We can be as optimistic as we possibly can despite our illness but the truth is, positivity can only do much for our arthritis. The truth is, dealing with muscle and joint pain, fatigue, and going about our days trying to mask our discomfort, is enough to wipe us out and zap what little energy we have to spare.
So what can we do about it?
The good news is, there are some home remedies for arthritis and lifestyle changes that you can try to incorporate into your daily routine to put a spring back in your step.
Fight Fatigue with Fitness
Staying active and making an effort to stay fit can make a very big difference for your energy levels. We know this isn’t always possible when you have deal with aching and stiff joints. In fact, it’s probably the last thing on your mind. But even the smallest effort can make a world of difference.
We recommend starting small. You don’t have train for a marathon or bench press your bodyweight to stay fit. By staying active, we mean going for a walk at a pace you’re comfortable with—even if it’s just for 10 to 15 minutes. If that’s too much for your load bearing joints, try swimming. The water helps take the pressure off your hips, lower back and knees.
Remember to warm up, even if it’s just for a simple walk. Gentle stretching or marching in place will do the trick.
Again, take it easy on yourself. No matter what activity you choose, start small. Set goals that are achievable given your limitations, but set aside a few minutes of your day to exercise. No matter how little you dedicate to fitness, a few minutes a day is still better than nothing at all. And be sure to consult with your healthcare team. They may be able to recommend specific exercises for you or give you better pointers and guidelines on how to incorporate fitness into your daily routine.
Find a Balance
We often find ourselves overcompensating for a lot of things because of our diagnosis. We fear our loss of independence, so we do more in an effort to prove to ourselves that nothing has changed. We don’t want our loved ones to worry about us, so we go out of our way to hide our pain and discomfort.
This kind of thinking, day in and day out, is exhausting.
Dealing with arthritis is a balancing act—it’s finding the middle ground between staying active and not overusing your already tired, painful joints; it’s getting stuff done, while making sure that you don’t add undue stress to your body; it’s knowing when to push yourself and knowing when to ask for help.
You know your limitations—be honest and acknowledge what you can and cannot do. Listening to your body means you’re in a better position to address its needs. For example, if your work requires you to type all day and you’ve just been diagnosed with arthritis of the hand, don’t ignore aches and pains on your wrist or fingers. Acknowledging it lets you do something about it. Maybe you can try a compression glove to provide additional wrist support, or you can take more frequent breaks and learn some hand exercises.
Set the Stage for a Good Night’s Rest
Trouble sleeping is often one of the most frustrating things about arthritis. It comes with the territory, unfortunately. Pain often wakes you up at night. Arthritis sufferers are also prone to anxiety and depression, causing even more sleepless nights. Sometimes, your medication is to blame for poor-quality sleep.
To address all these, make sure your bedroom is a haven for rest and relaxation. Make an effort to make sure your bedroom is free from gadgets that may distract your from getting a good night’s rest. Invest in a comfortable mattress, high-quality pillows, and light-blocking curtains.
Give your body time to wind down an hour before you go to sleep. Dim the lights, turn off the TV, put your phone on silent. Take a warm bath or shower and curl up with a good book.
Find the Time to Plan Better Meals
Your diet plays a huge part in managing our illness. While there’s no miracle food that you can eat to relieve symptoms and cure arthritis, eating a healthy, balanced diet can help reduce inflammation and fight flare ups.
For more information on this, check out our article here or check out this brief video.