Types of Tiredness: 12 Better Words to Explain Your Specific Fatigue | The Health Sessions

Types of Tiredness: 12 Better Words to Explain Your Specific Fatigue

Years ago, I read somewhere that the Eskimo language have 50 different words for ‘snow’. Because they live in a frozen landscape every day, the Inuit notice all the small nuances, from soft falling snow to the kind that’s good for sledding. For their daily life, these tribes need multiple terms to communicate and prepare for the different kinds of snow.

Immediately after learning that I thought, “that’s how I feel about the phrase ‘I’m tired’!”

You see, we use the word ‘tired’ for lots of different sensations, from that satisfied feeling after a successful day of work to the sick tiredness when you’ve come down with a virus or feeling exhausted to the bone with chronic illness. We say “I’m tired” after making a stressful deadline, if we stayed up partying and when our baby has been waking us up during all hours of the night for months on end.

These are not all the same sensations and experiences, and we need more words to accurately describe the kind of tiredness we’re feeling. Why? Because the better you can identify and explain your specific fatigue, the easier it becomes to feel understood, to let your doctors find the root cause and to take the right actions to solve the problem, cope better and prevent worsening.

Disclaimer: Always check with your doctor if you struggle with unexplained fatigue that doesn’t go away after a few good night’s sleep. This article is written with tiredness related to (diagnosed) chronic illness in mind, but tiredness could also be a sign of anemia, thyroid problems, mental disorders and other health problems that require medical treatment. 

Obviously not all the terms in this article will be scientifically accurate or validated, and this is by no means a complete list, but here’s my attempt to help you find the right word for the types of tiredness you’re feeling.

Let’s start by digging into the different dimensions, qualities, causes and durations of ‘tiredness’.

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15 Grit Quotes to Help You Push Through Tough Times | The Health Sessions

15 Grit Quotes to Help You Push Through Tough Times

This article contains some affiliate links to resources you may find useful, at no extra costs to you. All opinions are my own. 

The thing that separates being chronically ill from ‘just’ being sick is how long the pain, fatigue and overall malaise impact your life. By definition, chronic illness refers to health problems that persist for 3 months or longer, and do not just disappear. Even if a full recovery is possible, it will take a lot of time and effort. And that’s exactly why you need grit.

Grit means staying motivated and determined over long periods of time to reach long-term goals, even when you experience adversity, failure and other disappointments. According to Angela Duckworth, author of the New York Times bestseller ‘Grit’, you need a combination of passion and perseverance to keep pursuing your purpose. Her research found that grit is a stronger predictor of success than how smart or talented you are. After all, you still have to consistently put in the effort to achieve your goals and overcome the obstacles on your way.

And the best finding? Grit is not something you’re born with or not, it’s a mindset that can be learned. 

To be gritty when you’re chronically ill, it helps to know your purpose. Maybe you want to reach your own definition of recovery, but working towards other important life goals like getting you degree, exploring the world, learning a fun skill and becoming a parent count too. Having a clear intention but flexible plans will help you take one step at a time in your desired direction, while still taking the unpredictability of living with chronic illness into account.

But to keep going after your dreams for such a length of time, grit requires you to view life as a marathon, not a sprint. You have to physically pace your energy, keep focused mentally and most of all, stay strong emotionally. You need to set very doable subgoals – being able to walk one block, study for 30 minutes or play tourist in your own town – so you have small wins along the way. You should also build supportive habits, so you don’t have to rely on willpower alone. And don’t be afraid to ask for help or rally your cheerleaders – everyone needs support every now and then.

And finally, to keep moving forward despite the debilitating health problems and other obstacles you face, you have to have hope in your heart. Deep down, some part of you has to believe that things will work out in the end, even if it’s not the way you’d hoped they would or if it takes much longer than you’d thought. So try to be kind and optimistic when you talk to yourself – your internal dialogue has more impact on your health and happiness than you may think.

For those tough times when even grit doesn’t cut it, the Finnish language and culture has a concept that might help you – sisu. Sisu runs even deeper than grit – it’s the mental toughness that spurs you to take action against overwhelming odds and carry your burden with unbreakable perseverance. The gentle power of sisu can be your light in the darkness in times of crisis.

Stay hopeful and determined to keep going after your goals and dreams with these 15 grit quotes. 

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5 Pain Relief Tips While You Wait for a Doctors Appointment | The Health Sessions

5 Pain Relief Tips While You Wait for a Doctors Appointment

This article is written by Aaron Smith. 

Chronic pain can be debilitating, making even the simplest tasks a challenge. If you are one of the millions of people who suffer from chronic pain, you know how hard it can be to wait for a doctor’s appointment. You may be wondering what you can do to relieve the pain until your appointment.

You’re in luck—we’ve compiled five pain relief tips that should help make the wait a little easier! Let’s get started.

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12 Sea-Inspired Quotes about Swimming Against the Stream | The Health Sessions

12 Sea-Inspired Quotes about Swimming Against the Stream

Living with chronic illness can feel like swimming against the stream: you put all your energy and effort into moving towards your goals, and yet, it’s a struggle to make any sustainable progress.

Some days, you can barely keep your head above water, before you’re hit by the next wave. New symptoms pop up or well-known ones worsen. The smallest things – a few nights of poor sleep, eating too much sugar, tiring events – can throw you off course.

You try to hang onto every buoy you see, from the latest diet and detox trend to natural remedies that stood the test of time. But sometimes the pull of the water is too strong.

When you’re adrift in a sea of sickness, you can swim against the stream or literally go with the flow. There’s no right or wrong choice, it all depends on the situation. Sometimes, working against the tide might cause you to drown from exhaustion, while other times you just need that extra push to reach the shore. In the end, all that matters is that you stay afloat.

Sadly, when you have diabetes, kidney disease or POTS, no one else can do the swimming for you. You’re the one that has to live in and with your body, and all the symptoms, emotions and limitations that come with it. But like the ocean, life with chronic illness goes up and down. Even the roughest sea will calm down, and even the biggest waves eventually take you to the beach. You just got to keep your eyes on the horizon.

Take a look at these 12 sea-inspired quotes to help you stay afloat when you’re swimming against the stream. 

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The Power of Meditation: How to Lower Your Stress Linked to Chronic Illness | The Health Sessions

The Power of Meditation: How to Lower Your Stress Linked to Chronic Illness

This article is written by Frankie Wallace. 

Let’s face it. Living with a chronic illness isn’t for the faint of heart. Every day, you’re battling pain, fatigue, and uncertainty. On top of this, you have the disconcerting knowledge that, without some kind of divine intervention or miracle cure, your condition is never going away.

You likely feel afraid, angry, and even powerless. But don’t. You are far stronger than you know, and you have more help in dealing with the stress, managing the emotions, and contending with the physical effects of your illness than you may realize. Meditation, for example. It can be just the weapon you need to fight–and thrive–another day.

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