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HealthInfo West Coast-Te Tai Poutini

Self-care for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)

Healthy eating

Following a healthy balanced diet helps to keep you well and maintain a healthy weight. This is important for CFS.


Staying active can help to keep your muscles strong and maintain a healthy weight. But the activity needs to be tailored to your needs and symptoms. See GET in Chronic fatigue syndrome. Too much exercise can make your symptoms worse.


Disturbed and unrestful sleep is a common symptom of CFS. It is important to look at your sleep patterns and see if you can make any changes. Too little or too much sleep can make your symptoms worse. You should avoid sleeping in the daytime.

Structured rest

Rest, rather than sleep, can really help manage your CFS symptoms. Try to put rest periods into your daily routine when you can relax and recover. You should limit these to 30 minutes.


Relaxation techniques can be helpful for managing pain and sleep problems. They can also reduce tiredness caused by stress and anxiety.


Social isolation is quite common in people with CFS. This can be because you can't get out of the house much. Talk to friends and family about your condition and how you feel. Consider joining a local or online support group such as the Associated New Zealand ME Society.


People with CFS can often suffer from depression, anxiety or stress. If you have a low mood for more than a few days, see your GP. Depression, anxiety and stress can all cause tiredness in their own right. So they may be making your symptoms worse. These conditions can be treated. Getting the right help for them may help to improve your CFS symptoms.

Getting help for CFS

General practice team

If you need to find a GP, you can search on the West Coast PHO's website.

Physiotherapist and occupational therapists

Ask your general practice team about options for referral to a physiotherapist or occupational therapist.


Your GP might be able to help you find a psychologist.

Or you may wish to pay to see a private Psychologist.

The Associated New Zealand ME Society

The Associated New Zealand ME Society provides information, support and practical advice for people, families and carers affected by ME (CFS).

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed February 2019.


See also:

Conserving energy


Mental wellbeing

Page reference: 635636

Review key: HICFS-70801