a tired snowman with a plug coming out of his back that is unplugged

Fatigue PLUS the Change in Seasons

For me, fatigue is one of the most frustrating symptoms of ulcerative colitis, and being an active member of the IBD community, I know that many other people feel the same way.

It's debilitating and it's life-limiting. It's been the main reason I've ended up isolated at times throughout my journey. Fortunately, I do feel that the online IBD community is a good way of combating that loneliness IF you have the energy to pop on and have a chat. I have been AWOL for months at a time when it’s been at its worst, purely because I didn’t even feel capable of having a conversation, and I couldn’t think of a single positive thing to say!

The ongoing battle with fatigue

I think we probably all experience fatigue a little differently, much the same as we experience our inflammatory bowel disease differently, but for me, fatigue is pretty much an ongoing battle, and it has been for many years.

I find myself constantly trying to pre-plan what I should be able to do in the next week based on my average energy, but somehow, I often still fall short and end up retiring to bed in the middle of the day when I should be shopping for food or writing a blog! I have accepted that there is not an accurate algorithm I can use which will tell me when my energy supply will run out, so I try not to get too mad about it, especially with myself.

More fatigue in the winter months

At this time of year, as the seasons are changing and the hours of daylight get shorter, I tend to feel even more fatigued than usual. I think most people feel their energy levels drop during the winter months to some extent, but many of those people are generally well, so dealing with it is not as difficult.

Personally, I find going outside can help me. The only problem with that is that I have to use a lot of my small amount of energy to get ready to even leave the house in the first place. I have genuinely gotten ready in the past and then decided that getting ready depleted my limited energy too much, and now I don't have the energy to go anywhere... Plus, the cold weather can really aggravate my joint pain. How do we win?!!

I manage as best I can all year, and then winter arrives and tackles me to the ground! I find it even harder to get up, concentrate and stay awake throughout the day. That ultimately leads to me feeling less positive and more irritable.

Vitamin D levels and fatigue

I do take additional Vitamin D in the winter, but I can't say it makes any difference to how I feel. I just know that my levels tend to drop in the winter, and so I should be taking it.

I have actually just got off those alarms which wake you up gradually with light, and a daylight lamp which can supposedly help with fatigue and seasonal affective disorder. I'll be sure to update you on how that goes!

In the meantime, I'd be interested to hear whether you think your fatigue is affected by the seasons and whether you've found anything that you think helps you!

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