Washing With Fatigue

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There’s a reason why I’ve titled this one “washing with FATIGUE” and not “washing with M.E.” Fatigue is a symptom common to many conditions, not just M.E. but I find it is the most disabling when it comes to getting in the way of washing. If you haven’t read my article “why fatigue is not the same as being tired” do take a read. It’s important to know the difference between the two.  

Related: Mummying and M.E. – Why Fatigue is not the same as being Tired

Prior to falling ill 18 months ago, I had hugely taken for granted the ability to take a shower on a daily basis, followed generally by a full day of activity or work. This isn’t possible now. Shower days happen once a week at maximum and have to be on days that are not going to be busy.  

Over this time, I’ve worked out ways of making washing easier for myself and figured it would be worth sharing those, in case there are others struggling. At the beginning of my chronic illness journey I was horrified by the fact that I only was able to shower once, maybe twice if I was feeling particularly energetic (ha!) a week. Now I realise this is totally normal when fatigue is your main symptom. 

Yes, I said it, I only shower once a week. Showering leaves me exhausted. Even if that exhaustion doesn’t show straight away, by a few hours later I’ve run out of spoons that I may have had if I didn’t shower. 

So these are the things that make my showering process that bit easier: 

A shower seat 

My shower seat is absolutely essential. The heat of the water whilst taking a shower makes me even more dizzy than normal and I need that bit more support to reach my lower legs and feet. If I try bending down to reach my lower legs or feet while standing, 9 times out of 10 I end up on the floor. I don’t really fancy that while in a slippery shower! 

There are different shower seats and benches available. I went for one that swivels on the seat part so I could turn easily but there are equally seats available with arm rests, back rests and even benches that attach to your bath.  

Non-perfumed products 

This is part of the reason why I don’t have baths. My skin is ridiculously sensitive and can’t cope with any product left on it after washing, so a soapy bath is a no-no. Pre-M.E. if I had a bath I’d have to shower after to clear my skin. No way would I have enough energy for that now! 
I now use only 2 products in the shower: Sanex Zero % Sensitive Skin Shower Gel and Head and Shoulders Classic Clean. I found that perfumed shampoos and conditioners were aggravating my skin so worked through a variety of products until I found these ones that work, or rather that don’t aggravate my skin. I then use Oilatum Cream which is a fragrance-free moisturiser. 

Someone nearby 

Luckily whilst on lockdown my husband is always around but pre-lockdown, I’d only shower at the weekend. I haven’t actually ever fallen in the shower but in case it does happen I feel safer knowing hubby is nearby. 

This one obviously has no affiliate links attached!

Plan some rest for after 

It’s a meme that goes around social media regularly: You don’t know fatigue until you’ve had to rest after a shower. Think about when you have the flu and a shower knocks you out, well that’s shower life for us with fatigue. I’ve found as long as I plan in rest time for after showers then I can manage. 

Hopefully this article has helped someone out there who is struggling with washing with their fatigue. Do let me know if it’s helped you! 

Until next time, 

Soph x 

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