Mike: So, Angel Baby 06 asks, how can I manage my chronic fatigue throughout the day?
Steph McElroy, Occupational Therapist: Okay, great name. Okay, yeah, chronic fatigue, I guess, is that hidden thing to do with MS isn’t it? It’s something that people can’t see, it’s what that person is experiencing. And I guess I liken that to, is if you’ve got a bouncy castle and it’s fully inflated, you suddenly take the plug out, it suddenly disappears and it’s just completely floored and it needs that time to build itself up again, and I guess that’s part of how chronic fatigue sort of appears to, if you can give it a pictorial look. And I guess we would say that’s all about your pacing and your planning and your prioritising, the three Ps. So it’s about the pacing yourself, so it’s not cleaning the house all in one go, or it’s not doing 101 things today. It’s about saying right, what can I do today, and that’s when the planning and the prioritising comes in. So it’s, I’ve got all these three or four things to do, so which one needs doing now, which one can be done tomorrow, which one can I delegate. So it’s actually taking that time to prioritise those things. And it’s planning. Right, okay, I’ve got a busy weekend, there’s three things on this weekend, why do they all come at one weekend, but I don’t want to miss any of them. So let’s take Monday and Tuesday off to be a duvet day and just relax about it, so you’re enjoying the things you want to do, which is great, and then having that time out, if you need it, to actually have that. So it’s about planning that in that respect. So those three things are important and the other things that you can take time in doing is maybe making shortcuts. So if you’re cooking a meal, do a quick meal if you’ve got a busy time, you don’t have to make a big, you know, four course dinner, just do something quick and easy so you’re actually planning all that time for you.
Mike: There’s a few different tips and tricks there, are there any other resources available to help educate people about chronic fatigue?
Steph McElroy: Yeah, certainly. There’s a course called FACETS course, which is Fatigue Applied Cognitive Behavioural Energy Effectiveness Techniques and Lifestyle – bit of a mouthful. But actually, it’s just getting together with a group of people who are within the same sort of situation, looking at their fatigue and how they can manage it. And it’s looking at, it’s a course run, I think it’s about six to eight weeks, obviously not… just for a couple of hours, of where you’re getting together with people and you can discuss things. So you’re actually bouncing off ideas with each other, but also it’s following a format as well to look at the way that you approach your fatigue and the way that you deal with it. And you can get top tips from other people and obviously there’s the resource there that you can get it from as well. Because that covers not just fatigue in itself, but it also covers secondary fatigue as well, which is a massive thing, which is accumulation of events, which I think we don’t actually look at. You know, maybe you’ve done lots and lots of different things and you wonder two days later why you’re so tired when you’ve done nothing, and when you look back, and also that’s the impact it has on the different parts of your body as well and that’s an effect it has. And that particular course helps you to look at that and actually understand it so that you have that understanding of what’s actually happening to you, rather than, you know, why am I so tired, I had a good night’s sleep last night, what’s wrong with me. And that can be quite destroying in itself from, you know, how you’re feeling about yourself, which is not a good thing for anybody.
Mike: Great, thank you.
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