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Managing Fatigue with a Fatigue Diary

One of the most common, yet often overlooked, side effects we deal with daily is fatigue. This debilitating weariness can interfere with our quality of life, limiting our ability to engage with the world and the people we love. Our shared experiences have taught us that managing fatigue is not an optional activity, but a necessary strategy to live a happier, healthier life.


Just as every challenge we face has a solution, managing fatigue has its own as well. Our approach? A fatigue diary. By keeping track of our energy peaks and crashes, we can gain a better understanding of our daily rhythms and figure out how best to manage our fatigue. 


As part of the brain injury support group Mark was given a fatigue diary. You can easily create one of these yourself or you can use the template we have created here. Essentially, it is a blank grid for each day to make a note of how fatigued you are feeling.


Here’s how to do it:


At the top of the page, record how well you slept the night before. It can be as simple or detailed as you like.


In the next section, record how fatigued you are feeling at specific times of day around key activities that you do. Create 4 columns with the titles: time, activity, your fatigue score, and comments. To record how fatigued you are feeling, use a classic 0-10 scale, with 0 being that you have absolutely no fatigue whatsoever and 10 being the worst possible fatigue when you feel like you simply can’t function.


Here is an example of one of Mark’s fatigue diary entries.


Entry from Mark's fatigue diaryIf we look back at that day, we can see what trigged Mark’s fatigue. So, in this case it was going to a public event and engaging with people which caused his anxiety levels to rise and consequently his fatigue. After returning from the event Mark was nearly at his peak fatigue level which meant he had to take a nap. By allowing himself to do this, he regained his energy and could continue with his day. 


By keeping this diary every day and reflecting upon it, you can start to see what triggers your fatigue and adjust your daily routine. So, if you know that you have something in the day which is likely to make you feel fatigued, then make sure you allocate some time afterwards to have a break. But don’t worry, you don’t have to keep filling in this diary forever. As soon as you have noticed a pattern and realised your triggers, you can start to make adjustments to your day.


Time Management is Key to Managing Fatigue


Time management is a great skill for anyone to have to get the most out of their day, but it’s particularly helpful for managing fatigue.


At the start of the day, or week, have a think about your top priorities and what you most want to achieve. To conserve energy for these important tasks, think about the other activities you had planned and if these are absolutely necessary.


Take life at your own pace. Sometimes just looking at a busy schedule can make you feel overwhelmed so don’t book yourself up for the whole day. Plan in plenty of time for rest breaks before and after an event or activity that you have learnt triggers your fatigue.


Get Managing Your Fatigue Today

 

Finding our energy is about reclaiming our lives post-TBI. Join us in this journey as we navigate fatigue, learn to listen to our bodies, and discover ways to strategically plan our days for maximum energy and enjoyment.


There’s no better time than now to start your fatigue diary and get recognising what triggers your fatigue. To help you get started, download our free template here.


If you or someone you know experiences fatigue, then please seek support through our various Brain or Shine resources, such as blogs, podcasts and webinars.


If you would like to discuss your fatigue diary with us, or someone else who has been or is going through it, please join our Facebook community and ask away!