2. Get Regular Exercise to Boost Energy continued...
Although Utterback still deals with fatigue, exercise has helped her as well. “When I exercise, I can add another good hour to my day,” she says. “And when I don’t exercise, I definitely feel worse.” Because she experiences joint pain, Utterback usually exercises in a heated pool, which is easy on her joints. But she also walks and lifts weights.
“It’s important to get as much exercise as you can tolerate,” says Jolly. “For some people that may mean just a short walk, while others may be able to do a whole exercise routine. The key is to find what’s right for you. Listen to your body and let it be your guide.”
Don’t be afraid to push yourself a bit. “Some days I really don’t want to go to the gym, but I force myself to go anyway, because I know I’ll feel better once I exercise,” says Utterback. “One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made is not exercising when I feel really lousy. I’ve learned that if I can get on the treadmill and just do a few minutes, I end up doing more and feeling better.”
If you’re just starting exercise, be sure to start slow and be patient with yourself. Try to exercise during the time of day when you have the most energy and find something you like to do, whether it’s walking, bicycling, or taking an exercise class.
“Getting exercise doesn’t mean that you have to run a 5K,” says Brown. “Just do whatever you can. I’ve found that even just a bit of exercise can make a big difference.”
3. Get Enough Rest to Prevent Fatigue
Most people do best with at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night. If you have lupus you may need even more sleep.
“It’s important to develop good sleeping habits,” says Jolly. “It can really make the difference in getting a good night’s sleep.”
- Take time to relax before bedtime. A warm shower or bath can help.
- Avoid alcohol and food or drinks that contain caffeine after dinnertime.
- Don’t watch TV right before bedtime because it can be distracting. Read a book instead.