An innovative approach to managing fatigue
managing fatigueArticle from December 2019 edition of Intouch eNewsletter

No-one likes being stopped from doing the things that matter to them just because they’re tired, but this is what happens to many people living with MS. 

Invasive and invisible, MS-related fatigue can render us incapable of fulfilling the many roles we play in life in a way that’s fulfilling to us and to those around us. And, if not managed properly, fatigue can cause relationship problems and depression. 

Delivered by two health professionals in groups of 6-12 participants, Fatigue: Applying Cognitive Behavioural and Energy effectiveness Techniques to lifeStyle (also known as FACETS), is an innovative approach that empowers you to manage your fatigue.

Blending occupational therapy and cognitive behavioural approaches to fatigue management in people with MS, FACETS was developed by academics at Bournemouth University in the UK to provide participants with knowledge, tools and strategies to self-manage their fatigue.

Recognising the power of sharing lived experience, the program is group-based, and participants are encouraged to share their stories and draw from each other’s experiences.

FACETS consists of a combination of short presentations, group activities, discussion and homework designed to help you:

  • Understand why MS makes you tired

  • Understand the physical changes that accompany fatigue

  • Recognise how you feel about yourself because of your fatigue

  • Recognise how you spend your time

  • Develop tools to better manage how you spend your time

The objectives of FACETS are:

  1. To normalise the experience of fatigue
  2. To teach you ways to use your available energy more effectively
  3. To teach you how to develop ‘helpful thinking styles’ about fatigue

FACETS is offered face to face at our Lidcombe and Blackburn offices, and via webinar. 

In fact, FACETS was originally a face to face program, and MS developed the innovative concept of delivering it via webinar, which has had a very positive response from participants:

“The webinar was fantastic as it didn't take up as much time & energy as I imagine face to face would.” – FACETS webinar participant

“Thanks so very much, it has been the best thing that I have done for myself regarding improving my MS symptoms. The hard work does truly start now & I look forward to putting the things learnt into practice.” – FACETS webinar participant

“The program was without a doubt extremely helpful. I would most definitely recommend it to everyone living with MS.” – FACETS webinar participant

December marked the completion of our first webinar and our fifth face to face program, which has also enjoyed very positive feedback:

“I found the alternative thoughts patterns really beneficial, in changing the way I think about my fatigue.”  – FACETS participant

“I learnt more about prioritising and acknowledging that living with a chronic disease is challenging, and it’s okay to delegate.” – FACETS participant

“I enjoyed challenging the emotional aspects and how they impact my fatigue.” – FACETS participant

The most inspiring outcome of the FACETS program for us here at MS is that a couple of the groups continue to stay in touch via WhatsApp, providing each other with ongoing support, sharing tips and experiences that are useful to them.

For more information around managing fatigue and future FACETS programs, contact MS Connect on 1800 042 138 or msconnect@ms.org.au.



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