Understand Why CFS Symptoms are Worse in Winter
While research is still being done, there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is related to dysautonomia, which is a fancy word that means that your autonomic nervous system is out of whack. The autonomic nervous system controls things like heart rate, digestion and body temperature, helping to keep the body in balance.
What that means for you is, when your feet or hands start to get cold, your body doesn’t react like it should to warm them up from the inside out.
Preventing Winter CFS Symptoms
One of the best ways to manage symptoms is to prevent them altogether. Here are some strategies for preventing the chill before it begins.
It’s hard to avoid going outside entirely, so invest in a warm, wind-resistant coat, thick gloves, thick socks, a warm hat, and a scarf or cowl that keeps the wind out. Knowing you can get outside without triggering symptoms will give you a lot more freedom during the winter.
If you’re going out, warm up your car before you get in it to drive anywhere. Use space heaters to stay warm without having to heat an entire house to tropical temperatures (though you’re welcome to do that too!). Keep a steady supply of warm blankets, thick socks and even gloves around the house.
Hot tea, coffee (if it doesn’t trigger symptoms for you), soup and oatmeal are great ways to help your body warm up from the inside out.
Have a Plan to Get Warm
If your preventative measures fail, you can use heat sources to get yourself warmed back up.
- Take a hot shower or a hot bath (and if you can, have heated towels waiting for you when you get out).
- Bundle up under blankets with a heating pad or an electric blanket.
- Try warming devices like heat packets inside gloves and socks.
A word of warning though: Be aware of how hot you’re getting and how quickly so you don’t trigger heat-related symptoms (or worse — burn yourself). Remember, it’s all about helping your body back into balance.