The low-impact ways I handle low-energy days

Tips include frozen meals and hobbies that don't involve a digital screen

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by Noura Costany |

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Living with Cushing’s disease can feel very different from living a healthy life. With Cushing’s, we patients often have flare-ups, which are moments when our condition acts up and we experience more symptoms. For me, these symptoms include leg pain, migraines, sensitivity to light and sound, muscle aches, and fatigue. Over the years, I’ve learned how to get through days like this. If you’re a fellow Cushing’s patient, I have a few tips to help you get through them, too!

On days when I have no energy, the last thing I want to do is take a standing shower. Instead, I fill the bathtub with a touch of warm water (not enough for a bath, just enough to keep me warm) and sit on the floor of the tub. From there, I’m able to shower normally. This helps me use the least amount of energy possible while washing my hair, and the hot water always makes me feel a little bit better.

I keep frozen meals in my freezer so I don’t have to cook on my worst days. These are easy meals to prepare, and I can simply pop a container in the oven, cook it for 30 minutes, then eat. If you’re looking to do this, I recommend stir fry, casseroles, or soup as your first frozen meal.

On days when I feel achy, I tend to get migraines, so I can’t spend a lot of time playing video games or watching television shows. I’ve tried to find several no-screen hobbies that require little energy.

The first is learning how to knit. I’m going to be an aunt soon, and I really want to be the kind who can whip up amazing things. I’m currently working on a baby blanket. I also read, take care of my plants, snuggle with my cats, and try to learn how to apply makeup better.

A close-up selfie of a person on a couch snuggling a big, whiskery cat. The cat is adorable, with a white face, brown or gray legs, and white paws (and brown or gray ears). They're in the living room of a home, but there isn't much else discernible in the photo.

Photo taken by Noura Costany

Noura and their cat Pacha snuggle during a low-energy day. (Photo by Noura Costany)

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It’s important that I keep my body moving throughout the day, but doing an entire exercise routine when I have little energy is impossible. Instead, I’ll do five minutes of a low-impact workout several times throughout the day. I tend to go on walks, do yoga or Pilates, or simply stretch. Splitting this up means that I keep my body moving but don’t put any additional strain on my muscles.

Lastly, and most importantly, I remind myself that it’s OK to relax. I always feel like I need to be doing something, so I tend to feel lazy on weaker days, which can lead to negative thoughts about myself. I must constantly remind myself that I’m not a burden and my body needs to be taken care of.

Treat yourself kindly and please share your tips for low-energy days in the comments below. You can also follow my journey on TikTok and YouTube.

Note: Cushing’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cushing’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Cushing’s.


John Culligan avatar

John Culligan

I enjoy reading your work on the trials and tribulations of dealing with Cushing's Disease. Your tips open my eyes to what I could be doing differently. I am 69 years and have Cushing's Syndrome (first diagnosed 2018) and am frustrated with the medical community.

Your words inspire me (a normally very lazy procrastinator) to get up and do something. I have a better understanding of this "rollercoaster" that is so unpredictable for us and also how little the Endocrinologists know about how this affects everyone differently. I had an adrenalectomy (the surgeon left part of the affected gland in there with the other healthy one?) that so far has not "cured" the Cushing's. My Endo's response was to go back on Korlym (nearly killed me back in 2018) or do nothing. I think the medical community here in Las Vegas are woefully inept at dealing with this disease. Let me just sum up, instead of rambling on by saying, keep up the good work inspiring the rest of us. Sincerely, John Culligan P.S. I'm originally from 'Da Bronx.


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