Managing stress can play an important role in fighting fatigue. Here are some suggestions that may help.
- Adjust your expectations. For example, if you have a list of 10 things you want to accomplish today, pare it down to two and leave the rest for other days. A sense of accomplishment goes a long way toward reducing stress.
- Help others understand and support you. Family and friends can be helpful if they can "put themselves in your shoes" and understand what fatigue means to you. Cancer groups can be a source of support, too. Other people with cancer understand what you are going through.
- Relaxation techniques like deep breathing or visualization can reduce stress.
- Doing things that divert your attention away from fatigue can also be helpful, like knitting, reading, or listening to music.
If your stress seems out of control, talk to a health care professional.
When Should I Call My Doctor?
Although cancer-related fatigue is a common side effect of cancer and its treatments, you should mention your concerns to your doctor. There are times when fatigue may be a clue to an underlying medical problem. Other times, there may be things your doctor can do to help control fatigue.
Be sure to let your doctor or nurse know if you have:
- Shortness of breath
- Side effects from treatments (such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite)
- Anxiety or nervousness