Book Review: The Fatigue Prescription – by Cara Potapshyn Meyers
The Fatigue Prescription: Four Steps to Renewing Your Energy, Health, and Life
I was given the opportunity to review this truly wonderful book at a perfect time in my life. I had been recently diagnosed with a medical condition called Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome and am being managed via timed medication throughout the day. Although the medication I am taking is doing it’s job, there was something important missing in the care I am receiving for this condition. I desperately needed to retool my entire lifestyle. Enter The Fatigue Prescription written by Linda Hawes Clever, M.D.
My life has been a series of highly stressful events. It began at age nineteen with the death of my mother and never let up. I would hurdle one highly stressful event, only to encounter another event several months later. Fast forward thirty years and my body was beginning to “shut down.” The adrenal glands, which help you to manage and control stressful situations, both long term as well as short term, were on the precipice of “closing up shop” completely. Ultimately that would have put me in a whole different, more serious, medical category which meant that I would have had to take medication for life. I am thankful that I was able to get diagnosed before that happened. However my daily stress load continues to remain extremely high. To really help my adrenal glands to regenerate, I needed to find a way to take charge of this overwhelming stress and completely overhaul my entire life. The Fatigue Prescription has been exceedingly successful in helping me to achieve that.
Throughout her book, Dr. Clever gently guides you through first assessing, then approaching ways to make lifestyle changes in gradual, effective ways. She also doesn’t simply “preach” what to do. In her introduction, she describes her own story of immense stress and how she overcame it. As she walks you through each chapter, you almost get the feeling that she is quietly holding your hand while encouraging you at the same time. She lets you take your time to get comfortable with a lifestyle change before you move on to the next. Dr. Clever’s approach is also basic and manageable, with simple self tests to take to determine exactly what type and how much of a specific intervention is necessary.
The Fatigue Prescription became rooted from a not-for-profit organization she developed along with former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, John W. Gardner, called RENEW. As Dr. Clever states in her book, “The link between finding meaning in your life and conquering fatigue is to renew yourself – your spirit, energy, dreams and relationships.” This is the four-step premise that the book is based on: Awareness, Reflection, Conversation and finally Planning and Action. Dr. Clever cautions, though, that you cannot simply race to step 4 before working through the other three consecutive steps. Each step is a stepping stone to a workable outcome and therefore needs to be given the time and respect it deserves. Change by itself can be an added stress. Dr. Clever realizes this and has therefore designed each step to be followed at your own pace and comfort level. By doing this, your fatigued, overstressed body can gradually become accustomed to necessary changes and benefit from them, before moving forward to the next goal.
I have been reading a couple other books to assist me with my desire to rejuvenate my body. The Fatigue Prescription has gone far and above anything I have already read. It is filled with easy self-assessments, informational charts, and sound advice from a physician who healed herself. This book will help you avoid illness, reset priorities, and most importantly, regain your health and enthusiasm. All of the other books I’ve read explain why relaxation, exercise, proper sleep and reflection are important components of any lifestyle change. But none that I have read deliver a step program for tackling fatigue that is endemic in our modern lives.
Our lives are jam packed. Many of us are working more than fifty hours a week. When we are not working, we are either shuttling to and from commitments, keeping up with our homes, bills, e-mails, voicemails, texts, and if we are lucky, finding time to wolf down some food! As a whole, we are sleep deprived, overworked, overwhelmed and undernourished in both body and soul. It has come to the point where we are just too busy to even figure out how to manage being less busy! The Fatigue Prescription will engage you in finding your own ways to lessen being so overwhelmed and finally find the joy in your life, no matter what stage of fatigue you are in!
If you want to be healthier, calmer and more purposeful, reading The Fatigue Prescription is a must! I urge all of readers to start taking better care of themselves now rather than to wake up and find that they are faced with a medical predicament similar to what I am working through. You are worth this small investment in time. Start now with the proper “prescription!”
About the Author:
LINDA HAWES CLEVER is a member of the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and a clinical professor of medicine at UCSF. In 1998, Dr. Clever founded RENEW, a nonprofit organization that aims to help busy, devoted people regain — or maintain — their effectiveness and creativity. She lives in Mill Valley, CA.