How to manage fatigue during breast cancer treatments
Fatigue is one of the most common side effects of breast cancer treatments. It can be difficult to manage since there’s no single cause. It’s important to talk to your doctor if you experience fatigue. Your doctor can help you with a specific plan to combat it. Here are some general techniques that help fight fatigue:
- Get moving! The American Cancer Society recommends about four hours of exercise a week for breast cancer patients. Start slow and work toward that goal. Getting in a 10-minute walk is a great place to start.
- Eat plenty of healthy food like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Make sure to eat enough protein too! Talk to your doctor about how much protein you should eat.
- Eat enough calories. Weight loss is not generally recommended during treatments, so talk with your doctor or a dietitian about how to eat enough calories if you’re not sure.
- Make sure to drink plenty of fluids. Being dehydrated can increase your fatigue.
- Cook in bulk. When you have the energy, cook double or triple the recipe so you have food ready to go when you’re tired.
- Eat throughout the day. Eating nutritious snacks throughout the day can help you keep your calorie and protein intake up. Opt for yogurt, veggies and hummus, dried fruit and nuts, or string cheese.
- Avoid too much caffeine. Caffeinated beverages are often dehydrating and may cause an energy “crash” later.
- Try a 30-minute catnap if you need to. Try not to sleep too long, though, as that can interfere with nighttime rest.
- Plan activities for times when you have the most energy. Also schedule rest times!
- Keep a diary each day of how you feel. This can help you pinpoint times when your fatigue is worse and may even help you spot some causes.
- Be nice to yourself! Don’t beat yourself up for not getting everything done you wanted to in the day. That only adds to the fatigue and depression. Give yourself permission to rest and recover!