by EBSCO Medical Review Board

The person with CFS may not have the energy to do their daily activities. They may feel helpless, guilty, confused, angry, sad, or worthless. Others may not understand what they are going through. Family members and employers may become impatient. They do not see the symptoms.

Making changes can help a person with CFS feel better. Some things that can help are:

Balancing Activities and Rest

People with CFS have days when they feel better. Even on good days, they need a balance of rest and activity. It may be tempting to use good days to catch up on activities. But, doing too much can trigger symptoms.

It helps to watch for signs of tiredness, pain, or discomfort. This is the time to rest in a quiet place with eyes closed. Those who are very ill will have short periods of activity. Activity may be as short as 5 minutes. Rest periods will be much longer. As symptoms get better, more activity time can be slowly added.

Choosing Moderate Activities

Many people with CFS once had active lives. It is hard for them to cut back on activities. It helps for them to do moderate activities that they enjoy. Some exercise is helpful, even if it is only stretching. Competitive sports are not good choices for those who are sick. During these times, it is best to focus on hobbies that need less effort.

Making Adjustments With Work or School

People with CFS may have problems working. They may need to talk to their employers about cutting back on work hours. Partial or total disability benefits may be an option. These benefits may come from an employer, a private plan, or the Social Security Administration. This is a lengthy process. Also, disability earnings may be much less than the person's salary.

Those in school may need to make changes too. Options may be:

  • Home tutoring or home schooling
  • A part time course load
  • Remote or online courses

Getting Support from Others

A person's partner, family, and friends may not understand CFS. They will likely have to make changes. Employers and coworkers may also need to adjust. It is important that they know about CFS. This way, they can give support and help the person with CFS cope.

Making Changes to Ease Conditions Linked With CFS

Food allergies and digestive problems may be part of CFS. Diet changes can help with these issues. Having a well-balanced diet can help a person with CFS to feel better. Lifestyle changes and medicines can treat sleep problems. Physical or occupational therapy can help with pain and movement issues


Chronic fatigue syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed April 13, 2022.

Chronic fatigue syndrome. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: Accessed April 13, 2022.

Treatment of ME/CFS. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Accessed April 13, 2022.

Revision Information