Fatigue is a common symptom for people with endometriosis and has a significant impact on their lives. It can affect your social life, family, a job and any kind of drive to achieve your goals. Feeling tired makes people unfocused and miserable. Never feeling like you’ve had enough sleep, whether you’ve had six hours or 10 hours, is debilitating and upsetting. This is something I see first-hand in my partner, and is perhaps the side of endometriosis that affects her daily life the most.
There is an abundance of information out there about what people suffering with fatigue can do themselves to alleviate the symptoms. But, add that to the ever-growing list of things someone with endo is trying to do to tackle pain, nausea, bloating and everything else, and it’s nothing more than extra worry for an already exhausted brain. There also are things the people around us can do to reduce the symptoms of fatigue, and a small change we can make to our mornings to reduce the effects of fatigue is to establish a routine.
As a starting point, this is an outline of our morning:
Alarms go off and, of course, we both stir and groan for a while, but then I relent and get up. I ask her if she wants tea (I know the answer, but this is the start of waking her up) and go put the kettle on. She tries to exercise in the morning because it helps with her endo symptoms, so I’ll get the mat out and push the coffee table to one side. I’ll turn the side lights on, light a candle and, in the winter, turn on the heater, basically trying to make the transition from warm bed to cold living room as smooth as possible. I’ll then wake her again and when she’s up, I’ll make us breakfast, then go get myself sorted for work.
This may sound simple, and it really is, but here’s how it used to go:
Alarms go off and we both oversleep for half an hour. (I’m not fatigued, just lazy.) We then both realize the time and spring out of bed, both rushing to get ourselves ready. She doesn’t have time to exercise all week and feels mental and physical symptoms creeping back in. We both skip breakfast and won’t eat till 11, leading to rumbling stomachs and unfocused mornings. She has to run to make her train, or I get a text about how she’s forgotten this or that and has to go back for it. Fed up with lateness, stress builds, symptoms worsen.
You get the picture.
It’s striking how different these two ways of living are, and I can say honestly that having a consistent routine has improved my own mood and performance throughout the day, as well as having a palpable impact on my partner’s life and our relationship. It’s a small, easy-to-execute and free way to have a powerful positive influence. What you do to support someone’s morning routine will be unique and tailored to the pair of you, but keep it consistent. A consistent bedtime routine is strongly advised for people who have difficulty sleeping and similarly, a consistent morning routine makes battling fatigue manageable and less overwhelming.
There is a downside to this established routine, though, a fundamental flaw in the design. Sometimes, I really don’t want to get out of bed. So, what do you do when you can’t get up, either, when the pull of Nod is just too alluring?
The answer to this is a theme that I’ll keep coming back to when writing about supporting a partner with endometriosis: Be glad you have the opportunity to help, because there are a lot of things you can’t make better. Be thankful you’re able to share some of yourself to make someone else stronger.
And be quick in putting the kettle on.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.
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