Understanding your fatigue …… and what you can do about it!

Feeling tired is something we are all familiar with. It can occur at the end of a busy day or after extensive exercise. It can happen after a run of late nights or after a stressful situation.

But what if you are tired all the time? Fatigue that lingers and is still present after a good night’s sleep needs to be looked at. It can occur as a result of a sleep disorder, or  a medical condition such as anaemia and can creep up on you over a period of time. Often we just keep going until we suddenly realise that we are tired all the time and have been so for ages.

You can also be chronically fatigued without having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The latter requires that you have certain symptoms before you are diagnosed. These include the obvious, fatigue, as well as unrefreshing sleep, impaired memory and concentration, exhaustion after exercise, joint pain, muscle pain, headaches and tender lymph glands. Always seek medical advice if you are always tired. It may be from a metabolic disorder such as a thyroid problem or an infection such as glandular fever and needs to be treated appropriately.

Another form of fatigue is Adrenal Fatigue. Although it is not recognised by many conventional doctors, those who work in Integrative medicine certainly recognise and treat it. It has been described as the 21st century syndrome. Our adrenal glands produce adrenaline and cortisol as part of our ‘flight or fight’ response to danger or stress. This enables the body to respond quickly, at times when we are under extreme stress or in danger. However if we are always on alert or in this ‘flight or fight’ mode, our adrenal glands end up exhausted. Left untreated, this can affect every organ and system in your body.

Now this all sounds very dramatic and obviously any persistent symptom of fatigue needs to be investigated. In the meantime however, what can you do, yourself to help alleviate your constant tiredness?

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Try going to bed earlier and stick to a routine. If you are fatigued, make an effort to be in bed by 10pm most nights. Make sure your bedroom is dark without any distracting lights from tv’s, computers or clock radios. Try and switch off from all devices 30 to 60 minutes before going to bed as their bright lights effect your melatonin levels, (the hormone responsible for our sleep cycle).

2. Drink plenty of water during the day. Every cell in your body needs water to survive and often fatigue can be attributed to dehydration. Keep a water bottle with you even when you are at home. I find that I drink the most water when I am sitting at the computer with a glass at hand.

3. Eat a healthy diet and include vegetables, good fats such as avocado, coconut oil and some protein into your meals. Don’t skip meals as this plays havoc with your insulin levels. Breakfast is especially an important meal as it should carry you through to lunchtime without the need for snacks. Include a cereal such as oats, homemade muesli or buckwheat with berries rather than a piece of toast.

4. Do regular meditation even if it’s 5 or 10 minutes. Numerous studies have shown the benefits of meditation in reducing stress and increasing your energy. It also gives you a mini power nap, as you switch off from everything.

5. Exercise every day. This may sound counter-intuitive if you are feeling tired, but even a short walk boosts your circulation, decreases stress and increases the release of those ‘feel good’ hormones.

6. Start implementing some boundaries into your life. Learn to say NO if something wears you out or you’re not happy doing it. Many cases of fatigue occur due to burnout or overwhelm. If we are always saying Yes to everyone else, we leave little time for our own needs or energy. Put boundaries in around your time and don’t always be available for everyone. You deserve some space too.

7. Ask for help. We don’t need to do everything on our own. Who actually benefits from this? It’s good to teach your children how to help out around the house and it’s so important for their own growth and learning. They need to respect you and your time, so be a good example for them. Let go of some of that control. Ask for help in cleaning and preparing meals. Yes it may not be done the way you do it, but does it really matter. I was in the same position and felt I had to ‘run’ the house. This only led to resentment and exhaustion. I now ask for help and accept that even though the dishwasher isn’t stacked like I would do it or the house isn’t vacuumed perfectly in my eyes, it doesn’t really matter.

8. Have regular treatments such as Reflexology to reduce stress. As previously mentioned, stress plays a huge part in whether we have energy or feel fatigued.

Learn to recognise your fatigue. If there isn’t an obvious reason for it, such as a very late night, then have it investigated. If your conventional doctor dismisses it, see an integrative one. There is always a reason why you are tired!

It’s your health and your life. You deserve to have the very best of both!

 

With warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

 

Ps. Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

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References: www.medicinenet.com/fatigue/articles, www.adrenalfatigue.org, photo from Pixabay.com

Disclaimer: Please note that all information in this article is the opinion of the author and obtained through her research and knowledge and the above references. It is not meant to replace medical advice and a medical opinion should always be obtained for any health condition.