If you are tired all the time you may have already heard the term “active rest”. Studies show that prolonged periods in bed for Chronic Fatigue sufferers are not beneficial. My experience and research as a Homeopath has led me to make certain recommendations to patients that seem to give good results. This article will focus on what active steps you can take, if you have been diagnosed with Chronic fatigue. If you want to know how important your Adrenals are in this illness read Part 1 here. Part 3 will focus on Nutrition.
But I’m too tired to exercise!
As a previous sufferer of Chronic fatigue myself, I know really well how impossible it feels when people advise you to exercise. It’s hard enough to walk to the post box let alone do something more physical. First of all you need to change your mindset. Your body at the moment is very very fatigued. This is because there are some major functional disturbances going on and some of your endocrine glands such as your adrenals are struggling big time. However, studies show that graded exercise programs really do help sufferers and within 4 weeks. If it’s really going to help you, then it’s definitely going to be worth it right?
The Secret of Routine
One of the major tricks to helping yourself is to have a very structured routine. This means you eat the right foods (more of that in Part 3) at the same time everyday, you exercise and you actively rest at certain times. This way your body gets used to backing you up when you need it when you are exerting yourself and then regenerating itself when you are taking an active rest.
What is Active Rest?
Active rest is the term I use to refer to planned and regenerative rest periods. It is very different in its effect to sitting down because you cannot go on physically holding yourself up. It’s a different way of approaching fatigue and it is based on the premise that you know you are going to get more tired ,so you STOP and rest before you reach the point when you physically cannot cope any longer. When chronic fatigue is very severe the patient feels tired ALL the time, but even with this severity there are still ups and down during the day in the levels of tiredness. Take advantage of these ups and downs and plan your rest periods to pre-empt the worst periods. Active rest is both a planned and scheduled rest or sleep, but also it can be a rest involving meditation. For very severe sufferers who are so incapacitated that they cannot work or go to school, I recommend the following:
- Wake between 7-8am
- Breakfast within 30 minutes of waking
- Mid morning protein based snack followed by 30 -45 minutes active rest.
- Lunch at midday
- Horizontal sleep or meditation for 1 hour after lunch
- Mid afternoon protein based snack
- Dinner between 6-7pm
- Bedtime 10-10.30pm but in bed reading/resting 30 mins before
- When you have activities that prohibit this routine try and schedule your time before the activity to include an extra rest.
The Benefits of Meditation
I have written before about the amazing health benefits of meditation on my blog. This is THE MOST IMPORTANT addition you can make to your life if you want to recover well from Chronic Fatigue. I suggest you buy a guided meditation CD or go to classes or better still check out these websites that have lots of free meditations that you can download onto your Ipod or MP3 player. Here is one of my favourites:
So what Exercise can you do?
Pilates, Yoga and walking are great forms of beneficial exercise for Chronic fatigue sufferers because they can involve the mind and the body and you can start small. It is helpful to work out a 15 ,20 and 30 minute yoga workout with a teacher so you can start slowly and over 4 weeks build up to a group lesson with everyone else. The fiveTibetan Rites are an excellent idea for sufferers.Your gentle exercise needs to be done DAILY by week 4, no exceptions except you can take one day off. In week one of the program try and exercise every other day, week two 4-5 times a week and week three almost daily if you can. This will bring you to week 4 where you are doing a small, gentle amount of exercise 6 out of 7 days.
Your exercise doesn’t have to be fast, furious and aerobic. Choose something that gives you peace and focus on that. Everytime you move your body you will be encouraging your bodily systems to come back into line to take you towards health and healing.
Next this Chronic Fatigue series part 3 I will write about the nutritional contribution you can make to getting yourself well from Chronic Fatigue.
Happy Homeopathic Prescribing!
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© Sam Adkins 2010
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This article was brought to you by Sam Adkins The Homeopathic Coach who teaches families about healthy living and natural remedies using homeopathic medicine. An internationally renowned expert, her helpful articles are regularly syndicated online. She publishes the ezine Homeopathy@Home to provide free Homeopathic tips, tools and resources to educate and inspire you to use Homeopathy at home. www.thehomeopathiccoach.com