Chronic fatigue: What has helped me the most?

I have lived with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) for a few decades, so I thought I would share some of my experiences.

What has helped me the most?

I find it’s a combination of several things, mostly the basics along with one or two more specific ones.

PACING

I have learned to pace myself better. I rest before, during, and after any activity.

I typically split up activities into 5-10 minute sections, with rest in between.

I schedule rest days before and after any significant activity – going out for an errand, having a visitor, cleaning, and so on.

I schedule in extra rest since things may happen so I’ll need to spend more energy than planned.

This has helped me enormously and I am still learning about how to best pace myself. It has helped me avoid crashes and generally stabilize.

REST

When I rest, I aim for quality rest – a quiet room, dark, cool, and so on.

Any activity takes energy, including listening to something or watching a movie. I still watch videos or movies, but not if I need or want to rest more deeply.

DIET

I find that eating fresh and low on the food chain helps me a lot. Ideally, it’s local and organic as well.

I also minimize and avoid certain foods: Refined or super-processed foods are often not very nutritionally dense. Refined sugar causes my energy level to go up and down too much. Caffeine gives a kind of “false energy” that masks when my body needs rest. Dairy makes me feel bloated and sluggish.

When I eat like this, I find that my system is far better at handling the exceptions since I, on special occasions, will eat just about anything.

I aim for a good general diet, and it’s good to be flexible.

WATER

I drink a lot of water, mostly in the form of herbal and spice teas and water with lemon. I aim for clear to lightly colored urine.

My highest intake is in the morning and early afternoon, and then less in the late afternoon and evening. That helps me not need to get up in the middle of the night.

I find that this too helps me a lot.

CLIMATE

I find that I feel better and have more energy in dry and warm weather, with occasional rain.

If it’s too cold (less than 15 c) or too hot (25-30 c and above), it seems that my body needs to use a lot of energy to regulate, and it’s not very good at regulating in general.

I know this is individual. For instance, I have talked with people with CFS who do better in cold climates.

ASKING FOR HELP & SAYING “NO”

CFS has helped me be more authentic.

It has helped me be more transparent, ask for help, and say “no” when I need to.

Asking for help and saying “no” is easier the better those around me know and understand my condition. Sometimes, it helps to refer to an authority like doctors or organizations that provide thorough and accurate information about CFS.

REDUCE STRESS / CLARIFY

In general, it (obviously) helps to have a stable life situation, reduce stress, find meaning in life, clarify our priorities and what’s really important to us, and so on.

In general, find what’s nourishing for you, and nourish that. Notice what drains your energy, and minimize or eliminate that.

Some of the approaches that have helped me are heart-centered practices (Tonglen, Ho’oponopno, all-inclusive gratitude practice), inquiry (The Work of Byron Katie, Kiloby Inquiries, the Big Mind process, the headless experiments), neurogenic tremoring (Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises / TRE), training a more stable attention, and basic meditation.

I have written about this in other articles so won’t go into it in detail here.

MINDFUL MOVEMENT & NATURE

I find that gentle mindful movement – in my case Breema, Qigong, and tai chi – helps me feel more whole and myself. I feel better and can relate to situations better.

It’s the same with being in nature. I feel more alive, more myself, and more connected with the rest of life.

FOLLOW MY INNER KNOWING

I have learned to follow my inner knowing and guidance more consistently, although there is still room for improvement!

I have lived with this body my whole life, and with CFS for a few decades. I can generally feel when I am about to do too much, when I need rest, and how complete that rest needs to be. I can also imagine into situations and get a sense of how my system is likely the respond, and make decisions accordingly.

HERBAL MEDICINE

I take Siberian Ginseng (eleuthero) and echinacea for energy and my immune system. These days, I also take Lion’s Mane for my memory (impacted by long-Covid). I buy the powder, fill my own (000) capsules using a capsule-filling tray, and take 3-4 of each daily.

At times, I also take cod liver oil and/or vitamin D capsules, vitamin B12 sublingual tablets, magnesium, and/or a few other things.

ENERGY WORK

About eight years ago, I discovered Vortex Healing which is a form of energy work that can be done in-person or at a distance. I was skeptical at first since many healing modalities seem too strong for my system, but was favorably surprised. I have taken the trainings (up to UAP so far).

What I benefit from the most these days is receiving energization sessions. I notice a clear difference before and after. They provide me with a very welcome boost.

VH also seems to help with detecting and removing sub-clinical infections, strengthening the system in general, and working through any emotional issues (identifications) impacting general health and the energy system.

It also helps if I crash. It seems that my system gets very disorganized when it crashes, and VH helps boost the energy and helps it get more organized again.

For me, it hasn’t been a magic bullet but it has helped me greatly. I also feel calmer knowing that a VH session can help stabilize and boost my system.

WORKS TOGETHER

I listed these from the most basic to the more specific, not by order of importance.

It’s not so easy for me to rank these, mainly because they all work together. They all contribute.

If I were to rank, I would do as I did here and put the basics first: pacing, rest, diet, climate, and relationships.

FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU

Some or all of this may be different for you. What’s important is to find what works for you.

Notice what you do, and notice the effects. Or explore it more systematically.

I have done a combination of both and there is still a lot for me to explore and discover.

The image is by me and Midjourney

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