Managing Arthritis

Tips to beat arthritis fatigue this summer

Arthritis fatigue affecting a woman at the computer

You may have heard that we recently experienced the hottest July recorded on Earth. Managing arthritis-related fatigue in the dog days of summer may seem like an impossible task, but don't sweat it, our experts have you covered.  

Here are five things you can do to navigate this scorching season with comfort and ease: 

Eat consistently  

You are more likely to skip a meal when struggling with fatigue, which only exacerbates the issue. Here is what happens in your body when you don't eat enough: cortisol, the stress hormone, spikes up, and insulin, the hormone managing the body's energy supply, goes down. These fluctuations in hormones lead to high levels of stress and exhaustion.  

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables every three hours is an easy way to prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar. It is essential to recognize that energy levels vary from day to day, and cooking can be a challenge if you're tired or in pain. To help you stay energized and nourished, prep meals When you have energy, and keep fruits, vegetables and ready-to-eat meals on hand. 

Bust a move 

"It is normal to feel low motivation to engage with physical activity when our energy is low, but adding exercise to your daily routine will help boost energy levels and reduce fatigue.  When you boost cardiovascular activity, oxygen and nutrients get delivered to your organs, triggering endorphins, which are natural mood enhancers," says Tara Stier, Occupational Therapist at Arthritis Society Canada. 

The type of physical activity you engage in matters, and it is imperative to listen to your body. If you struggle with arthritis, stick to moderate, low-impact exercises, such as walking, swimming or cycling. 

Get enough sleep  

Catching enough Zs is vital in preventing arthritis-related fatigue. Ensure your sleep environment is cool and comfortable by ventilating your room and using a fan or air-conditioning. 

If pain due to arthritis flare-ups is coming between you and a good night's sleep, taking a hot bath, using a heating pad, doing a gentle yoga sequence or following a guided meditation, are some methods to relax into sleep and soothe your muscles and joints.  

You can also try these 10 tips to get a better night's sleep

Stay hydrated 

Sometimes the solution is as simple as drinking enough water. Dehydration can be especially dangerous during the summer months, leading to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.  

Most people overestimate how much water they drink and wait until they are thirsty.  Keeping a reusable water bottle handy, tracking how much water you drink daily and setting a hydration goal will make you more aware of your water consumption. 

Take care of your mental health 

Physical and mental health are connected. For a long time, the mind and body were treated separately. Scientific evidence now shows how interrelated they are; this means our thoughts and emotions impact our physical health and vice versa. 

It is no wonder that people with arthritis are twice as likely to report mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Engaging in activities that support your mental well-being, such as meditation, exercise and incorporating fun into your everyday life, can reduce fatigue and boost overall health.  

Coping alone with the pain and fatigue of arthritis is distressing, and connecting with others and sharing your experience can help you find a sense of belonging.  Our Arthritis Connections program brings people together to share their experiences with arthritis.  

If you are struggling with severe depression and anxiety and are thinking about harming yourself, it is vital to speak to your doctor, who can offer a personalized treatment plan.

Arthritis can cast a shadow on the brightest of summer days. Learning about your arthritis is the first step. Simple modifications to your routine impact your energy levels, and knowing what works for your body is empowering.