Neuro-fatigue is real and it’s different than regular fatigue.
It spreads through all aspects of life. Neuro-fatigue impacts not only one’s physical ability but mental and emotional well-being, as well.
It’s really hard to make decisions or be in a positive mood when neuro-fatigue hits. That fuzzy feeling aka brain fog makes it difficult to think clearly and problem solve.
It’s important to remember that your brain is healing. Recognize that you will probably need more rest and sleep than you did before your stroke. Your brain needs sleep to help repair itself.
However, this can frustrating because it takes so much longer to get things done.
This is where energy conservation techniques come into play.
These techniques take a little more effort than just waking up and doing what you want.
Energy conservation is a way to maintain energy so that you can do the things that need to be done or are important to you, regardless of neuro-fatigue.
So how can you implement them in your daily life?
The 4 Ps of Energy Conservation
Make a list of the things you need to do or want to do. This can include things around your home, your self-care, socializing, caring for kiddos, or scheduling doctor’s appointments.
Start with the most important things you need to get done and put off less important things if you need to. This might mean that if you have a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday, laundry gets pushed to Thursday. Laundry is important, but it can wait.
Plan your day to avoid extra trips. Let’s stick with the idea that you have a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday. If you were planning to go grocery shopping on Tuesday, just wait.
Plan to include your grocery shopping trip on Wednesday before or after your doctor’s appointment to avoid the extra trip out of the house. Getting ready to leave the house can be a lot of work in itself.
Also, plan your week to include rest days. If you know that Wednesday is going to be a big day with the doctor’s appointment and grocery shopping, plan to take the following day off to recover.
Slow and steady wins the race.
Let’s stick with the same example. You can even pace how you get things done on your Wednesday out of the house. If your doctor’s appointment is at 9 a.m., maybe take 30 minutes or an hour afterward to grab a bite for breakfast. Sit in the car and rest up before going into the grocery store.
Although it’s really hard to do, don’t feel like you have to rush to get things done. This may take some time to adjust to this new way of thinking, especially if you were on-the-go pre-stroke.
Take rest breaks when you need them. Try to ask for help when you need it.
The ways that we position our bodies during daily tasks can actually help us conserve energy. For example, sitting uses a lot less energy than standing.
Use a high stool when washing dishes or cooking a meal. Sit while you’re grooming in the morning (brushing and styling your hair, applying makeup, shaving, etc.).
Use good body mechanics when lifting objects to reduce the chance of injury and to conserve energy; lift with your legs, not your back, keep objects close to your body, and have a wide base of support.
Neuro-fatigue is irritating and discouraging, but using energy conservation techniques can help you continue to do the things that are important to you.