Tiredness can be due to cancer treatments, stress, diarrhea, dehydration, infection, or anemia.
Because you can’t measure tiredness, it is important to keep track of it and let your doctor know. Keep a journal of how often you become fatigued and how long it lasts. Choose a fun journal that you will remember to write in!
Note when fatigue happens and what was happening that day. Sometimes feeling sad or down can make you feel tired and weak, as well.
At this point, the only thing proven to benefit cancer related fatigue is physical activity. I know it sounds crazy that if you’re tired you would go exercise, but research shows it helps! You don’t have to do a lot (in fact, you want to avoid overdoing it), but doing something to maintain muscle mass and improve oxygen flow will help fight fatigue in the long run.
Try to rest when fatigue is the worst. Then, when you feel better, be more active. Listen to your body! It knows what you need.
You can also nap during the day but make sure to not sleep too long. You’ll need to get good, quality sleep at night, and napping too much can get in the way of that. If you really need a nap, try a power nap for 20-30 minutes – just set your alarm.
Have snacks and easy meals ready to go. When you’re fatigued, the last thing you want to do is cook a meal or prepare a snack.
Have your family and friends get snacks together and make or bring over meals. This will help you to get the nutrition you need to be energized and heal while not making you tired from preparing the food.
Here are some quick and easy snack ideas that your friends or family can put in baggies:
- Trail mix
- Applesauce cups
- String cheese
- Granola bars
Other healthy and quick ideas are:
- Yogurt and granola
- Graham crackers with almond butter
- Hummus and veggies
- Whole grain muffins
- Rice cake and peanut butter
- Hard-boiled egg
Choose high protein and high calorie foods so that when you DO eat, you’re making the most of it. Foods that are high in calories and nutrient-dense are peanut butter, avocado, nuts, and salmon. Eggs, greek yogurt, and quinoa are all protein-dense foods.
- Try to rest when you are the most tired
- When you are less tired, be active
- Have snacks and meals ready to go so that you can get good nutrition without having to prepare food
- Choose foods high in calories and protein so that when you do eat, you are getting good nutrition
- Be active! The only thing proven to help cancer-related fatigue is physical activity