Do you feel tired all the time? Lack of sleep is not necessarily always the reason behind feeling sluggish throughout the day. By the same token, despite being a common first thought, a cup of coffee is not always the best way to fix it!
There are many culprits behind physical exhaustion. The good news is that there are also several ways in which you can combat fatigue. And some of them might not be as obvious as you think.
Take a good look at your daily habits
The obvious reason behind feeling tired is a lack of sleep. However, when asking yourself why you may feel tired, also look at other factors such as your biology, your daily routine, including what you eat, drink, how often you exercise and at what times of day. Are you particularly stressed, more than usual? Do you get outside every day, and not just to walk from your car into another building? All of these can be contributing to your lethargy. Let’s look at all of these factors, and some solutions, in more detail:
Manage your stress
We all suffer from stress, in varying degrees, and in many cases, that stress can become a chronic problem. And while our bodies are physically capable of releasing hormones in response to stress, if you pump out those hormones for an extended period of time, your health can become seriously affected. There are natural herbs that you can take to help support this increased demand on your system, such as Siberian ginseng, which can help to support the adrenal glands responsible for combating stress. There are also ways in which you can give your mind a break from the stress that is wearing you down. Men, typically, use fewer strategies to ward off stress and studies show that only half of men believe managing stress is important for overall health, whereas two thirds of women consider fighting against stress a priority for their health and therefore use a wider variety of strategies to keep stress under control. These combat mechanisms include reading, having a massage or pedicure, visiting a loved one or seeing a mental health professional and getting organized. It is important to recognize that stress has a direct impact on our health and energy levels. Without taking a break or using distractions to divert the effects of stress, you will eventually feel very drained, unmotivated and unhappy.
Far too often, when you feel your reserves of energy are lacking, you reach for food as fuel. But drinking water can be just as important, if not more so, when it comes to returning a natural balance to your body. Your body constantly uses water throughout the day, for physical function and brain function. Dehydration can cause headaches, muscle aches, irregular heartbeat and lethargy which can sometimes lead to more serious health problems. It is vital, for both men and women, to drink water regularly throughout the day. This can include green tea and soups for variety, but drinking water is always the best way to rehydrate your body when you are mildly dehydrated (for more serious medical situations, consult your doctor on how best to rehydrate your body).
Studies show that we are happier, overall, with longer daylight hours. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression and affects people during the winter months, when the days are short and cold and it is more difficult to get outdoors. Symptoms of SAD include insomnia, irritability and tiredness. Women are at higher risk for SAD than men. Natural treatment for this form of depression includes exposure to bright light every day. So whenever possible, get outside! Fresh air and sunlight are some of the most natural ways in which you can boost your energy levels. Go for a walk and remember to breathe deeply. That fresh oxygen will help to invigorate your body, as well as your mental state, and the sunshine is the best source of vitamin D, another natural mood booster (remember your sunscreen!).
Utilize essential oils
Essential oils are a healthy and organic way to give your energy a boost. In particular, peppermint, citrus, ginger and eucalyptus are excellent choices for increasing feelings of wakefulness. Essential oils can be applied directly to the skin, such as on the temples or on the back of your neck, can be added to a bath or used with a diffuser in a room in your home or office. Essential oils have been proven to help reduce fatigue and are a natural way to invigorate your senses and help you to feel more alert.
Get better quality sleep
The leading, and most obvious, culprit to feeling tired is a lack of sleep. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you aren’t getting enough hours of sleep but that the quality of your sleep may be lacking. Some people have problems falling asleep, others have problems staying asleep, and most people feel like they have not had enough sleep. Sleep apnea and insomnia are also sleep conditions but are more serious and should be addressed with your medial professional. There are many things you can try in an attempt to improve your quality of sleep, such as sticking to a sleep schedule, creating a bedtime routine, being mindful of what you eat and drink before bed and at what time you have your last meal, ensure you are exercising well before bedtime and minimizing screen time before bed. Read a list of tips to ensure better sleep on our Wellness Blog here.
Improve your daily diet
Learn how to eat for your health. Amidst your busy day, it is far too easy to reach for processed, pre-packaged foods in a hurry. But those foods have little, if any, nutritional energy and are not fueling your body in the way that food should. In fact, processed foods will only leave you feeling more tired. Dietary imbalances, caused by a lack of variety of food in your daily diet, lead to nutrient deficiencies. Women, for example, are more likely to suffer from an iron deficiency than men. Take the time to learn about nutrients and minerals that improve your health, energy and overall vitality. Your body needs B-complex vitamins and magnesium to produce energy. Do you know whether you are getting enough? Carbohydrates can send your blood sugar crashing if you don’t know the best times of day to eat carbs and what alternatives to offer your body. Food can be used to combat feelings of lethargy and can help to increase your alertness and better your mood through the day. Eat as many whole foods as you can, instead of processed options, and learn how to fuel your body with food. Your health and vitality will thank you!
While a good, long workout will leave you feeling tired, exercising on a regular basis will actually help to improve your overall energy levels throughout the day, as well as to help you get better sleep. Society is becoming increasingly sedentary and we are moving less often throughout the day. Exercising regularly not only makes you feel better about yourself and your health, but it helps to restore oxygen flow to your cells, improves blood sugar levels, supports hormone balance and helps to combat stress. The endorphins that your body releases during a workout make you feel good! If you feel that you don’t have time to exercise regularly, try simple ways to move more, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther away from the entrance, doing stationary exercises during the commercial breaks of your favorite show … there are many ways to incorporate moving more into our daily lives. You can find some tips on how to move more on our Wellness Blog here.
You have no excuse when it comes to fitting in fitness!