Ironically, I’ve been working on this post for months now because lately when I find a moment to write, I’ve been too exhausted to think. One of the lesser known side effects of psoriasis is fatigue. According to the NPF, there are a number of factors involved, one of the most important being the underlying inflammation. “A flare can trigger some changes in the body, leading to a release of certain chemicals that promote inflammation.” Fatigue is also a side effect of having two, adorable children under the age of two. Throw in a busy full-time job, pumping to meet the insatiable hunger of my 7 month old, a new hour and a half commute from Princeton NJ to NYC, how could anyone NOT be exhausted all the time?
I recently read an article about combatting fatigue and one of the suggestions was to aim to get at least 8 hours a night. For me, by the time we get the girls down (and then down again after they wake up), get the bottles labeled and packed for daycare, finish whatever work didn’t get finished in the mad dash to get the train to make it home before daycare closes and I’ve pumped for the one millionth time that day, there’s usually about 4-5 hours between bedtime and when my alarm goes off in the morning. So for me, eight hours of sleep is a foreign concept but if you’re able to do it, I highly encourage you to give it a try.
But it got me thinking that there have to be other ways to help fight through the “down to the core” exhaustion. Here’s a few that I am trying to incorporate into my life:
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
The waking up at the same time part is easier for me, since I have a pretty tight morning schedule in order to sometimes get out of the house on time. In order to start going to bed at the same time, I set an alarm to remind me to start getting settled down for the night. A bedtime routine with psoriasis takes a little longer than most, so an alarm gives me a gentle reminder to get my process started.
Determine when you have the most energy in the day and plan your more vigorous activities for that timeframe.
For me, this means mental activities as well as any physical. Lately it seems that my brain functions better earlier in the day, so I try to plan priority tasks for morning and early afternoon.
Listen to your body and take breaks.
Personally this is a hard one and I have a hard time cutting myself some slack to take breaks. I recently took a week off for a Staycation to finally finish unpacking the house and get some stuff done, but I found myself getting anxious when I wasn’t working on a task from the To Do List. I had to keep reminding myself that this was also a vacation and needed to do some relaxing as well!
Benefits of meditation can include clearing the mind and slowing down your thoughts which can help mental clarity and help you focus when starting to feel tired. Meditating before bedtime can also help you sleep better and that good night’s sleep helps your body fight inflammation.
Even a little exercise has been proven to help give you more energy. Finding time to exercise is one of the biggest challenges for me. I started incorporating some toning moves into my every day habits, such as doing squats while brushing my teeth or combing Reece’s hair, doing calf lifts while I’m at the printer waiting for my documents, using Reece as a kettle ball (don’t worry Mom, I’m careful and she loves it!) and always taking the stairs on my commute.
Lay off the caffeine and sugar for a pick me up.
Sticking to one cup of coffee is a challenge for me, but its also beneficial to my milk flow if I turn that afternoon cup into an extra glass or two of water. Consuming caffeine later in the day may be a reason why you’re not sleeping well, as it can stay in your body for up to 6 hours. Sugar might also give you a quick jolt of energy but shortly after you’re looking at a crash. A healthy snack high in protein is a better alternative, keeping you full and an energy boost.