like you have a lot of sleep pressure.