Tips to Boost Energy When You’re Struggling with Debilitating Fatigue

by | Jun 1, 2022 | Lupus Blog | 0 comments

In this week’s blog, I’ll provide some advice and things you can do to overcome debilitating fatigue and exhaustion. We don’t want to move, which is counterintuitive, and I understand. I’m a Yogi, but when I’m in a lot of pain from an autoimmune flare-up, I don’t want to move. People need to understand that I can’t force myself to move. It’s often excruciatingly uncomfortable to move your body. Then, we have our safety, or protective mode. When we are harmed, our brains tell us to contract and not move. When you have a painful thumb, index finger, or foot, you don’t want to put weight on it. You do not intend to use it. It’s a pain relief. 

Key Movements to Get Away with Fatigue

It’s what we, as physical therapists, really have to rehab through when patients have injuries. The rehabilitation process is to get over your thinking, to really direct the movement in the areas that you need, regardless of how the patients feel. 

Just when you feel like you can’t do it, when you do move, you have to understand that it helps your body to metabolically be sound; to be able to detoxify all the inflammatory cytokines that tend to build up in our bodies. So even though it hurts, nice easy movements are key. 

Ease the Fatigue Around Your Spine

Today, I want to show you how it might look for you. I’m here in my office, recording this podcast for you. This is where I spend the entire day. And when I sit, when I’m in my brain, I forget to move. 

I have a yoga mat that I set up behind me so that when I get stiff or feel like I need to move, it’s almost as if my body is telling me, “Connie, you’ve got to move.” But this is something I want you to do just about anywhere, whether you’re working, a stay-at-home mom, or if you’re just in bed, sometimes you can just easily get yourself up. 

I’d like you to join me in a seated position and take a deep breath in. Inhale deeply and exhale through your mouth. So there’s a little folding in, right? Inhale, stretch your spine, relax your shoulders. Put a smile on your face, expand your chest, and exhale slowly, and really get the movement into your pelvis. Shifting forward, staying nice and tall and stooping back and tilting your pelvis back, inhale up and exhale down. You can have your arms down on your knees, or you can have it by your side.

What I’m looking for is chest expansion and exhalation, scooping and tucking, and tilting your pelvis back, inhale up and exhale, inhale up and exhale.

Ease the Fatigue Around Your Spine

Now that we’ve exercised or warmed up our spine, I’d like to concentrate on the upper part, which is your neck. 

Just a few neck rolls, bend your neck down, then roll it to the right as you inhale. Very good, going slowly is essential. Exhale, inhale over to the left and stay a minute and be very, very gentle. Because when you are really achy, this can really trigger you. But if you move nice and slow within your limits, staying under the receptive pain, then this can really help you sit up nice and tall. And so, side to side roll, and then take it back center and sit up nice and tall. We’ve moved our neck. We’ve moved our spine. 

Ease the Fatigue Around Your Shoulders

Now let’s start with the shoulders. If you are in a lot of pain, just feel free to keep the show hands down by your side. Just roll the shoulders back up and forward. You can have your arms sort of nicely relaxed by your side. Or, if you feel like you need a little bit more movement, you can have your hands on your shoulders and move the elbows up and back. 

You’re going to notice that it creates a lot more movement in the whole body. Inhale, sitting up nice and tall is key, inhale and exhale back.

Next, I want you to go ahead and do what we did with the shoulders. I want to open up the front side of the chest because what happens when we’re in pain, we step forward and bring everything forward. We contract forward. And when we’re like this, we just want to stay here. This is our flare position.

When we’re in pain, what do we do? We contract, we don’t stay out, we don’t open our chest and be okay. We contract forward. I’d like you to contract again. Open you back up, sit up tall, and interlace your hands behind you. I hope you can see me like this before pulling your arms forward without shifting your chest. I don’t want you to lean forward from your hips, but I do want you to sit up tall. It looks like this on the front side. I want you to roll your shoulders down and back as opposed to stooped up like this.  

Perhaps the hand should be right next to your hip, and you can’t even raise it since it aches so much. However, you will notice that it is really snug on the front part of your chest. This is typical, which is why I want you to do it and then return it. You’ll realize, wow, it really opens. All of a sudden, you feel energy moving through your upper region.

Inhale and Exhale

When you’re sick, your gut stops working, and you must make every effort to activate it. So I’m going to roll backwards a little and twist to the left while sitting nice and erect. There will be no shifting to the side. I want to maintain my sit bones firmly planted on the chair, twist to the Left, and exhale. My right hand was placed on the outside of my left knee. I’m holding my left hand behind me, or on my arm. 

