How Do You Overcome an RA “Activity Hangover”?

How Do You Overcome an RA “Activity Hangover”?

Most of us have experienced an “activity hangover” at some point in our life. It happens when we just simply overexert ourselves and pay for it later. This end result is even more difficult when you’re living with a chronic condition, like RA. For some, the activity hangover can be one of the most frustrating aspects of living with RA. One day you overdo it, and the next day you are faced with increased pain, inflammation, and fatigue. With the holiday season just behind us, everyone of us may have see an increase in activity hangovers with more to do, whether it’s more shopping, more family gatherings, more baking, or more social events, everyone’s to do list is just a little bit longer. As wonderful as this time of year is, it can be exhausting and draining. We asked our community members how they best deal with activity hangovers and the feedback was overwhelming. We wanted to share some of the wonderful responses and tips!


Many of our community members suggested asking friends or family members for help with chores, shopping, and more. Some even suggested utilizing new services to get important tasks done.
“I had no idea that grocery stores will do your shopping for you!”
“Many of the grocery stores are delivering. That's one less activity to be hung over from.”
“Kroger click list is AWESOME!!!”
“I learned not to offer to host anything alone because the price I have to pay afterwards is too much for me to handle.”
“Delegate activities and chores!”

Get plenty of rest

Sleep and rest are critical for our bodies to function the best they can. It’s the time our body replenishes itself, both physically and mentally. Many of our members reported that getting enough quality rest can make a difference.
“I try to have a day completely off after any function or trip to rest, or even an outing that lasts longer than a few hours.”
“The only way I can deal with an activity hangover is to get on my bed with lots of pillows, feet up and wait for the pain to subside.”
“I’m going through an activity hangover right now. I am vegging with heat on my feet and blankets and sweats.”
“As hard as it is, take lots of time to rest. I am very selfish about that now. When I am tired I stop doing things for everyone.”
“Sleep is my best medicine and of course prednisone, haha!”
“I'm on day two of what is probably an activity hangover. Been laying low and resting all day,
There is really no other way to deal with this other than resting. I deal with this by doing a few things then sitting and resting for a while.”
“An activity hangover for me usually requires a day or two of complete rest.”
“Rest and a great movie!”
“Rest, rest and rest again.”
“When I've overdone it, and am paying for it the next day, I claim a PJ day, take it easy, drink lots of fluids, do some PT stretches, and read or write. Sleep abounds on these days, and heat, either through a hot bath or my heated mattress pad helps.”

Take it slow and take it easy

Trying to do too many things at once and running yourself ragged can cause high levels of stress, which many say can greatly affect their RA. Finding a new normal, and reminding yourself to slow down are all tips our members shared when it comes to taking these easy.
“Do what you can when you can, and just try to be good to yourself.”
“The key for me has been to always drink lots of water and pace myself.”
“I have to find my new normal.”
“Walked without a cane for two days, played piano, danced to uptown my knees are killing me and my hands have tiny pins and needles. Moral of the story: even when you feel better, take it easy and let your body adjust…don’t overdo it.”
“It took a while for me to manage the ‘hangover’. Really listen to your body. Every activity is planned for its consequences. It takes a while to learn your limits. Pass on things you need to.”
“I felt bad but I had to limit my activities and had to learn to pace myself, naps, and sit-down breaks.”


Some members shared that they try to ease their tense muscles and joints during an activity hangover by stretching them. Also, exercising can help you reduce stress, feel calmer, and may even lead to higher energy levels. It’s important to remember to pace yourself though, and to remember that not all exercise has to be intense or strenuous!
“If you don't move your joints you hurt, but if you move too much in the wrong way you hurt. Try building up my exercise program.”
“I've got a routine of walk a day then the next day is stretches only with a full day of rest in between those. It gets me the exercise I need and the activity hangover to a minimum!!”
“I exercise by doing easy aerobics. Motion is lotion for the joints. Some days I can swim and some I can't. I just do my best.”
Yoga and meditation helps me.”
“Yoga and meditation has been my go to. It keeps me more limber, and the meditation techniques have taught me how to deal with my pain. I use it to compartmentalize my pain and breathe through it. Even yoga stretches can better your day.”

It’s quite clear from these great responses that activity hangovers can be extremely overwhelming. We are so grateful for the incredible feedback from our community members on how they get through these difficult times. Let us know what helps you get through your activity hangovers or if there’s any tips we’ve missed!

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