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Fatigue

Fatigue is the most common symptom of Long COVID.

Fatigue is not the same as ‘tiredness’. We are all familiar with the normal feeling of sleepiness, or tiredness after exercise, a long period of concentrating or ‘burning the candle at both ends’, but fatigue is different and does not feel normal.

Fatigue is an overwhelming sense of tiredness, lack of energy and a feeling of exhaustion.

Fatigue can affect your ability to think clearly, balance on your feet or organise your thoughts. It can also affect your physical energy levels and can make you much more emotionally unsteady when it is bad.

Fatigue can be worsened or triggered by:

  • stress and anxiety
  • emotional upset
  • multitasking
  • driving
  • lost sleep

and many other things that are often specific to the person and are not limited to physical exertion.

You may experience what we call a ‘boom-bust’ effect where some days you feel okay and others you are exhausted. Some people describe fatigue as feeling like ‘moving through treacle’ or ‘hitting a wall’.

If you are suffering from fatigue it is important that you manage your energy levels throughout the day and try to improve your sleep patterns at night. This is best done using the 3Ps: Prioritising, Planning and Pacing.

This link: www.rcot.co.uk/conserving-energy gives information on how to apply the 3Ps and a downloadable version of the advice is available. Advice is available in English and Welsh at the bottom of the linked page.

Our LCRS Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists can also help you with this if you are struggling.

They can encourage and support you to use pacing techniques, diarising and scoring activities. They will guide you in planning your life to avoid overdoing it some days and triggering fatigue requiring large quantities of rest on others.

More about fatigue

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