Every inhalation and exhalation, you move a little deeper. One more time to the left, sit up nice and tall to the left center, and twist to the right center.

We’ve finished the spine, the shoulders and the neck. All the appropriate things. 

Functional Capacity

Now, I’m going to roll back even more and just ask you to stare at your feet, really look down at your feet, really focus on the soles of your feet, and then start to raise his hinge forward and come up just a little bit. Then, slowly sit that down. 

Do that like five times, inhale and exhale, push down to lift and feel your thighs really kick in and back down. I’m going to move so that I can center myself, bend forward and back. I’m usually sitting on the front of my chair to ensure that I can control and come down. You’ve probably noticed that I’m not going all the way back up since it’s a lot more strain on your neck. And soon, you’ll be able to go all the way up and all the way down. The trick is to move as slowly as possible. 

We’ve worked our thighs, squatting up and down is really, incredibly good because it works quite well. Your glutes, thigh muscles, all the muscles, hamstrings, calves, and all the muscles that you will need to walk. And because this is a functional capacity we don’t want to lose, I want you to keep moving. Therefore, while it may seem counterintuitive at times since you don’t want to move, this is quite beneficial. And we’re doing it all in under ten minutes.

Get Away With Those Hip Problems

Now that you’re sitting up straight, I want you to sit up tall and place your left ankle on top of your right knee. When you do this, your right or left hip may simply slip open, causing your spine to go lateral. But I want you to keep it down and sit up straight. Your knee may be much higher, and the trick is to work extending, sitting up tall, and pushing dis down. It helps to pull the navel to the spine, sit up tall, and inhale and exhale. 

Those of you who have the flexibility and can eventually have a lot more, I want you to bring your left toes up towards your shin, which will really kick in this anterior compartment of your shin, and then tilt forward from your hips. And that will exacerbate the stretch. This is similar to the pigeon stance for your hip, external rotators, and all the hip problems associated with autoimmunity. 

Breathe and Balance

Breathe here for as long as you want, then slowly return. Bring your foot down and shake it. And then, with the right ankle on top of the left knee, sit up tall, really pull up, and then press the right knee down, left, right toes up towards your shin, hinge forward from your hips, and breathe toes up and breathe.  Don’t forget, you can just stay here.

The idea is to keep even a Moana balanced on both sit bones, sit up tall, and then come forward and breathe. You may alternate, so we’ll do it one more time on each side and then come back right foot down. Slow and pleasant. I like to spice it up with a spinal twist to the left and back center. And again, left ankle on top of the right knee, sitting up nice and tall, left toes up, sitting up and feeling what I feel and just tuning into my body, starting with my chest, leaning forward and breathing for 5 seconds. 

Come back the left foot down right fudge or right ankle on top of the left knee sitting up nice and tall, being mindful of my hips and what they’re telling me. Then, hinge forward from my hips for 5 seconds, and come back. I might just interlace my hands behind me and just open up my chest and just gaze up and back. 

Lastly, I’m going to walk my hands down. I’m going to go further back so you can see, maybe even roll sideways. I’m going to walk my hands forward and just come off all the way forward and allow my head to just relax. This is going to open up my low back, and I’m just going to stay here for as long as I like. Then slowly come back to walking with my hands above, when you do that, the blood rushes to your head.

Keep These In Mind

You’re having difficulty since, of course, you’re experiencing a flare. However, when done in a seated position with total support, it definitely helps to get you moving. And I guarantee that if you practice this every day, you’ll be shocked at how much functional mobility you can elicit from yourself. 

Remember, I’m not doing a workout. This is simply my work everyday. I’m sitting at my desk, doing this. So, if I can do it, you can do it as well. This is how I get through the toughest flare-ups. No matter what, I get moving. 

I want to encourage you to do the same since, contrary to popular belief, any form of movement genuinely helps your body heal. 

We are the one empowering ourselves because we are the ones that have to deal with this problem every day. Doctors, professionals, or anybody else outside of us can only tell us and guide us for a limited fraction of our lives. The majority of what we do is entirely up to us. It is our responsibility. 

We Stand With You

The more I can assist you in assisting yourself, the better off you will be.

You’ll be in your own head, empowering yourself to accomplish what needs to be done. Truly owning this body of ours proudly and assisting it in healing in every way we can. That is what we all stand for. 

If you haven’t, you can FOLLOW me on Instagram so we can hang out more. I’d also enjoy it if you would SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube Channel.

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Thank you for reading this week’s blog! Have a good week, and I’ll see you all next time!

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