Get your verve back!
Although multiple myeloma affects everyone differently, hardly anyone escapes the severe fatigue. If MM is draining your energy, take heart: These study-proven strategies can rev you up and help you feel more like your old self again.
Pace yourself. If you’re feeling fatigued, put off tasks until you feel better. Is something a must-do? Call in a favor and delegate the task to someone else. Even when you do feel energetic, pace yourself: Whether you want to garden or bake a batch of cookies, break the activity into short segments and rest in between.
Set the stage for sound sleep. Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark and cool—between 60 and 75 degrees—and keep laptops, smartphones and tablets out of sight; the light they emit disrupts the brain’s sleep-inducing hormones.
Turn up the music. Studies show that listening to music helps people run farther, bike longer and swim faster. It also distracts you from pain and lifts your mood. So find the tunes you love and let them be your energizing soundtrack.
Indulge in a massage. In addition to lowering stress levels, massage can help cancer patients feel more energetic after just one 15-minute session, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Book some “me time.” Mark off 10 minutes in your calendar each day to do something just for you. Make a cup of tea and relax with the paper. Flip through a magazine. Pet your dog. Got a half hour? Stroll through the park. Soak in the tub. And don’t feel guilty—a study in the journal Cognition shows that taking short breaks helps you avoid mental fatigue.
Eat small snacks. Regular small meals and snacks keep blood sugar levels stable, helping your energy hum along. Problem is, it can be hard to fit in regular, healthy meals. So try stocking up on meal replacement bars or shakes, or whip up a few smoothies when you have time and store in your fridge or freezer to take out when needed.
Learn a new hobby. Research shows participating in leisure activities can reduce your fatigue and recharge you—and the effect is boosted when you’re learning something new. So there’s no better time than now to finally pursue that hobby you’ve always dreamed of, whether photography, knitting or learning to play chess.
Ward off dehydration. Even slight dehydration can sap your stamina and put you in a foul mood, according to a study at the University of Connecticut. If you find plain water too “meh,” try this: Drop cubes of melon into a pitcher, fill with H2O and sip throughout the day. The Institute of Medicine suggests 3 liters of liquid a day for men and 2.2 liters for women.
Outsmart stress binges. When stressed, many turn to comfort foods. Unfortunately, overeating junk food can set your blood sugar soaring—and then crashing, leaving you exhausted. Next time you’re tempted to binge, call a friend. Sharing what’s on your mind can help defuse your urge to stress eat.
Get moving. Exercise, even when you’re feeling sluggish, makes sense. In a study of nurses, Norwegian researchers found that those who were physically active for 20 minutes or more at least once a week reported less persistent fatigue than their more sedentary peers.
Take a power nap. Got 20 minutes? Lie down and close your eyes! A 2006 study showed that a short nap during the day promotes wakefulness and enhances performance and learning ability. But set an alarm or train yourself to wake up—taking frequent longer (30 minutes or more) naps may be associated with higher morbidity and mortality, the researchers found.