Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) affects so much more than just your physical health. It also impacts the people around you. That’s why it’s so important to discuss what family adjustments need to be made in order to make sure that everyone feels their best.
Living with CFS means unpredictability—for you and for your family. Many everyday tasks or simple worries are amplified. Whether it’s the pressure of more household responsibilities or emotional stress, everyone in your household is in some way affected by what you’re enduring.
Essential Family Adjustments You Should Make If Living With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
CFS doesn’t have to stop you from living your life! You may have flare-ups and days where you’re too exhausted to get out of bed.
But there are also days where you can accomplish tasks and enjoy your energy. CFS doesn’t have to stop your family from living their lives, either.
With some strategic family adjustments, you can make some improvements to the way your life works with CFS. These changes can help you ease your symptoms and enjoy family life more. Making family adjustments also helps your family adapt to your diagnosis as part of your life, which can provide you all with the support you need.
Switch Up The Way You Run Your Household
With CFS, you never know when a flare-up may strike. The exhaustion comes in waves.
Some days, you may have more energy than others. That’s a normal part of chronic fatigue. But those sudden flare-ups can disrupt any sort of household chores schedule you’ve set for yourself.
You may not be able to complete chores or other household tasks the way you imagined. You’re going to face days where you’re too tired to cook a meal or clean your house. And pushing through your exhaustion can cause you to crash and burn with even more severe symptoms.
By making family adjustments, you can take a lot of the pressure off of your shoulders. This way you can take the time you need to focus on your health and recovery.
Delegating household tasks to family members is one adjustment to make.
If you have kids, you can start teaching them to clean up their own spaces. This includes their bedrooms and maybe their playrooms. You can even start to teach them small kitchen tasks, like washing their own plates or wiping down counters.
This is a great way for you to spend time with your kids while getting the support you need.
If you live with your partner, you can start a discussion about the responsibility of chores. When tasks are weighing too much on your health, you can ask your partner to take over.
Even if you live by yourself, you can create a schedule that decreases the number of chores you do during the week to help prevent burnout. Instead of cooking every night of the week, maybe you only cook for two nights.
Adjust Your Expectations
Alongside physical family adjustments, you need to be prepared to face the mental challenges as well.
As someone who’s been diagnosed with CFS, you may be grappling with the new changes in your life. CFS comes with a loss of what you used to know, and this affects your family, too.
Those affected by CFS, including patients and their families, need to learn more about what living with chronic fatigue really looks like.
It’s important to remember that acceptance of a CFS does not mean giving up your life. Living a normal life with CFS is completely possible. It just means your normal might look a little different than what it used to be. You and your family can still enjoy parts of life.
Creating new realistic expectations surrounding your CFS diagnosis will help you and your family prepare for what’s to come.
Important Family Adjustments To Make In Terms Of Expectations
How can you make adjustments to your family’s expectations?
First, remember that you are in control of the expectations you set. While you have to be conscious of your CFS diagnosis, your expectations are still your own.
Compare your limitations with CFS to goals you want to set.
Are there things that you can still accomplish even with CFS? Are there things that you can’t do anymore?
Accepting what you can’t do anymore can be painful. But in the long run, setting up realistic expectations can open you up to more opportunities.
When discussing expectations with your family, emphasize the importance of interests. As a family, you can create new traditions and hobbies that are compatible with CFS and that you can complete together. Having a common interest allows you all to spend time together. You can grow your family bond while doing something you enjoy.
Promote the idea of individual interests too! Dealing with CFS is exhausting for you, but it can also put some weight on your family. Spending time apart and pursuing individual hobbies is a great distraction away from the hardships of CFS. With alone time, everyone has the opportunity to rest and find some peace.
Be Strategic In Planning Social Activities
You have the power to adjust how you socialize with people. If you find that you tire easily, maybe meeting friends for lunch at a restaurant isn’t going to work. Invite them over for a stay-at-home lunch. If you have nice weather, throw together a little picnic to eat outside!
Planning a meal at home gives you the flexibility to see friends, but also be comfortable in your own space. It also gives you the ability to set a time limit on how long friends can stay.
If the movie theater isn’t an option for you, host your own movie night from your living room. Order a movie night care package with all of the movie night essentials! You don’t have to worry about running all over the place to buy different snacks and find the right movie.
Having a movie night at home can also help reduce the risk of sensory irritation. The movie theater could be too loud or bright. In your own home, you have control over the volume and brightness of your own TV. You can still enjoy a great movie but just in a more comfortable setting.
If you are someone who’s more active and competitive, a CFS diagnosis can be extremely difficult. You and your family may not be to participate in the same athletic activities as you once did, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find ways to have fun.
Introduce a family game night to your week. It can be any type of game you want.
There are plenty of card games, board games, or even virtual games that everyone can play. You can find a game that is compatible with your limits but can still have that competitiveness that you enjoy.
Budget Carefully and Be Smart With Your Finances
Financial security is a big concern when it comes to a CFS diagnosis.
Everyone’s financial situation is going to be different. If the patient who is diagnosed with CFS is unemployed or retired, their family may not see a significant change in their finances.
On the other, there are other patients who are unable to work any longer. This results in a stronger financial strain because of their reduced income.
It is essential to have an honest conversation with your family about your financial security and create a budget. Evaluating your situation can help you create a secure financial plan. Budgeting can be tedious but in the long run, it can protect you and your family.
If you spend less time worrying about money, you and your family have more time to adjust to your diagnosis and enjoy your time together.
CFS affects your family almost as much as it affects you. Making family adjustments is essential in supporting yourself and your family while you are living with CFS.
Following these five important family adjustment tips can help you and your family change your life for the better!