2. Get Regular Exercise to Boost Energy continued...
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.
If there are times when you know you won’t get a full night’s sleep, you may need to plan to make it up the next day.
“I can’t go out on a work night like other people my age. If I don’t get at least eight hours of sleep, I’m useless the next day,” says Brown. “So if there’s something I want to do in the evening, I have to plan for it by setting aside time to sleep the next day.”
Even with a full night’s sleep you may need to take several rest periods throughout your day. “Some people may need to plan short periods of rest after each activity,” says Jolly. “This gives your body time to catch up and can make a big difference in how you feel.”
4. Prioritize Activities When Living With Lupus
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the things you need to do. Keeping an activity schedule for day-to-day basics can be a way to help organize your time. This way, you can plan for the things you need to do and make sure you have enough time to rest in between.