Some people (especially doctors)
feel that too much rest can lead to muscle wasting. Whilst
it is true that as a result of resting muscles can become
weak, there is no evidence of actual wasting. Most people
with M.E. are able to keep up at least some movement around
the house, or even take short walks. However, if completely
bed-bound, some gentle, passive physiotherapy may be helpful
- as long as the physiotherapist (or whoever carries it out)
is sympathetic to the situation and has some understanding of
Having M.E. may well mean reorganizing your life and putting certain things "on hold". It is very hard for most people to let go of things that they have been doing for years e.g. careers, hobbies, church activities, etc - but it is the only way to manage the illness. You have to learn to say "No"!
It is a good idea to try and establish a daily routine - if
you are at your best in the morning, then that is the time to
carry out daily activities. If your best time is in the
evening, then there is little point trying to work in the morning!
Many people with M.E. have found it helpful to plan a certain
time each day when they can rest e.g. in the afternoons - and
it's a good idea (and often essential!) to let friends know
when you rest, so that they will not interrupt you. One
thing that I have found invaluable over the past few years is
having a phone next to my bed - so that if I am the only one
in the house when it rings, I don't have to get up to answer
If you do have a busy day, try and keep the next day or two free to "catch up" on resting. Learn how to relax - quiet music is often helpful. Some people find themselves permanently exhausted - and this is normally due to trying to do too much. Whilst it is tempting to try and keep working, even on a part-time basis, for many this is just not possible, and will only result in worsening and/or prolonging the illness.
Obviously the best form of rest is sleep! Some sufferers say that they sleep too much - this is wrong, as it is probably the best thing that you can do, particularly in the early stages of the illness or during a relapse. Unfortunately, however, it is often the case that although feeling totally exhausted it is difficult to sleep at all - due to aches and pains, muscles twitching, breathing difficulties, and so on.