Low Energy (fatigue)
One of the invisible effects of stroke is fatigue, both in body and mind. It is tiredness that does not go away with a good night’s sleep. It can leave you feeling like you have no energy. You may get tired after just a short period of activity, even just getting up to eat breakfast.
As a mom, wife, and child of elderly parents I wanted to still be able to do everything I did before. Without pacing myself I would become too exhausted by mid-day. And end up missing important activities. Plan ahead!
Feeling tired for a few weeks is normal. Post-stroke fatigue is a sense of intense tiredness that does not get better with rest. It can lead to depression and isolation. It is important to tell your team you are having post-stroke fatigue.
Recovering from a stroke takes a lot of energy and thought. Here are some tips for managing and maximizing your energy.
Structure your day
- Keep a schedule of daily activities.
- Know your high and low energy times.
- Plan your activities a day in advance. Anticipate the energy needs for each one.
- Schedule rest periods. Plan higher-energy activities in the morning or after a rest.
- Balance your activity level to make sure you have the energy you need to get through the day.
- If the day’s tasks will take more energy than you have, pick your priorities. Be sure to include things you enjoy.
- Talk about your energy level and need for rest with your family and friends. Ask for help with high-energy tasks.
Arrange your space
- As much as you can, arrange your home so that it is easy to move around in.
- Reduce the need to climb stairs.
- Put frequently-used items where they are easy to reach.
- Sit rather than stand when doing chores such as ironing or washing dishes.
- Use energy-saving equipment and technology. For example, try shopping online.
Eating, sleeping and staying active
- Eat a healthy diet to maximize your energy levels.
- Establish good sleep patterns. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
- Include down time, rest periods or naps in your day.
- Avoid sedating drugs and excessive alcohol.
- Take part in exercise and leisure activity you can tolerate. Talk to your healthcare team about what is safe for you.
- Set goals to gradually increase the intensity and duration of exercise.
Where to get support
An occupational therapist can work with you on a plan for reducing the energy needed for your daily tasks.
A physiotherapist can help you plan exercises and safely increase the amount of exercise you do.
Your family and friends can help you get things done.