My Activity Hangover

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.

Nan

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (11)
  • GrammieSue
    2 weeks ago

    You all have described my last week. I shuttered and hesitated to call the Rheumy on Monday, but had no choice. I knew he’d change my methotrexate to something else: Leflunomide. Just took a first dose (also started pred. For this newest flare). I am nervous about the side effects, but am also sick of being sick after about a month after my prednisone treatment.
    My boyfriend is extremely concerned and is not happy with my flare ups or the new meds. It is so hard to try and explain things to him, without him asking a thousand questions. And the worst part is missing work (teaching) every now and then, even though I am retiring from over 40 yrs. in June. I would appreciate any suggestions in how to explain to my guy and others who are opinionated, that I am trying to deal with this the best I can. My best to you all.

  • Lyn Burnstine
    2 weeks ago

    Hi, Nan, I could have written this post, with the difference that I am now nearly 86, with 62 years of RA under my belt, so I suppose I would have slowed down even without the RA. My activities that totally exhaust me are so tame compared to yours, but the results are the same. Dancing? Probably 30 years ago! I walk slowly, only on a walker, and am dependent on others for rides and home-care, but I still sing at open mics 3-4 times a month, sing with a choral group, lead 1 writing group, and attend a 2nd one, take 1000’s of photos that I post on FB, and my friends think I’m the Energizer Bunny! They have no idea the price I pay, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Slow down? I wouldn’t have had the incredible life I’ve had! WE don’t have a choice–we play; we pay! Good luck with finding the balance you ae happy with.

  • Patricia Darstein
    2 weeks ago

    You inspire me and I thank you for your post. I am 52 and fear my years are limited. Seeing that you are 85 and still managing RA I want to know your secret. You are amazing!!

  • swoocher
    2 weeks ago

    You have described my experience to a t. It’s becomming harder and harder to travel. It just wipes me out for days. I have both RA and fibro, and therefore I’m exhausted all most all the time. I would love to hear about some coping mechanisms people use, especially during the holidays. It can be very depressing to anticipate the aches and pains which are coming.

  • MaryB
    2 weeks ago

    Since i was diagnosed with RA I’ve found I have to try to plan my “activity” days. Meaning, if I have something I want to do let’s say on Wed., then Mon and Tues are nothing days. Even then sometimes it does not work. What helps is reading these comments and knowing that I’m not alone with this stuff. Thank you all for sharing as it really does help. Bless you all.

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips
    3 weeks ago

    Nan, I am used to food hangovers. High Carbohydrates, equal high Blood sugar = feeling awful.

    Like you I am often told the practical cures, when in reality there is only one cure, dont overeat. Well sometimes people overeat, and sometimes they travel, visit, and have a travel hangover. Thank god we have routine and the wonderful things that can break it.

  • Casmere
    3 weeks ago

    Nan, I understand fully what you are talking about. I have RA, Fibro and PMR. I recently was away for the weekend for a family funeral. My time in a car was a lot less then yours but I still feel the effects. Doing things you don’t normally do, out and socializing with family you haven’t seen for ages. After I am home I was exhausted and pain worse then before but by the Friday I started in a fibro flare. On Saturday I forced myself to go out for some shopping for a Christmas gift box for a child in need through the Samaritan house. The box had to be ready and dropped off on the Sunday. So I am worse with my fibro fog. My PSW came in Monday had to wake me up which was fine but when she came in Tuesday I just needed to stay in bed and sleep. I never do this. I am still suffering effects and hoping I am clear for Thursday am as I have a Rheumatologist appointnent. I have covered myself just in case and arranged my son-in-law to take me if rewuired. Today I think I will need him to do so.

    All my best to you and everyone struggling our lives these effects from RA FIBRO PMR and other disorders that are Autoimmune.

    Carol

  • MaryB
    2 weeks ago

    All of this is so familiar. Luckily, I have a doctor who tells me that he is glad if I’m having a good day, but to remember that I will have bad days and to do my best to work through them.

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator
    3 weeks ago

    Hey Carol! (@casmere) Thanks so much for commenting and reaching out. I’m sorry you’re experiencing an activity hangover too but it sounds like you had a couple of fun things lined up!

    I hope you feel well by Thursday! All the best and I’ll be thinking of you! ~Monica

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator
    3 weeks ago

    @casmere Hi Carol! Thank you so much for your kind words. I really appreciate them!! I am glad you like my articles. It makes me feel really happy that others relate to them and enjoy them.

    I am glad you had a good Thursday. It sounds like you were going going going. It makes me quite tired just thinking about it!

    I’m happy you were able to work in the field you wanted! I don’t think I will give up on working with animals but now I just have to be a little creative in how to do so.

    Thanks again for commenting and sharing! I hope you have a good weekend!! ~Monica

  • Casmere
    3 weeks ago

    Thank you Monica,

    I did have my son-in-law take me. It’s about a 40 min. drive there in good weather so easiter on me. It turn out to be a very productive morning. We did a few other stops after and I ended up with 7 Christmas presents bought. Mind you 5 are gift cards. I was quite fatigued so relied on my walker/rolllator. And did stop for lunch in there.

    I read all your stories, they are quite commical sometimes and I really enjoy them. The one about what you wanted to be when you grew up. I pondered on that as to what sort of reply I could make. I was diagnosed with RA when I was 16. I really can’t remember any real career I was going for other then accounting which I did end up doing for probably 15 years. After I was married had 3 children (stay at home mom for most of the time) till they were in school fulltime. Then I got out into working world.

    I’ve gone off track here.

    Anyway, thank you for your comments and all the best to you and I will be thinking of you to Monica. I hope you are doing well.

    Carol

  • Poll