Fatigue is very common in multiple sclerosis (MS). While it is not as debilitating as vision loss or the inability to walk, fatigue in MS can be quite severe—a physically crushing and mind-numbing exhaustion. You might also find you have brain fog, inability to concentrate, focus or to process information or may be slowed. It stems from a combination of the disease itself (primary fatigue) and other factors like medications, poor sleep habits, depression, or inactivity (secondary fatigue).
Overwhelming exhaustion can still settle in despite adopting the best fatigue-prevention habits. Still, adjusting your lifestyle to prevent MS-related fatigue is worthwhile and can have significant benefits.
Home Remedies and Lifestyle
The same lifestyle strategies that can prevent your MS-related fatigue are also useful in managing it. These practices can also help you maintain a sense of consistency, be more productive, and give you back time you might otherwise spend in bed.
Feeding Your Body the Nutrition It Needs
Our bodies were created to heal themselves, given the proper tools. Nutrition is a key element to managing and even preventing MS fatigue. When adapting a clean eating plan, not only are you providing the key nutrients your body needs to turn food into fuel, you are also feeding your body at the cellular level which turns into long-lasting fuel – therefore, increasing your energy levels naturally, but at the same time you are healing your body from the inside out. Working with Jen Martin, The MS Wellness Coach will show you how to accomplish this and in no time you will be on the road to your health and wellness journey and feeling better overall.
Keep the Temperature Cool
MS symptoms worsen when your core body temperature rises, which is called the Uhthoff phenomenon. You may notice that your MS fatigue worsens during a hot bath, a summer stroll outside, or when you have a fever. In fact, hot temperatures are associated with worsening of many MS symptoms.
Tips for Staying Cool with MS
- Keeping your home air-conditioned
- Having a mini fan or ice packs handy
- Drinking cold water throughout the day
- Seeking shade when outside
- Exercising in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler
- Wearing loose, light-colored cotton clothing
- Wearing a cooling vest
Get Good Quality Sleep
Some MS symptoms, like tingling legs and the increased need to urinate, can interfere with your sleep. You can improve the quantity and quality of your sleep by practicing healthy habits, such as:
- Creating a sleeping schedule – going to bed at the same time and waking at the same time, regardless the day of week
- Having a nighttime routine like writing in your gratitude journal just before bed
- Avoiding stressful conversations or email before bed
- Avoiding or cutting back on caffeine, especially in the afternoon
- Avoiding alcohol, which can negatively impact your sleep
- Avoiding fluids at nighttime
You may also want to keep track of your sleep through an app on your smart phone or watch. The quality of your sleep, and how you feel when you wake can help you determine if naps could be interfering with your nighttime sleep.
- Professional massage
- Go to a wellness center/spa
- Working out, go for a walk
- Add essential oils to your daily routine
- Do things that bring you JOY
- Journaling – pen to paper helps you get more connected to what’s bothering you. Once you’ve written it down and got your frustrations out, let it go
Be sure to give yourself time to relax, do things you enjoy, and spend time with friends and family. Constantly getting things done can take a toll if you don’t take the time to unwind.
If you find that stress is really impacting your MS fatigue, you can also seek professional help. Speaking with a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach can be useful in helping you manage your stress in a healthy, adaptive way.
Recognize and Manage Depression
Depression can be a major problem in MS. And depression often contributes to fatigue, and fatigue often contributes to depression. They go hand-in-hand most often. Symptoms include changes in appetite or sleep, irritability, and a feeling of hopelessness or guilt. Make sure to discuss your depression with your wellness professional, because it is treatable.
Exercise can improve MS fatigue. Working with a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach to devise an exercise plan that works for you. Together you will come up with exercises that can range from muscle strengthening, toning, stretching, cardiovascular exercises and even weight training within the limits of your ability (and balance) are safe in MS.
Using Your Energy Wisely
You may need to think ahead as you budget your energy each day. This can be tricky, but once you get into the flow of your routine, conserving your energy can be a smart way to battle your fatigue. A few ways to best utilize your energy include:
- Building rest times into your schedule, like an afternoon 20-minute power nap (as long as it doesn’t keep you from sleeping at night)
- Planning energy-draining activities for the morning when you are less fatigued
- Asking your family to take on more of the heavy-duty household chores
- Using your scooter or wheelchair to get around throughout the day
Keeping It Simple
Minimizing chaos in your life can prevent distraction from stealing your energy. Ideas like decluttering your house and workspace, making your home an inviting, warm, and usable space, and breaking down tasks into micro-steps can keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
A word from YOU Wellness
Hi, I’m Jen Martin a Master Certified Holistic Wellness Coach and the founder of YOU Wellness. I’m also known as The MS Wellness Coach on Facebook & Instagram. I specialize in empowering women with MS to combat fatigue, increase energy levels and improve overall health and well-being, naturally. I suffered from Chronic Fatigue sleeping up to 20 hours a day. I developed an easy 6-step process that has not only worked on me, but many other women too. I know it will work for you as well. I invite you to take back control of your health, holistically by working with me as your Health and Wellness Coach. Visit my website for more information.