Emotional fatigue

Most people around you will understand physical fatigue but cognitive and emotional fatigue are trickier to spot. Emotional fatigue can be overwhelming and experienced by anyone who has gone through a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatments. Having cancer is frightening and anxiety is understandable.

Physical and Cognitive Fatigue, not being able to do all you need and want in day to day life, or performing everyday activities to expected standards, can impact on your mood. This is normal and you do not need to feel embarrassed or guilty about these feelings. Knowing this will hopefully help validate how you feel. It is also normal to feel a loss of sense of self when we are unable to do all we want and need for others and ourselves.

Be self-compassionate and kind to yourself and treat yourself as you would a cherished friend or loved one. 

Dealing with Emotions

Talking with a trusted friend, family member or health professional can be really helpful. Often when we are scared or anxious things seem to be much worse than they are and talking can help rationalise and unpack troublesome thoughts and help you manage day to day.

If you are experiencing emotional fatigue it may be you are not only worrying about your own needs but are also taking on the worries of others. If you have friends or family who are going through a difficult time, try to organise meeting or talking to support them when your physical energies are at generally at their best, if you can.

Try to avoid addressing emotional matters late in the evening when you are winding down for the day. This may increase anxiety and negatively impact on your sleep. Avoid working in your bedroom as this is a space that you need to preserve for rest. Take a look at the Difficulties sleeping to see if you are unwittingly doing things that may have a negative impact on your sleep.

Top Tips

  • Explore relaxation techniques and find something that appeals to you. There are lots of free resources available on the internet.
  • Accept that you will experience emotional fatigue from time to time, you have been on a life changing roller coaster and you will have the ups and downs.
  • If necessary, talk to a member of your health team about accessing professional help to support with managing your mood and discuss possible medications with your GP or cancer team Taking medications to help with your sleep and your mood from time to time can be helpful. You do not have to suffer in silence.
  • Giving yourself the time and space to work through these is key to helping you cope.

We have put together a list of resources on this webpage, which we hope you may find helpful. There is also the SWAG Health & Wellbeing Hub and the Prehab Wellbeing page with a wealth of helpful information.