Rest and relaxation
Getting enough sleep is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for those with RA. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep every night. Taking a nap during the afternoon, if you don’t get enough sleep at night, can also help.
If your sleep is being negatively affected because you’re feeling overly stressed, guided imagery, deep breathing exercises, and muscle relaxation exercises can help you relax. Hypnosis, meditation, and massage may also help ease stress and tension.
If you’re dealing with insomnia, make sure to talk with your doctor, but also try one of these smartphone apps to help you get to sleep faster at night. If you think you may suffer from sleep apnea, talk to your doctor for diagnosis and a treatment plan
Regular exercise is a great way to fight fatigue, strengthen muscles, and increase joint range of motion. Gentle stretching, walking, swimming, and water aerobics are usually good low-impact choices. Avoid high-impact sports and take it easy when joints are tender or severely inflamed.
If necessary, ask your doctor to recommend exercises. A physical therapist can also show you the proper way to exercise on your own.
Tai chi is a Chinese martial art that combines slow, gentle movements with awareness and deep breathing. It exercises the mind, body, and spirit. One study suggests that tai chi may improve function in those with RA.
Make sure you take lessons from a knowledgeable instructor, and don’t perform moves that make your pain worse.