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Fatigue – help with daily tasks

Getting up and dress

  • Sit down to wash and dry
  • Use a towelling robe rather than a towel to dry yourself after washing
  • Consider using a raised toilet seat
  • An Occupational Therapist can give additional specific advice about
    adaptations you could make to your home, such as rails or
    stair lifts

Housekeeping

  • Sit down for as many chores as possible, such as when preparing food
  • Consider having a cleaner, or ask for advice from the Hospice’s Family Support team or Social Services
  • Ask other family members or friends to do heavy household tasks if possible
  • Sit down to do the ironing
  • Cook simple meals, and use convenience foods when feeling particularly tired
  • Eat little and often to maintain the flow of energy

Shopping

  • Think about what you need in advance and make a list in order of the shop’s layout if possible, so you don’t have to walk around every aisle
  • Use a shopping trolley rather than a basket
  • Ask for help at the checkout with bag packing and when unloading your trolley into your car
  • Shop at quieter times
  • Consider ordering your groceries online and having them delivered

Childcare

  • Explain your feelings of tiredness to children
  • Plan activities you can do with them sitting down such as drawing, board games or puzzles.
  • Avoid lifting children – encourage them to climb on to your knee instead
  • Involve children in simple household chores you need help with
  • Use baby-sitters from time to time so you can do things you enjoy

In the Workplace

  • Talk to your employer and your work colleagues about your fatigue
  • Discuss if you could change hours to arrive and leave at less busy times
  • If your job is physically exerting, look for lighter work
  • Take short breaks regularly
  • Ask your employer whether you could work from home, either permanently or part-time
  • Employees with illnesses like cancer are protected by law under the Disability Discrimination Act. Talk to your
  • Personnel Department, the Citizens Advice Bureau or the
  • Hospice’s Social Workers for more information.

Exercise

Try and exercise even if you are feeling less well. Research has shown that gentle exercise may help reduce the symptoms of fatigue.

Basic tips for exercising when suffering from fatigue

Take regular light exercise such as walking

Plan exercise into your day

Listen to your body after you have tried exercising – did you sleep better for example?

Drink plenty of fluids

Keep a record of your activities which will help show you how much you should be doing

Arm Exercises

Repeat each of the following exercises five times if you can.

1. Grip your fist together and then stretch your fingers

2. Move your wrist up and down

3. Move your wrist in circles, clockwise and anti-clockwise

4. With your elbow bent, turn your palm over and back

5. Bend and straighten your elbow

6. Stretch your arm as high in the air as possible

Sleeping well at night

If you are struggling to get good-quality sleep during the night, the following tips may help:

• Sleep just long enough – have regular bedtime and getting

up times. This will lead to deeper, less fragmented sleep

• Get some sunlight exposure every day to help strengthen

your body’s natural rhythm

• Have a light snack or milky drink at bedtime to prevent

hunger from disturbing your sleep

• Avoid stimulants such as cola, tea and coffee from early

evening onwards

• Limit your alcohol consumption. A small night-cap may help

you relax, but more will lead to fragmented and restless

sleep

• Regulate the room temperature so it is neither too warm nor

too cold

• Reduce noise in your bedroom. Ear plugs may help

• Limit daytime naps to half an hour in the early evening to

prevent disruption of night-time sleep

• Do not try too hard to fall asleep or become anxious if you

are unable to get to sleep. Read with a dim light, or get up

and go into another room, and then try going to bed again

when you feel sleepy. Do not watch television last thing at

night as this may be too stimulating

• A little regular daily exercise will help – but not just before

bedtime