My Activity Hangover

So, I am still recovering from what I consider an “activity hangover”.  By that, I mean that place of insane fatigue, body aches, brain fog, and joint pain.  All, as a result of doing more than I routinely do.  What is especially aggravating about this is that I knew it was going to happen and yet, even 20+ years into RA, I still did it!  I struggle with how to come to terms with this without altering my life in a way I simply do not want to give into.

A delayed response to too much activity

The last two weekends have been filled with wonderful family events I would not change, miss or alter one bit.  The total amount of driving for these two amazing experiences was about 24 hours total.  That, in itself, was over the top.  That said, I shared a lot of the driving with my husband so that certainly helped but just being in a car for that length of time wreaks havoc on my body.  We get out and stretch often enough, but it is later that I feel the effects.  My body, and this is often the case with those of us with RA, expresses its opinion of my activities the next day or even the day after by giving me muscle and joint pain.  Add to that the changes in how we move through our day while away.  I carry items I have not business lifting.  I go up and down the stairs, I am not used to.  I do a lot more movements (dancing at a wedding for instance) that my body is not accustomed to.

And then there is the lack of exercise.

When away, I often do not have access to a pool to do my exercises and trying to find a place to do Tai Chi or meditation in a busy hotel or a home filled with guests is difficult, to say the least.  I can sometimes find a way but, more often than not, exercise takes a vacation when I do.

Eating and drinking.

Well, I do way more of that, and not the good kind when I am away.  I often justify it by saying it is a “treat” which is true.  But my body may not see it that way when I pack on some extra weight that I now must try to get rid of when I get back home.  The joy is fleeting while the effects linger.

Often the night I get to where we are headed, I do not sleep well.  By extension, the fatigue that accompanies traveling lingers well after the trip.  I wonder how much of this is related to the change in routine.  My sleep pattern is so erratic anyway, that the slightest disruption just adds to the inability to sleep well and restfully.  We tend to stay up later, get up earlier, etc. all of which add to the fatigue factor.   Then, when I get back home I am often so exhausted, that I do not rest well for a couple of nights, thus exacerbating the activity hangover effects.

I guess the only thing I can try to do each time I travel or do more than normal is to plan ahead and do my best to slow the pace whenever and wherever possible.  Maybe add a day to the trip.  Get to bed a little earlier and get up a little later to get that rest I need.  Eat and drink a little more thoughtfully.  Try to arrange some form of exercise by seeking, in advance, a place to swim and practice my Tai Chi and meditation.   I will try that next time, which is coming up shortly and them maybe the activity hangover will be a thing of the past and not the future.


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