Chronically Me #8: Chronic Fatigue and Fitness

I haven’t talked about being chronically me since getting to France so here is a little update…

Since COVID-19 I feel people have started to take invisible illnesses a little more seriously. Compassion for those with long COVID and who suffer from ongoing symptoms, has grown to the extent where people do not question my own fatigue problems as much. But there are people out there who still do not attempt to understand or appreciate the wonders and the weirdness of the human body – but that’s a whole other topic to talk about.

Being tired all of the time sucks. No matter how much caffeine you drink or tricks you try to reset your brain it just hangs over you like a cloud of exhaust-ion fumes. Personally, I have tried all the tiredness hacks on Pinterest, TikTok, and other social media in an effort to cure myself of chronic fatigue and let me tell you, the most effective remedy for tiredness is rest and kind words.

So where does this leave staying fit and working out?

It is a balancing act that is constantly changing. Somedays I can feel up to hiking 15km whereas other days walking up and down the stairs at home is more than enough. It made me reflect on what I truly need to focus on to stay in some sort of shape. Admittedly I will never be back to my university fitness levels with all illness and time factors considered, but I can be better.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

The most important part of this “journey” is setting fitness goals that are achievable but still challenging. I started out with goals such as 5000 steps a day which has now increased to 8000 and hopefully 12000 next month! This along with daily work with my animals has created a nice balance.

However some days I find myself glued to my bed, head stuck fast on the pillow, my very lightweight duvet being the weight of a small car. But I am not able to sleep, just in a suspensory state of not being asleep but hardly managing to be in the waking world.

On days like these, I attempt a haphazard regime of self-care. I have sheet face masks next to my bed that I can slowly roll over to use as well as ensuring I have water handy. Gorgeous gorgeous girls stay hydrated! After 30 mins of internal struggle, usually, the hydration and trial of feeling pretty give me enough pep to start a slow day. But not everyone has the luxury or the ability to adapt to their chronic fatigue – if you are reading this and happen to be one of those people, it will get better. I promise.

My current “fitness” activities are walking, mobility training, and horse riding. The latter is something I plan on writing about more in-depth in terms of chronic illness and equitation. I have easy goals of 8k steps a day, and 100 active minutes a week, something that is manageable on both good days and bad days.

“Stay as active as you can for as long as you can. You know your body best!”

Not everyone is the same so I took my experience to the internet to ask others how they feel about exercise and staying active while struggling with chronic illnesses and fatigue. (Thanks to Reddit). The general consensus is to take time to listen to your body. Everyone is different in terms of illness meaning that limits change exponentially between us. Other people have mentioned taking it slowly, building up working out every so slowly and taking many rest days. Having low-impact workouts such as mobility training, yoga, and walks benefit the mind just as much as the body.

What to take away from this little article?

Chronic fatigue and illness are balancing acts. Everyone has their own personal experience with them that differ, so try not to compare yourself to how others are managing their conditions. Be kind to yourself with low-impact training and kind words.

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Let me know what you feel about the subject in the comments! I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Links to my sites:

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