Fatigue has the potential to be a real party pooper. For everyone, not just the person with hypermobility. As I’m sure you’re well aware, people with hypermobility – young kids and teenagers in particular – can be quite debilitated by fatigue. Add in hot weather, and the combination could cause quite the downer!
So what can we do to manage fatigue?
Here are some of my thoughts.
Pacing is the key.
- Pacing requires planning. It doesn’t mean you can’t be spontaneous at all, but generally speaking a life with hypermobility is a little more planned than for those without, as you would already know. Don’t expect your child to go out shopping or for a play date in the morning and then back up and go to an afternoon party or event; don’t even expect their behaviour to be wonderful in the afternoon. They are likely to be exhausted, just from the excitement and activity of the morning.
- With that in mind, try to spread out events as much as possible – this may require declining some invitations in preference to others. If your child is particularly fatigue-prone, then limiting it to one event per day (or weekend if necessary) might be the best idea.
- Don’t do back-to-back outings or events. These can be a recipe for disaster. If you have to do two things in one day, make sure there is a break in between for some downtime… even a nap, if necessary. Leave early or arrive late. Remember your child’s health & wellbeing (and by extension your sanity) is more important than timing.
- Make sure you’re sticking to regular bedtimes & wake up times as much as possible. Doing this will ensure your child is still getting adequate sleep for the day.
- With older children, if a nap is required during the day, especially on particularly busy or hot days, it’s not the end of the world. Just try not to make it too long or a regular occurrence.
Look after the body.
- In Summer: Keep cool; this is a big one. Lots of people in the general population say that the heat just saps their energy. I know it often does for me. On those sweltering days, like a few we’ve had in Sydney in recent years, try to stay out of the sun, hang out in places with air-conditioning, or at least a fan. Some people with hypermobility have trouble regulating their body temperature, especially when they get too hot. If necessary, have a cold shower or go for a quiet dip in a pool (or bath) to cool down.
- Stay hydrated. While this is obvious and applies to EVERYONE, it’s easy to forget to tell your child to drink. However, if your child is prone to feeling faint or dizzy, staying hydrated in hot weather is even more critical. Staying hydrated will keep blood pressure levels more stable. You should naturally follow your doctor’s instructions as to what you stay hydrated with (e.g. water vs electrolyte drinks).
Set some boundaries.
- If you are looking at your diary and seeing that you have weekend after weekend full of events, it’s probably time to get out the red pen and start knocking some out. Un-invite yourself. Change your RSVP to ‘cannot attend’. You know your child best; you know what they can usually handle.
- Don’t run yourselves ragged trying to meet others’ expectations. Set some boundaries….and stick to them. It’s YOUR life, not theirs. You have to live with the repercussions of wearing out your child, they don’t!
Change your expectations.
- During school holidays and on weekends lots of kids are more active (playing outside, going shopping, going to the beach, play dates etc.) than they are on school days. That means they are expending more energy, or at least the same amount of energy via a different method. They may be using muscles they don’t usually use. That means they may also be sore as well as fatigued. Just remember that your child’s behaviour often changes when they experience pain and when they experience fatigue. If you see a different side to your child than usual, check in with them and see what’s happening in their body.
Remember what’s important.
- Downtime, R&R and being with the people you love & enjoying spending time with is most important. Don’t forget it.
Have you got other strategies that you can share with readers? Please share!