Living with chronic fatigue syndrome 


Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a disorder characterized by extreme fatigue or tiredness that doesn’t go away with rest and can’t be explained by an underlying medical condition.

Causes of this condition are not well understood, however, certain factors like infection, psychological stresses or a combination of varying factors are implicated. This lack of a single cause makes this condition very difficult to diagnose.

This condition was viewed as controversial because of the difficulty with diagnosing it, however, it is now accepted as a medical condition, affecting anyone, occurring more commonly in women in their 40s and 50s.

Currently, chronic fatigue syndrome has no cure, although treatment could help manage the symptoms and significantly improve quality of life.


Symptoms of Chronic fatigue syndrome

The most common symptom is fatigue that’s severe enough to interfere with your daily activities. For CFS to be diagnosed, it must significantly affect your ability to carry out your activities of daily living for about 6 months and is not curable with bed rest.  It can also introduce problems with sleep, loss of memory, reduced concentration, muscle pain, and headaches.


Tips for living with Chronic fatigue syndrome

-Daily Activities

Try not to push yourself too hard even when you are not having any symptoms, the key here is energy balance. You’ll need to learn to balance daily activities with rest, even when you’re in remission.



Watching what you eat can help you manage your symptoms. Avoid any foods or chemicals you are sensitive to.

Smaller meals might also help control nausea, which sometimes happens with chronic fatigue syndrome. To help control energy levels, it’s also a good idea to avoid these things:

  • Sugar
  • Sweeteners
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine


-Help Your Memory

Some people with CFS have memory loss. Use a day-planner (a paper one or a smartphone app) to keep up with your schedule and remember the things you need to do.

Set reminders on your smartphone when it’s time to go somewhere or do something, keep lists and use “sticky notes.”

Puzzles, word games, and card games – also available on your smartphone – can keep your mind active and might help your memory improve.



It’s important to keep moving, such as with regular walking, this will keep you active and strong. Just remember to pace yourself: pushing too hard can cause you to feel worse. 

Stretching and strengthening exercises using only your own body weight also can help.  Shoot for one minute of activity followed by 3 minutes of rest. Break the exercise into several brief sessions a day.

A physical therapist can create and modify your exercise plan to better manage your energy levels and general condition.


-Get Help

You may find you feel better when you talk to other people with your condition. Your doctor can give you information about management protocols and support groups in your area.