Some people achieve a boost with multiple small meals throughout the day, while others prefer the concept of three solid meals every day.
You would think that exercising would tire a fatigued person even more, but it is quite the opposite. Aerobic exercise has been show to spark the mitochondria in our body’s cells to produce more energy to meet the increased energy requirements created by exercise.
Although it is probably difficult to exercise with the symptoms of osteoarthritis, one can still try light exercise such as using a stationary bike, short walks outside, and water aerobic exercises.
Maintaining a Regular Sleep Schedule
Having a regular time to wake up each morning and go to bed each night can help with sleep and overall energy levels. Regular sleep events can help strengthen circadian rhythms and leads to regular times of sleep onset.
It can be difficult to get the recommended eight hours in today’s world, but every bit of consistent sleep can help with the fatigue attributed to living with osteoarthritis.
Relaxation techniques can help ease your mind and distract you from pain. Focused breathing exercises, guided imagery, and meditation for arthritis are all effective ways to relax yourself, reduce stress, and decrease fatigue.
Similar to stretching for stiffness, finding a few minutes a day to practice relaxation therapies can help increase your ability to sleep at night and overall energy levels.
Anxiety and Depression
Recent studies indicate that anxiety, depression, and chronic pain disorders, such as osteoarthritis, often occur together. The stress associated in living with chronic pain can perpetuate or create anxiety disorders and depression.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, studies demonstrated that people with severe depression feel more intense pain.
The research shows there may be a physiologic cause for this connection; the link between inflammation and depression may due to higher than normal levels of inflammatory proteins called cytokines that people with depression have in their body. Thus, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain can join together in a perpetual and repeating cycle.
Support, support, SUPPORT! I have alluded to support in many of my previous articles. We all need an adequate support system to survive this thing we call life.
However, those with chronic diseases need to rely on support more often than the average person. Osteoarthritis sufferers deal with negative thoughts throughout the day and constant reminders of what they are unable to do, but support can help us get through these negative influences.
Support can come in a variety of forms; it could be someone who helps with tasks you are physically unable to do, someone willing to lend a sympathetic ear, or a person who is going through the same ordeal. Potential sources of support could be a trained therapist, family member, significant other, close friend, or even pet.
Even if you can’t identify a person, joining a support group can also be just as effective. It is important to identify who composes your support system when it comes to coping with emotional impact osteoarthritis can have on your mood.
Try to Keep a Positive Mindset
This is one of the most difficult, but effective goals to achieve. Keeping a positive mindset can be crucial to your quality of life.
In order to do this, you should embrace the idea of viewing the world with a “glass half-full” approach. It is important to focus more on the activities that you can still do rather than the activities you are not able to do due to the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
You can’t always control your physical condition, but you can dictate your emotional reaction to the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Going along with the previous topic of support, it is also important to surround yourself with positive people, who can help you to continue to think positively.
People with osteoarthritis can suffer from a multitude of symptoms. These symptoms vary from the direct symptoms of pain, stiffness and swelling to the indirect symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, and depression.
Fortunately, there are coping strategies for each of these symptoms that I have learned during my time suffering from osteoarthritis. The direct symptoms can be alleviated by home remedies such as ice or heat therapy, while those that are resistant to the home remedies may require the help of a healthcare professional.
The indirect symptoms can be alleviated by modifications in your lifestyle, such as improved exercise and nutrition, or seeking the support of others to help you through your struggle. Although I can’t offer any quick and easy cures, I hope you find these strategies helpful in your pursuit of living a happy and successful life with osteoarthritis.