Your arthritis has you exhausted. Instead of dealing with all-day weariness and forgoing activities because you don’t have the stamina, learn some tricks for getting instant energy boosters to fight fatigue from arthritis:
Turn up the tunes. Listen to your favorite playlist on the way to work, or sing along with your grandkids’ choices. Researchers have found that listening to music helps boost energy and stimulates positive thinking.
Straighten up. Bad posture can slowly sap your energy. According to the International Chiropractors Association, slouching requires your muscles to work harder to hold up your body, and that can lead to fatigue. Just 15 minutes of reading or typing in a slouched position strains the neck, shoulders and upper-back muscles.
Take a break from sitting. Every hour go for a quick walk around the office, get a glass of water or do a few slow stretches to get your blood flowing. Practice good posture by ensuring that your shoulders and hips are aligned and your head is straight. At your desk, sit in a chair that provides good lower-back support, and keep your knees slightly higher than your hips.
Do a mini-meditation. Setting aside time to do mini-meditations throughout the day can help when you’re overwhelmed. Meditation for Arthritis help refocus your thoughts and create positive energy. Find a quiet spot with no distractions, sit in a relaxed position with your eyes closed and take deep, slow breaths. Focus only on breathing in and out. As outside thoughts enter your consciousness, acknowledge them and then refocus on your breathing. Do this for 3 minutes.
Wear red. On days when you’re feeling sluggish, try wearing a colorful sweater or scarf for an immediate pick-me-up. Red, in particular, has been shown to improve mood and alertness.
Pop a peppermint. The scent of peppermint decreases fatigue by up to 25%, according to researchers at Wheeling Jesuit University, in West Virginia. Keep a bowl of peppermints on your desk to get you through the late-afternoon slump; or light a peppermint-scented candle and enjoy the invigorating aroma.
Eat protein and veggies. According to Sue Moores, a registered dietitian in St. Paul, Minnesota, fried and sugary foods provide a quick burst of energy, but can leave you feeling hungry and depleted just 30 minutes later. Instead, eat fruits, veggies, whole grains and proteins for snacks. They help keep your blood sugar even, enabling you to avoid extreme energy peaks and valleys.
Have a good laugh. Giggle, guffaw, chuckle, snicker, chortle – no matter what you call it, laugh for your health. It reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, elevates mood and may boost the immune system. The next time you need a burst of energy, try watching a funny movie or connecting with others who share a great sense of humor.
Find your sweet spot. Acupressure techniques can be natural energy boosters, according to researchers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Applying pressure to key points on the body stimulates the nerves that regulate attention and alertness. Pulling on your ears is one technique – start by gently tugging on the lobes, then move up the tops of the ears and back down the sides. Research also shows that the acupressure point in the center of the top of your head can have a huge impact on pumping up energy. To find the point, place your thumbs on the tops of your ears, and stretch your hands up until your middle fingertips meet at the top of your head. Tap on this spot lightly while taking deep breaths.
Break a sweat. The National Institutes of Health says exercise as an effective way to gain energy. Aim for 30 minutes a day. Can’t spare a half-hour? Research has found that just 10 minutes of exercise can improve mood, increase energy and reduce feelings of fatigue. The next time you’re dragging, walk around the block, go for a short bike ride or swim a few laps in the pool.
Chug some H20. Dehydration is a major cause of fatigue. Water makes up about 80% of the brain and is an essential element in neurologic transmissions. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids to avoid feeling sluggish. “Water is the best choice because it has no calories, but decaffeinated coffee, natural fruit juice, herbal tea – even zero-calorie sodas – count toward your overall fluid intake,” notes Moores. “The most important thing to remember is to avoid liquids that have a lot of sugar, such as smoothies, because the energy gains are only temporary.”