Psoriatic Arthritis and Fatigue Tips
Since the tiredness that comes with psoriatic arthritis can be due to a number of factors, it's essential to launch a multifaceted attack on your fatigue. Try any or all of the following tips to help restore your energy levels.
- Change your schedule. When you're diagnosed with a chronic condition like psoriatic arthritis, it's important to accept that you may need to make changes in your life. On days when you're really tired, give yourself permission to take a short nap. Or, if you find that your flexibility gets better as the day goes on, you may want to lay out your clothes and pack your lunch for the next day on the night before. That way, you'll avoid problems from morning stiffness.
- Get enough sleep. Because your body is already stressed by psoriatic arthritis, it's even more important to get a good night's rest. If you're having sleeping problems, ask your doctor whether changing your medications might help. Also, make sure you avoid heavy meals, alcohol, and caffeine before bed and practice good sleep hygiene. Make your bedroom a peaceful place for sleep and sex only, and try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day.
- Exercise. It's true -- exercising and moving around actually gives you more energy. You don't need to overdo it -- getting 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week is plenty. Try to include a combination of aerobic exercises and strength-building activities, which will keep your heart healthy and your bones and muscles strong. Another benefit? If your fatigue is caused by being overweight, regular exercise will help you shed the extra pounds.
- Prioritize. When you have limited energy, it's important to realize you can't do it all. Reserve time and energy for the things that matter to you, like spending time with your spouse or playing with your children.
- Seek support. No one can better understand the fatigue you're feeling than someone else in the same situation. Online communities hosted by the National Psoriasis Foundation and the Arthritis Foundation let you connect with others with psoriatic arthritis and share tips on fighting fatigue.
- Treat depression. When you're depressed, it can be hard to believe that you'll ever feel energetic again. But treating depression, either with therapy, medication, or a combination of the two, can help you feel like your old self again. If you think you might be depressed, ask your doctor for a referral to a licensed therapist or psychiatrist.
- Eat right. Healthy eating is a key part of treating psoriatic arthritis. Don't skip meals, and eat whole foods with a good mix of unsaturated fats, protein, and complex carbohydrates to give your body energy throughout the day.
- Support your joints. If your joints are swollen and tender, wearing supporting footwear and braces may help reduce pain. And when you reduce pain, you increase your desire and ability to be out and about.
- Do something you enjoy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull (and tired) boy. Make sure you carve out time to do what you love, whether it's seeing a movie with a friend or planting tomatoes in your garden.
- Practice stress-reduction techniques. High levels of stress can zap anyone's energy and may make psoriatic arthritis symptoms even worse. Practicing meditation or yoga, or even just curling up with a good book or sipping a cup of herbal tea, can reduce stress and increase energy.