How to Improve Fatigue

Fatigue can be caused by many things from stress to your lifestyle, but cancer treatment is the main problem. Treatment can damage healthy cells in addition to the cancer cells. Or fatigue might happen as your body works to repair damage caused by treatment. This is why it is important to look after yourself and improve areas in your life that might be making fatigue worse. You need as much energy as you can get, so your body can recover between treatments and when you are in remission. 

Drinking plenty of water is one top tip to help decrease fatigue. Dehydration is a common side effect of cancer treatment due to side effects, like fevers, vomiting, diarrhoea or excessive urination. As dehydration sets in, your blood pressure drops, leading to poor circulation and reduced blood flow to your brain. This causes feelings of sleepiness and increase side effects of chemo brain. 

Try these tips below to help improve fatigue:

Eating Habits 

  • Avoiding skipping meals. If struggling with this, eat regular meals and healthy snacks every 3 to 4 hours, rather than a large meal. 
  • Eating an afternoon or morning snack, such as a handful of almonds, if energy levels dip.
  • Staying hydrated with water or other nutritious drinks.

Eat Iron Rich Foods

  • Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and cancers that affect the bone marrow, can cause anaemia.
  • When you are anaemic, your body does not have enough red blood cells, causing fatigue. 
  • Red blood cells are the cells that that carry oxygen from the lungs throughout your body to help it work properly.

Sleep Well 

  • Going to bed and getting up in the morning at the same time every day.
  • Relaxing before bed. 
  • Try aromatherapy or music if struggling to sleep.
Rest Well 
  • Rest, but not too much. Take short naps or rest breaks (30 minutes or less)
  • Too much rest can lower your energy level and make it harder to sleep at night.
  • Plan your day so you have time to rest. 

Reduce Stress 

  • Stress uses up a lot of energy! 
  • Deep breathing is a great and easy way to relax you. 
  • Whatever relaxes you will improve your energy.

Cut out caffeine

  • Best way to do this is to gradually stop having all caffeine drinks over a 3-week period.
  • Caffeine is found in 

    coffee, tea, cola, energy drinks, some painkillers and herbal remedies.

 Plan Ahead 

  • Each day, prioritise – decide which things are most important to you and focus on those tasks. 
  • Spread activities throughout the day and take breaks.
  • Do things slowly, so that you don't use too much energy at once.