An update on my ongoing quest to conquer chronic fatigue:
In my last post I mentioned that I still struggled to get out of bed by 8am but I felt like I was getting better. My most successful strategies up to that point had been:
- Cortisol manager in the evenings
- Meditation (might I recommend Headspace to help?) and Yoga
- Doctor-recommended supplements for my low-iron anemia, vitamin D, thyroid, etc.
- Scaling back on stressful activities at work
- Adjusting my schedule and prioritizing sleep and time to relax
- Spending more time on things that make me happy, like volunteering, music, and creating art
This puzzle has taken me 7+ months to piece together, and those are the major pieces. I also did a lot of experimenting with my diet and testing for food allergies, but didn’t find anything that made much of a difference for me there (though inflammation from food allergies is often a huge culprit for people with fatigue.)
The next big piece fell into place when I borrowed a light therapy lamp and a timer from a friend. It’s a Verilux Happylight that she found on Craigslist, plugged into a digital lamp timer you can program to turn on when you want to wake up.
Why this works when I can happily sleep like a cat in the sun streaming through my windows I don’t know, but within a week of having this lamp switch on at 8:15am I could physically feel the heaviness of morning start to lift. After a couple weeks I started waking up on my own before my alarm (set at 8:30-8:45 these days) — I would still take my time getting up, but it wasn’t a big struggle anymore (!!)
After a month I started getting out of bed easily, sometimes before 8am. This is completely unbelievable in my life, I am floored! Now, daylight savings has thrown me off a little, so I’m back to celebrating getting out of bed at 8:30, but it’s simply amazing how well this thing works.
Finally, for once in my life, I’ve been able to get up with enough time to do some yoga/meditation in the morning, eat breakfast, water my plants, walk my dog, and still not have to rush out the door to get to work. This is what I’ve been trying to do for over a year! I don’t know if just the light therapy lamp alone would have done it — I had to take a long, difficult road to get here, truly changing the direction of my life in a lot of ways in the process. More on that in a future post! But now it’s past my bedtime and I’m excited to get up and do yoga in the morning!