Hacks for an Easier Morning Routine

Hacks for an Easier Morning Routine

As most patients with an autoimmune condition know, some days are going to be more challenging than others. For many, a challenging day begins with a painful, stiff morning that can make it difficult to face a normal routine. Unfortunately, there is often no option to opt out of responsibilities on such days. For those facing a difficult day with no way around facing it, here are some morning routine hacks that may help with low energy or stiff joints.

Challenge 1: Getting Out of Bed

1. Using compression gloves and socks while you are sleeping can assist in reducing swelling by improving circulation and helping to keep joints warm. Many patients find their joints more flexible when using such products. An added benefit is that they’re readily available and affordable.

2. Using a heated blanket for a few minutes before getting up can have similar effect. Heat therapy is a long-standing technique used to treat the symptoms of arthritis. Heat causes blood vessels to dilate which increases the amount of oxygen and nutrients able to reach the joints.

3. Develop a stretching routine that you can do while lying in bed. Gentle stretches can help warm up the joints and reduce stiffness.

4. If you rely on morning medication that has a delay before you feel the effects, it can be worthwhile to set an early alarm, take your medication, and snooze until you have to get up. This gives your medication time to kick in before you are required to do anything physical.

Challenge 2: Showering and Cleansing

5. Automatic liquid dispensers are something we come across often when using a public restroom, but have you considered using these at home? Hands free dispensers can be used for facial wash, soap, shampoo and conditioner. This can eliminate the struggle of picking up heavy bottle and wrestling with caps, which can be extra difficult when your stiff hands are also wet.

6. Tools such as a cleansing brush or loofah on a longer handle can give you more control and aid getting to hard to reach places when you can’t bend or stretch as much on bad days.

Challenge 3: Getting the Look You Want

For many of us, our clothes and makeup form part of our identity and impact our self-esteem, which can take a knock after being diagnosed with a chronic illness. Therefore, instead of ditching your beauty routine, these tips can help to streamline and simplify the process so it doesn’t intensify fatigue or add to frustrations associated with chronic illness.

7.Prep your skin with CBD infused moisturizer. The active ingredient cannabidiol is one of the biggest trends in products geared towards arthritis treatment. Many arthritis patients have reported decreased joint pain and stiffness when using a CBD infused moisturizer.

8. Add rubber or silicone grips to the tools you use frequently, such as brushes. This can make these tools easier to hold when your grip isn’t quite as strong. A rubber jar opener can help to open small caps and tops when twisting them off seems impossible with stiff fingers.

9. Consider products that fulfil more than one purpose. A bb cream can be great – combing sunscreen, moisturizer, and coverage into one step. Lower maintenance and faster application mean an energy saving that can then be used to complete other tasks.

10. Washing and blow drying your hair often take up the most time and energy in your routine. To limit how often you have to do this, ask your stylist for a low maintenance cut that requires minimal daily styling. Invest in a really good dry shampoo, this can buy you a couple of extras days before you have to go through the process again.

Challenge 4: Getting Dressed

11. Invest in an arthritis or chronic illness friendly wardrobe. Avoid pieces with multiple small buttons, or pieces that can feel too tight when joints are swollen. A one piece such as a dress or jumpsuit can be easier than a look, such as a suit, which uses multiple items. Go for fabrics or textiles that have some stretch. Leather shoes can be great as they’ll have some give on days when your feet are swollen.

12. Get yourself a dressing tool or two. An extended hook can be wonderful when your fingers simply won’t co-operate with gripping the zipper pull. Can’t bend over to put your shoes on? Nothing wrong with a good old fashioned shoe horn!

13. Shoes can pose a unique challenge to those with stiff joints with bending over and laces to pull and tie, so consider options that don’t require this. Shoes such as ballet flats or pumps that can simply be slipped on can be your best friend on these days. After all, you still want to put your best foot forward!

Read next month’s edition for more hacks on getting you out the door with minimal effort and energy expenditure once you’re up and dressed.

ANRF
Article Author
Arthritis National Research Foundation
arthritisresearch@curearthritis.org

The Arthritis National Research Foundation's mission is to provide initial research funding to brilliant, investigative scientists with new ideas to cure arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. Writing articles about the patients affected and the science being done to find a cure shows why we need to come together to #CureArthritis!

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