CHSS Advice Line
No one should have to recover alone. We’re here to support you with our services, resources and health information.
Download and order a range of resources to help you manage your condition.
Read the inspiring stories of the amazing people who are living life to the full with a long-term health condition.
Get free, confidential advice and support from our Advice Line practitioners. No question is too big or too small.
Every day people in Scotland are leaving hospital feeling scared and alone. But you can help us change this.
Join Scotland’s Fundraising Heroes by getting involved with one of our exciting events or challenges!
Visit our charity shops
Use our Store Finder to find your local shop or boutique and pop in to see us today.
You can make sure stroke survivors in Scotland like Tim get the support they need after returning home from hospital.
We are Scotland’s largest health charity working to help people with chest, heart and stroke conditions live life to the full.
Social Media – @chsscotland
Find out about the incredible impact your support is having and the amazing things you’re helping to achieve.
Search our current job opportunities to find a new role that’s rewarding, exciting and allows you to make a real difference every day.
Work With Us
Many health conditions can trigger fatigue, including stroke, Long Covid, COPD, heart attack, and others.
Fatigue is not just tiredness – it is a physiological condition which affects all aspects of a person’s life. Common symptoms of fatigue include:
Fatigue can lead to low mood and isolation, affecting your ability to do normal day to day tasks.
Post-exertional malaise (PEM) is a characteristic feature of clinical fatigue, and is the scientific term for fatigue which gets worse after exerting yourself. This exertion might be physical (e.g. going for a walk, or completing physiotherapy exercises), or it might be mental (e.g. a stressful conversation or a long day at work).
If you have post-exertional malaise, your body will “overreact” to these stresses, and a relatively small trigger can lead to days or weeks of fatigue. Typically, this includes extreme tiredness and heavy brain fog, making it difficult to think straight or communicate. It may also include oversleeping or difficulty sleeping, pain, low mood, and muscle weakness. You should not try to “push through” post-exertional malaise, as this can make things worse.
If you experience these symptoms after exerting yourself, it is important to speak to a qualified health professional, as they may be able to advise you on what is safe for you to do in the future.
Fatigue is best managed through pacing, where you manage your activity on a day-to-day basis to avoid triggering symptoms. You may be able to build up activity slowly over time, to increase how much you can safely do.
It can often help to record your activity and your symptoms, so you can see how much activity is safe for you to do, and if there are particular activities or types of activity that are more likely to trigger symptoms. CHSS has two worksheets available to help you with tracking your activity: a “battery tracker” and an energy tracking worksheet.
It is important to rest frequently, and to build downtime into your schedule. However, it is also important that you keep to a schedule where possible – building routines is a powerful tool for managing fatigue.
When planning your days, remember that doing things that you enjoy and that make you happy are just as important as work and chores! Keeping positive and giving yourself things to look forwards to can often improve your fatigue symptoms.
By the same token, it is important to be kind to yourself, even when you are unable to do the things you want to do. You are likely to have bad days, and to be unable to do things you feel you “should” do – try to forgive yourself for this, and to offer yourself the understanding and kindness you would want from someone else.
It can be helpful to break tasks down into smaller, more manageable chunks. This allows you to set small, achievable goals, and to recognise the things you have accomplished. It also makes it easier to find time to take breaks, recovering and hopefully preventing post-exertional malaise.
Fatigue and pacing
You can make sure people with chest, heart or stroke in conditions Scotland get the support they need after returning home from hospital.
If you – or someone you know – needs help right now, we’re here for you.
Read our Essential Guides for more information.
Download our booklet on Tiredness and fatigue to find out more about the topics discussed on this page.
View this page
You can use this worksheet to help you see how well you balance your energy through the week.
You can use this worksheet to help you track your activity.
This page was last updated on May 3, 2023 and is under regular review. If you feel anything is missing or incorrect, please contact email@example.com to provide feedback.