It official, we can start to talk about what’s just around the corner… Christmas!
It’s certainly a magical time, the twinkle of lights, the shine off of our roses sweet wrappers and the chance to gather with loved ones we may not have seen for a long time. But for those who live with arthritis or other similar conditions, Christmas can bring with it some unwanted ad-ons.
Things like a change in weather and stress of trying to prepare for the festive season can all cause flare ups for anyone living with arthritis and amongst them is fatigue. Arthritis is more commonly associated with inflammation, stiffness and pain. Those points alone can have a serious effect on your general health. But there is another common symptom, fatigue.
What is Fatigue?
Fatigue is is an extreme and sometimes overwhelming physical and mental tiredness. Have you ever felt like someone has just unplugged you and you can’t function at all?
Sadly, when it comes to fatigue, there is no guarantee that rest or sleep would improve it. It is a common problem that is associated with arthritis and it can make other symptoms (like pain and stiffness) feel more severe. Fatigue can also affect your motivation and ability to concentrate (otherwise known as brain fog). Many people who experience it say that it is like having the flu where your symptoms are:
- You feel exhausted
- Feeling like your energy is drained away
- Your body and limbs feel heavy and hard/difficult to move
Unfortunately, fatigue is unpredictable and can start suddenly at any time of the day. It can last an hour or even a couple of days and it can make you feel like you can’t even achieve the most simple of tasks. There good news is that there are ways you can manage this to help reduce the impact it has on your life.
How Can I Manage My Fatigue?
Remember, where there’s a will there’s a way. We’ve carried out some research to find 4 great ways to help you manage your arthritis fatigue, so pop the kettle on, sit back and enjoy.
Plan Your Time Wisely:
Planning your time wisely and spreading your energy over the course of the day/week, you will be able to achieve more than you think. While fatigue can knock you sideways, the world won’t stop (unfortunately) and there can be crucial tasks that need to be accomplished. Try breaking the big tasks into bitesize chunks and spread those mini tasks throughout the day or week.
You can also plan to do the bigger tasks at a time in the day where you feel you have more energy. If you are an early bird like many of us here then its rise and shine to get things sorted.
Don’t forget to plan fun things into your day too, while you may be dealing with a fatigue flare up now, it’s important to enjoy yourself where you can.
Try to stick to your plan as best you can and if you miss a task or needed more breaks than you thought, don’t beat yourself up about it, remember that you are doing the best you can.
Pace Yourself – Slow & Steady Wins the Race:
While we all fancy ourselves a super hero, trying to get everything done in one go is near impossible with arthritis fatigue. Even if you do get everything sorted you will be completely wiped afterwards and no good to anyone.
Pacing is not about using up all of your energy in one go. Above we spoke about breaking tasks up into bitesize chunks. Take cleaning the house as an example, to pace yourself you could break the tasks into room by room and not cleaning it from top to tail in one day.
Problem Solving & Thinking Caps:
Time to put your thinking cap on. Why? It’s always easier to help manage your energy if you can work out what problems might add to your fatigue.
Think about it, if cleaning the house or getting up a ladder to wash the windows is causing you stress, can you farm the task to someone else or perhaps pay someone to take it off your plate? Does the idea of getting out to do the weekly shop feel too much to handle? Why not shop online and get it delivered?
Small changes can help you reserve your energy and help you feel better about your day and yourself.
Prioritising the Needs Over the Wants:
We are a big fan of the ‘to-do list’ here at Uccello. We all have them, it helps us keep our focus. They can also help you with managing your arthritis fatigue. While you are planning your day/week with your tasks and activities, why not put the in order of importance. To help you do that, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I need to have it done today?
- Does it need to be done at all?
- Am I needed for this or can I ask someone else to help?
- Who is around to help me with this?