Eileen Davidson, known as Chronic Eileen, lives with rheumatoid arthritis and common comorbidities that come with the painful autoimmune disease. While pain is often debilitating, fatigue can often take the spotlight as the most complicated symptom to deal with on a daily basis.
Chronic fatigue is a whole-body feeling that impairs your ability to function and is invisible to all but the person experiencing it.
Medications and comorbidities like fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies are what cause Eileen’s fatigue. However, with the right self-management skills, which she has developed after a decade with RA, Eileen has made life a little easier with this pesky symptom.
Here are five of Eileen’s best tips for combating debilitating chronic fatigue:
Motion is lotion
Fatigue often causes people to become more sedentary, causing more pain and more fatigue. While it doesn’t work straight away and at first can be difficult due to lack of energy, exercise is a critical step in Eileen’s fight against arthritis and in improving her overall well-being.
Her advice is to start small with low-impact exercises you enjoy and slowly build your way up to more. Moving a little each day can be one of your best tools for chronic fatigue.
Maintaining a healthy diet and hydration
Sticking with a healthy diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fatty fish, and lean proteins can help contribute to increased energy compared to a diet with processed foods or foods high in sugar and saturated fat. Maintaining adequate hydration can help more than grabbing another coffee.
Remember to rest and pace yourself
Pushing yourself and overdoing it is a major trigger for pesky fatigue. It’s incredibly important to prioritize rest and to pace yourself each day to not trigger unrelenting fatigue that can leave you in a slump for a few days. Complete big tasks during your best hours.
Find the right medications and treatments
When pain and inflammation are under control, it can help with fatigue. But your physical health isn’t the only cause of increased fatigue. Ensuring that your mental health is supported as much as your physical health is key in fighting draining fatigue. Ask your health care providers how they can help you manage your fatigue and mental health.
Seek out communication and support
Chronic fatigue is a challenge to live with but those around you can help you by better understanding how fatigue impacts your daily life and how they can best support you. If you know someone with fatigue, remember to be kind and supportive as they’re climbing an invisible mountain.