In a recent Twitter poll on @PsAndMe, we discovered just how many of our readers struggle with fatigue linked with PsA. And you guys aren’t alone – did you know that when ranking the impact of symptoms, people across the globe living with PsA said that their fatigue was harder to deal with than any other symptoms aside from their chronic pain?
We’ve already explained the science behind why fatigue and PsA are so closely linked (you can read all about it here), but we wanted to share how other people with PsA cope with the condition. Our bloggers Lori-Ann and Amanda reveal how they tackle their fatigue, and how they know when to say stop.
Fatigue is one of the biggest battle I fight in my personal war against psoriatic arthritis. I’m actually in a flare up as I’m writing this. You wouldn’t believe the amount of bargaining I had to do with myself just to be able to get up from my bed to type this. I’ve often been asked to describe fatigue. It’s not an easy thing to pin down, but imagine it as a battery that’s running on 20% power no matter how much it’s charged. I got nine hours sleep last night, but I feel like I’ve had none and I’m facing a full day of work when all I want to do is lie on my bed and stare at the walls (when I’m fatigued even watching TV is too much). I do have a few tricks up my sleeve though. Staying hydrated helps my brain focus. I have an app on my phone and it reminds me to drink throughout the day. You’d be surprised at the difference it makes. The same goes for fresh air. Usually, outside is the last place I want to be when I’m fatigued, but even walking to my front gate and taking a few deep breathes helps. However, the most important aspect of fatigue is forgiveness. I’ll try my best today, and tomorrow, and the next day. Some days will be more productive than others, and that’s ok.
On my worst fatigue days, I know as soon as I open my eyes that I will not have the energy to even feed myself. Those are the days I literally spend in bed or on the living room sofa, resting with the television and cat, eating and drinking minimally. Other days, my fatigue is more moderate. On those days, I bargain with myself: “You can rest for 30 minutes after you wash the dishes, order the groceries, etc.” This way, I accomplish what I can, and still practice good self-care. Unless it is absolutely necessary, I do not shower on a fatigue day, because it wears me out too much. And, I’ve learned not to get down on myself about it. Scarlett O’Hara was right: “Tomorrow IS another day”. Thankfully, I do not have a hard fatigue day very often. Most days are only mild.