Strategies for managing fatigue
Many people with lupus experience fatigue, or feeling tired throughout the day. For some people, fatigue can make it hard to do everyday activities like taking a shower, cooking dinner, or going to work.
The good news is there are steps you can take to feel better. By understanding and working with your body’s limits, you can learn to live well with lupus fatigue.
Talk to your doctor
Talk to your doctor about how fatigue affects your daily life. Your doctor may do some diagnostic tests (like blood tests) to make sure your fatigue isn’t caused by another condition, like a thyroid problem or low levels of iron in your blood (anemia). Ask your doctor for advice and resources on how to deal with lupus fatigue.
Before going to your appointment with a close friend or family member, check to see if it’s permitted for them to accompany you. If it’s permitted, they can help you talk to the doctor about your symptoms and remember details you may have missed. If they cannot come along, see if it’s possible to video chat with them while you’re in the room with the doctor.
Choose the activities that are most important to you and plan your day around them. That way, you can get the most important things done and make time to rest when you need to.
- When making your to-do list, decide which tasks are most important and tackle them first.
- Plan time to rest throughout the day.
- Shop online when you can. When you need to run errands, try to get everything done in one trip and plan time to rest afterward. If possible, choose the option to pick up your items, in store or a drive-up location, to skip walking around the store and potentially waiting in long lines.
- Plan and prepare meals ahead of time when you can. For example, you can cook extra portions of a soup or casserole and freeze them for later.
- Choose the social activities that are most important to you and feel free to say “no” to the rest.
It can be frustrating to feel like you can’t do as many things as you want because of your lupus fatigue. Remember that having lupus isn’t your fault — and that you’ll feel better in the long run if you put your health first.
Connect with others who can help
Don’t be afraid to ask your family and friends for help with tasks like cooking, shopping, or household chores. Accepting help gets easier with time and practice — and you may find that it makes your relationships even stronger.
You can also join a support group to meet other people with lupus, share your experiences, and get advice from others who’ve been there. Find a lupus support group near you.
Build healthy habits
Making these changes to your daily routine can make a big difference in how you feel.
- Exercise for a few minutes every day. Low-impact activities like yoga, swimming, and cycling are good for people with lupus because they are easy on your muscles and joints. Learn more about how exercise can help you manage lupus symptoms.
- Get plenty of sleep. Try these tips to improve your sleep.
- Eat healthy foods. Hear from a registered dietician on how to eat well with lupus.
- If you smoke, ask your doctor for advice to help you quit.