Finding the right coping mechanisms — and giving yourself a little grace — can go a long way when you’re fatigued.
If you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you’re no stranger to fatigue. In fact, up to 80% of people with RA report fatigue as one of their main symptoms.
Sometimes these low energy days can interfere with your plans or get you down. While you may not be able to eliminate your fatigue, there are ways to lessen its impact on your day.
Here are some strategies members of the Bezzy RA community use to manage their low energy days.
“One thing I found that helps me with morning fatigue is getting up 2 hours before I have to be at work. By giving myself 2 hours, I’m able to take a shower, take the dogs outside, and spend about a half hour outside with them. Then I can finish getting ready for work. Giving myself extra time has helped tremendously with my morning fatigue.” — Dustin
“When my fatigue is bad, I focus on what I can do instead of dwelling on what I cannot do. Some days this simple reframe of my mindset works wonders! I’m working through the guilt that can come with resting.” — Arthritis Ashley, Bezzy RA Guide
“I’ve only found two things that help my fatigue: a nap or a physical activity, especially aerobics, which boosts energy. I’m aware that activity is difficult when you have no energy. The first 10 minutes are the worst, but after that, I feel fantastic.” — ileana
“I find that coffee or caffeine helps if I have to stay up all day. I also allow myself to be fatigued, even though I would love to be up doing things like normal people. I can’t do the work I used to when I was young, and I try not to dwell on that. I do what I can and forgive myself for what I can’t do.” — LoriSC
At times my fatigue is so overwhelming that it makes it difficult to function. On days like this, which is often, I literally force myself to move. ‘A body in motion remains in motion.’” — Sphinx
It’s important to listen to your body on low energy days. Remember that it’s OK to rest.
If you want to learn more about how to manage waves of fatigue, check out our article The Pain-Energy Cycle and How to Pace Yourself with Chronic Illness. Even on days when you have more energy, it’s important not to overextend yourself. When you have a chronic illness, resting can be productive.
You’re not on this journey alone. If you want to hear more ways members of the community manage their fatigue, join the conversation in the Symptoms forum.
Medically reviewed on October 19, 2022
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