Cancer and Fatigue: Smart Ways to Conserve Your Energy at Home

When you have cancer, the disease and its treatment can leave you feeling wiped out. You may feel like it takes all your energy just to do basic things around the house. But a few simple tricks and slight changes to your routines can help you save the energy you have for the activities that matter most. Try a few of these tactics around your home. 

Kitchen

  • Buy pre-chopped veggies, bagged greens, or other prepared ingredients.
  • Plan your meals in advance so you can gather tools and ingredients all at once.
  • Make “one dish” meals that are easy to cook and clean up.
  • When you cook, double the recipe and freeze the second half for another meal.
  • Keep pre-made or frozen foods on hand that are easy to heat and eat.
  • Keep the tools and ingredients that you use most often (cutting board, storage containers, olive oil, salt and pepper) close at hand.
  • Sit down to make meals instead of standing at the counter.
  • Consider paper plates and cups to cut down on washing up.
  • Soak dirty dishes in soapy water and let them air dry instead of scrubbing and drying by hand.

Bathroom

  • Put a chair near the sink to sit on as you undress, wash, and brush your teeth.
  • Use devices like an electric toothbrush or electric razor.
  • Sit on a waterproof, rubber-footed chair or bench in the shower or tub.
  • Bathe in warm, not hot, water.
  • Use sponges and brushes with long handles instead of bending or twisting when you bathe.
  • Dry off by wearing a terry cloth robe instead of using a towel.
  • Buy an elevated toilet seat to make it easier to sit down and get up.
  • Consider grab bars to help you maneuver around the toilet, bath, and shower.

Bedroom

  • Sit in a chair while you dress and undress.
  • Bring your foot up to the opposite knee to put on socks and shoes instead of leaning over.
  • To put on a bra, fasten it in the front and then turn it to the back.
  • Make sure your bed frame is low enough that you can easily get in and out.
  • Use the “log roll” to get out of bed: Lie on your back, bend your knees toward your chest, roll to the side, drop your feet and legs over the side, and push up from the mattress with your elbow.
  • Consider bed rails if it’s hard to get in and out of bed.
WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

Alberta Health Services: “Making The Most of Your Time and Energy.”

American Cancer Society: “Managing Fatigue or Weakness.”

British National Health Service: “Occupational Therapy Energy Conservation Booklet Patient Information Leaflet.”

Medicare.org: “Does Medicare Cover Shower Chairs?”

NewYork-Presbyterian: “Energy Conservation Techniques.”

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton: “Energy Conservation.”

UCSF Health: “Tips for Conserving Your Energy.”

Wayne State University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences: “Adaptive Equipment and Energy Conservation Techniques During Performance of Activities of Daily Living.”

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