To Rest or Not to Rest, That Is the Question
You may have noticed my less than subtle nod to the words of Shakespeare in the title. But sadly, beyond my love for Shakespeare, I think this says so much more.
If you’ve lived with psoriatic arthritis for any length of time, then you know that your body is quite a tricky little devil. What you once thought was up, is now down and things you thought you had figured out can all change with one bad day.
So it is also the case with allowing your body to rest. We never can tell if we need to rest or not to rest. That will always be the question.
The importance of rest with psoriatic arthritis
Have you ever been in a situation where you find yourself faced with a tough choice: to go somewhere or stay home? Sure, you’ve learned your lesson a time or two about how you need to listen to your body. Still, you find yourself unsure of what it needs. You know that no matter what you choose, you would have in fact needed the exact opposite choice.
For example, I had the opportunity to go out to dinner with some friends. I thought yes, I think I need to get out of the house and give my body some movement (and a bit of a break from my kiddos, but that is a whole other story!). Boy, was I wrong! That simple bad decision, to go out instead of rest, landed me in a flare jail for nearly a week. It is a very real problem to know exactly what your body needs and when it actually needs it.
Keep moving or rest?
To be certain, many studies have shown that keeping your body moving is beneficial when you live with psoriatic arthritis. And in many cases that is true. If you sit too long or stay in one position for more than 10 minutes then everything locks up and your body will rebel against you.
Giving your body regular and consistent movement does help keep some of the stiffness and pain away. In fact, I have noticed a world of difference in my overall stiffness and flexibility since I started simple, yes, very simple yoga stretches for psoriatic arthritis.
The wisdom that comes with psoriatic arthritis
But at the same time, we as patients know from our hard-fought life experience that movement is not the answer. We’ve pushed ourselves too far, ignored our body’s signals to rest and paid the very heavy price of a week in bed for our poor judgment.
Either way, I suppose when it comes down to it, there really is no way to know for sure. At least not one that I’ve found yet. For most of us, myself included, our body sends so many mixed signals that we never really know what to choose. I tend to ask myself questions like, "when was the last time I rested?" or "what else do I have going on that day?" But when it really comes down to it, drinking a hot cup of tea and reading the leftover leaves would probably be equally successful.
At the end of the day, only you can make the call on what to do. Even then, with all of your personal experience with psoriatic arthritis, you will still only have a 50/50 shot at making the right choice. And may the odds be ever in your favor.
Do you struggle with insomnia?