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Save Your Energy continued...

Revise your schedule. Take a look at your day and try to spread out chores and other tasks evenly. Let's say your mornings are especially hard. Switch some tasks to other times of the day. For instance, set out tomorrow’s clothes -- for yourself and your kids -- the night before.

Do things in short spurts. Frost suggest you garden, clean, or do anything else in 30-minute blocks of time. "Once that half-hour is over, do something else," she says. Just changing your position and activity can help you avoid pain and fatigue.

Make the small things easier. "You can reduce fatigue by making your environment easier to negotiate," says Patience White, MD, a rheumatologist and vice president for public health at the Arthritis Foundation. Use assistive devices. Get some kitchen utensils, pots, and pans with fatter grips so that they're easier to hold. Replace your doorknobs with handles, which will be easier to grasp.

Get help. Ask a friend or family member to take over some of the heavier chores. Have someone else carry laundry baskets upstairs or fill the pasta pot with water. Don't plan to cook dishes that need a lot of chopping unless you have someone to help, Frost says. Or buy pre-cut vegetables.

Talk to Your Doctor

Fatigue is pretty common with rheumatoid arthritis, but you should still talk about it with your doctor. In some cases, they can help.

  • Some RA medications can make you tired. Changing the dosage or timing, or switching to a different drug, can give you more energy.
  • RA can cause depression, which can cause serious fatigue. Your doctor can help you decide if seeing a therapist could help. Medication may help, too.
  • Other medical issues -- like anemia, fibromyalgia, and thyroid problems -- can drain your energy, so it's important to find out if your rheumatoid arthritis is really to blame. Getting treatment can restore some energy.

Your regular RA medications should help, too. "Fatigue gets better when your RA gets under control," White says. Make sure you're getting the right meds, and stick to your treatment plan.

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