Fatigue - Pace yourself m'dear!

Fatigue - Pace yourself m'dear!

One of the key symptoms of RA is the chronic fatigue we feel. It can go on day after day without letting up. Fatigue is subjective and therefore impossible to quantify but undoubtedly the disease process is the cause. This can be unremitting pain, the action of RA drugs, functional ability or a combination of causes.

So, how do we deal with it and try to continue a ‘normal’ life? Everyone will have their own thoughts on this and what works for one may not work for another. You have to work out what feels right for you and you do have to pace yourself!

I divide my jobs up into three categories using a traffic light system, some may overlap and some may be more difficult/easy for some people.

Red Group – these are the difficult, prolonged or heavy jobs ie cleaning, shopping, gardening, decorating. Only one of these per day should be undertaken and no more than every other day. This gives you chance to recuperate in between. No mixing the decorating with the Big Shop!

Amber Group – these are the less difficult but still time consuming ie washing and ironing.

Green Group – these are light tasks such as tidying, small errands, paperwork etc. These jobs can be mixed with Amber Group to balance things out.

Basically be sensible and don’t do too much in one go. When we are feeling well there is the tendency to overdo things, “I’ll do it while I can”. It invariably leads to problems! Learning to pace yourself can be hard but as far as RA is concerned you will reap the benefits. Most of all devote some time to YOU, be it reading a book or listening to music ... put the kettle on and put up your feet!

8 Replies

  • Lyn.. this is so useful. I had no idea that I would go on feeling so blooming tired. The usual feeling tired at the end of a days work now seems to happen at 11 in the morning! Even though generally the pain and stiffness of the RA has subsided. Your traffic light system sounds brilliant, simple and worth trying.. I love the kettle bit at the end.. ho hum :-) Just plucking up the courage to tell me other half that the farm work is reddy one... only every other day...he's not going to like it... I'll let you know how I get on. Thanks again. Take care

  • You might be one of the fortunate ones who won't suffer fatigue Julie. Hope so, you have such a busy life! Perhaps the earlier the disease is controlled the less impact of the ongoing symptoms such as fatigue and flare -ups. Seems reasonable, once the inflammation and pain is under control the less effect the disease will have on your system. At the moment the fatigue may be caused by your body adjusting to the drugs ... still early days for you! Perhaps farm work might make it into the Amber category, fingers proverbially crossed! Look after yourself :)

  • What a great idea Lyn, and how great to hear that fatigue is a real symptom I was beginning to think I was imagining it all!

  • Wise words Lyn. I find one of the most disabling aspects of this disease is the permanent exhaustion. Being an ex-party animal and volunteer public entertainer I'm used to sleep deprivation and travelling long distances. I push myself hard mentally and physically and always have done. However, even I can't cope with the excessive tiredness.

    I'm an early riser, quite capable of waking at 4.30 am or 5 but even if I lie in until 7.30 I find my energy levels wane by about midday. By 2pm I can barely keep my eyes open. Afternoons at work are a real struggle, despite my sticking to a high protein/low carb/low fat diet to maximise energy levels during the day.

    The traffic light system is great. In the early days I fought (and continue to fight) but I'm starting to realise I have to slow down and not overtire myself. This is a great method of ensuring I don't.

  • Hi everyone yes the excessive tiredness can be hard to deal with but as Lyn says you have to learn to pace yourself. I am main carer for my 77 year old Mum who lives with me have a wonderful grandson 18 months old and two grown up daughters who still seem to think I can still do what I did 10 years ago. I am fortunate now that I dont go out to work because it is hard to make your boss understand you need an afternoon nap. So some days are pyjama days who cares I don't. Some days are more energetic and some are slow whatever suits you, do it. Take care

  • Oh Sharon ... pyjama days are my favourite! If only I could get my husband to understand :)

    Sounds like you have the master plan down to a fine art!

  • Thanks for sharing your traffic light system Lyn. I'm really struggling with fatigue and working out the best way to manage it for me. I feel guilty when I rest as there is so much that needs to be done but also know how much worse I'll be if I overdo it. Hopefully I can use a similar system to yours to find some balance.

  • Age 2 that's when my mom learned i had JRA. I just turned fifty and fatigue has been my partner, I've had a elbow replacement, and both my ankles have been fused. I'm on disability now and have pretty much have followed this system and I must say Lyn has the best system i have seen on the web for Fatigue. Plus don't feel guilty when you have PJ days or your home is in disarray. Try to keep a good sense of humor, stay mobile, surround yourself with positive things and good diet but, cheating every now and then is allowed! GL

You may also like...