*YAWN* Why am I always so tired?!
Fatigue may be caused by inflammation, overdoing routine activities, medication side effects, stress, depression or a combination. Poor sleep and nutrition, and absence of regular exercise also may also contribute. Feeling tired all the time can lead to stress and depression. And, if you become physically run down, your immune system will be less able to fight infection and illness. By setting priorities, making smart choices and conserving your strength, you will still be able to do most of what is important to you.
Another consideration is the medications themselves. Fatigue is a side effect of many medications, most frequently drugs for other conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure) or depression. Ask your doctor if any medications you are taking cause fatigue, and whether any adjustments can be made to improve the situation.
Fibromyalgia is also common in people with rheumatoid arthritis, and may cause fatigue. If you have a second chronic condition, your fatigue level may be even higher. If you and your doctor address these additional problems, your level of energy should increase.
Here are some tips to help you cope and deal with your fatigue, making your life a little easier. Also note, I'm not a doctor, and any real problem with fatigue should be addressed with your doctor. Although these may not be able to help all of you, but I hope most of you will come away with some advice you may not have known before.
- Adjust your schedule (if you can) so you can start an hour or two later. This gives you extra time to sleep, and extra time in the morning to get out of bed if you're feeling stiff.
- Avoiding heavy meals, lots of carbs and sugars cause crashes later on in the day. Eating healthier and lighter can help big time.
- Rest is crucial. But doing too little can often lead to deconditioning – which makes you feel more fatigued. Moderate exercise keeps your muscles and joints in condition, and has the added benefit of helping you sleep better at night.
- A good nights sleep. Getting the amount of 8-10 hours a night, and sleeping through the entire night can help loads. If you have trouble, there are both prescription and over the counter sleep aids.
Lastly, prioritize your daily activities. There will be days where you feel more tired than others, and sometimes when you're asked to do something, you will have to say no. Don't be afraid to say no, or ask for help when you need it. You can't do everything at once, and forcing yourself to go to a party after work, is just going to hurt you in the long run. Saying no to something, because you just don't have the energy, is not wrong, even if someone makes you feel it is. Your body goes through a lot, adding stress and not getting enough rest is just going to make you more fatigued and lead to a flare-up.