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How To Cope When Fatigue Sets In

When you’re too tired to do anything, you might not even be able to sleep. You probably won’t be able to focus on anything like reading, even a fun novel. Watching TV can feel draining and over-stimulating.

There are advantages to when fatigue sets in. It allows you the space to do things you would otherwise put off, like meditation. The fatigue encourages you to stop, be still and stay quiet. It actually sets you up in way to meditate. It can be so hard to just sit down and do nothing but breathe. Those incoming thoughts just keep coming and the practice of meditation is to continually bring back the focus to the breath and clear the mind. But in just a couple of minutes of clearing the mind, the thoughts return. And again, you can put in the effort to clear them away because you lack the energy to get up and go tend to your distractions.

You can also challenge your perspective about being tired. How can fatigue be a good thing in this moment? It can give you an opportunity to bow out of a social event you weren’t crazy about going to in the first place. It can give you the situation to speak up and ask for help to cook dinner. You can choose to put yourself first and free yourself of obligations; you can cancel lunch dates, work meetings, school classes. How else can it be good for you?

If you don’t feel like meditating, another great option is to daydream. If you simply cannot clear your mind, you can direct your thoughts to positive ideas that make you happy or make you laugh. Finish the sentence, “It would be really, really nice if …..”

…..if there were edible pillows made of chocolate that didn’t melt and were fluffy

…..if we took that trip to Europe after all

….If that little puppy I saw on the street were in my lap right now

…..If I could play a game of badminton with my nephew next week.

One Saturday, I woke up fine. I convinced K to play tennis so we booked a court for noon. At 11am, I became exhausted. I went to bed and for the next 30 minutes before having to leave, I tried to nap but I couldn’t sleep. When it was time to get up, I was just as tired, but made myself go anyway. I was hoping to feel better.

We played and I took a lot of breaks. Afterward, I did feel more energy. Committing to a booked appointment was the motivator to keep going. Making the decision to rally through the fatigue is sometimes exactly what is needed. And I need to remind myself of this because when I am in the middle of a big dip in energy, I can feel despair and defeat. Exercise boosted my energy, even though I really wanted to lie down.

During one weekend, I woke up tired on both days. Sometimes, it can wear off after getting up, moving about and getting into my morning routine. K and I spent the day driving to the coast, which took 40 minutes, buying patio furniture, visiting friends, then driving back home. By when we got home at 4pm, I needed to lie down until 6:30pm. My body was exhausted because I didn’t rest in the middle of the day.

In this case, I tried to power through on a day that I didn’t get quality sleep. Now, when I decide between powering through or resting, I might choose to power through if I woke up well rested but I’ll rest if I didn’t. At home, it’s very easy to keep working, whether it’s on the computer, cooking, maintaining the home and doing health chores. I can work for hours straight, then find myself utterly exhausted. I’ve learned that it’s better for me to work at a steady pace with many breaks at regular intervals.

My air purifier has a timer that I set for an hour. Once it turns off, I get up and have a snack or go for a walk while I make phone calls to my mom or a friend. When I do this method, I can work for a longer range and not burn out.


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