Experts have not yet determined all the causes as there are likely to be many. Chronic fatigue is a poorly understood flu like condition that can completely drain your energy and may last for years. Widows may be prone to chronic fatique because their grief is already draining away all their physical and mental energy.
Long term chronic fatigue makes you feel exhausted and lethargic with loss of motivation and sleep problems. If not addressed chronic fatigue may erode your ability to cope with everyday life.
Treatment for chronic fatigue is aimed at relieving your symptoms:
• Increase your activities by planning easy tasks every day.
• Keep a diary to monitor your progress.
• Challenge negative thinking that if you can’t do it all it’s not worth doing.
• Distract worries by focusing on something different.
• Plan a healthy, balanced diet – see nutritionists.
• Drink herbal teas for your symptoms.
• Do some physical exercise for thirty minutes every day.
• Watch less TV and get outside for more sunshine.
• Expect some setbacks but don’t let them stop you.
• Socialize with positive people who will encourage you.
• Learn some relaxation techniques.
• Use aromatic oils and massages to relax you.
• Drink plenty of water – less coffee, cola drinks and alcohol.
• Get six or seven hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
• Don’t overextend yourself, learn to say no.
• Seek medical advice about low doses of antidepressants.
When sleep is hard to get we may let our minds wander into thoughts of suicide because we are just so tired of life. Thoughts like this can be tempting when sleep exhaustion has a hold on us. Tell yourself “Don’t do it!” & seek help and support.
For more on sleep and stress please check out my Guide # 2 “Stress is Stealing My Sleep! How Do I Get it Back?” on my website “thesisterhoodofwidows”.