As I finished vacuuming the upstairs and headed into the laundry room to fold clothes, my husband grabbed a basket of socks* and headed downstairs. He grinned as he quipped, “Got any more naps planned for today?”
Make breakfast, take a nap. Clean the kitchen, take a nap. Vacuum and fold laundry. Prepare the noon meal, and yes, take another nap.
It’s not that I planned it that way. Some days, though, I’m just so exhausted that sitting down automatically means that I fall asleep.
Fatigue was probably one of my first autoimmune symptoms. It went unrecognized, though. I had four babies in five years, and a fifth a few years later. I chased little kids all day. Who wouldn’t be tired? Somehow I had the idea that things would get better when the kids got older – when life got less labor-intensive during the daytime, and I’d be able to sleep all night.
I was wrong. At some point, the fatigue wasn’t just a normal part of having a houseful of little kids. Fatigue can indicate a problem. I never talked to my doctor about fatigue, but once my RA was diagnosed and treated, I found that I had more energy than I’d had in years.
When everything is well controlled, I can go like the Energizer Bunny. When things aren’t quite as well controlled, it’s more like my battery is about to die.
I’ve learned to pace myself. A task that requires moving around can be followed by something that can be done sitting down. Spacing the different types of jobs throughout the day, alternating periods of activity with periods of rest, allows me to get more done than if I push through all the demanding tasks and collapse before the end of the day. When needed, I take a short nap.
Perhaps I should have been a cat.
*I don’t fold socks. They all get tossed into a single basket after they’ve been laundered, and everyone is responsible for finding & folding their own socks.