Waking Up is Hard to Do
Open eyes? Check.
Stare at the ceiling for five minutes? Check.
Make sure pets are still alive? Triple check.
Consider everything I have to do that day? Yup.
Try to get out of bed? Nope, not yet.
Blink a few times.
Waking up with RA
Now comes the hard part: actually moving my body. I don't even attempt it in the first 15 minutes I’m awake because I know it’s a futile effort. If you have rheumatoid arthritis/disease, you know what I mean. Mornings are hard!
Probably harder than any other time of day because we’ve just spent somewhere between 3 to 8 hours laying down (theoretically in the same position, but we know that’s not possible) and now we’re meant to move our stiff, swollen bodies out of a laying position to a sitting or standing one? Yeah right. Good luck to us.
Really, in the morning, the only thing I’m good for is blinking my eyelids. I can’t move my fingers, let alone my arms, shoulders or hips. I don’t know if I need help getting out of bed because I haven’t even attempted the first move.
Tips to improve your morning
But, I do have some tips and tricks I use to make the morning more manageable. Note I say “manageable” not great, or even better; because my main goal is to just get out of bed.
Slow head rotations
After I blink a few times and stare at the ceiling for a while I rotate my head to the left. I check for spiders on the wall. (Side story: there are two spiders that live behind my bookshelf. We have come to an agreement that as long as they stay out of view during the day – I am deathly afraid of spiders – they can come out whenever the lights are off. Every so often when I wake up super early they are still out and about but they quickly scurry back to their corners). I then rotate my head the other way. I do this maybe 5-10 times depending on how stiff my neck feels before I move on to snow angels.
Snow... or sheet angels
Yes, you read that right. I said snow angels! Well, more like sheet angels. I literally just make the movements I would make for snow angels and loosen up my arms and legs a bit. I play this by ear because some days I am not as capable of doing those motions.
I swing the comforter or blanket off me and onto the cats who also need a little push to wake up. I swing my legs over the side of the bed while bringing my torso and upper half as well. As my physical therapist says, make sure my torso is straight and always sit up like a see-saw. As your legs come down, your upper half goes up. Gravity is your friend!
Continue to stretch
A few more stretches follow. I raise my arms up to my ears. I never push myself too much at this stage because I just want to stand up. I kick my legs out a few times (the same motion that happens when your doctor checks your reflexes) and slowly bring my feet square with the floor.
I slowly hinge my hips and stand up. On my bad days I use my bed, bedside cabinet or even a walker to help me straighten out.
Honestly once I’m up and walking a few paces everything “thaws” and I’m ready for my day.
Waking up is hard to do but you know what really gets me out of bed? Coffee. You thought I was going to say my pets, right? No! They are even worse at waking up than me and wait until I’m done in the bathroom before they even open their eyes.
Coffee. I make the best coffee but unfortunately, the machine is in the kitchen and somehow, some way I need to get there!
What tips do you use to get out of bed? Let me know in the comments!
What strategy to fight fatigue is most effective for you?