Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Too Tired to Think

Janet writes: Tim and I have both been really tired lately. I don’t know if it’s the weather, the fact that it’s winter in Wisconsin, or just too much to do, but we’ve both been exhausted. When Tim gets tired, his cognitive symptoms become more noticeable. He gets stuck on words more often and he has trouble finishing sentences sometimes. He forgets to write things down and then forgets to do those things, because he didn’t write them down. He gets very frustrated and crabby when this happens. If I am tired also, I can’t help much, and then we both end up crabby. Not fun at our house – time for a vacation!

Anyone who has MS knows that fatigue is the enemy, and it will make all your other symptoms flare. This is true for cognitive symptoms as well as physical ones. Extreme fatigue can make your brain feel like mush. It’s really important to get enough rest and keep your activity level within manageable limits so your symptoms stay under control.

Here are a few tips to help you:

- Alternate strenuous tasks with sedentary ones. For example, vacuum the living room, then sit and update the checkbook. Keep alternating heavy and light jobs throughout your day.

- Find different way to do heavy jobs. Slide those heavy boxes across the floor instead of picking them up and carrying them. Use long handled tools when cleaning. Sit down to prepare meals. There are lots of ways to adapt.

- Rest before you are tired. Taking short rest breaks between tasks will help you last longer and do more.

- When you feel like you are done, be done. Don’t try to push yourself past that fatigue point, or you won’t be getting out of bed the next day.

- Finally, if you are just too tired to function on a given day, take the day off. Do easy things that don’t require a lot of energy and try for your normal routine the next day.

Hopefully these simple tips will help you get through those tired days. As for Tim and I, well, I think we just need spring!

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