Fatigue isn’t a disease. It doesn’t show up on diagnostics tests and can’t be cured with drugs. Fatigue is a symptom of a fatigue-causing lifestyle, in particular, a nutrition style that overloads our bodies with low-quality fuel.
All to often it’s a case of too much to do and not enough time to do it in. But often the true culprits are our everyday habits: what we eat, how we sleep, and how we cope emotionally.
However, if you are eating well, getting enough rest, taking supplements and your stress levels are low, you should probably consult a doctor as fatigue is a common symptom of many illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, anemia, thyroid disease, and sleep apnea.
Mitochondria are the power-house, energy factories of our cells. They need toxin-free environments and enough fuel to to function effectively in the process of cellular respiration.
Cellular Respiration requires glucose and oxygen to be metabolised to release energy with carbon dioxide and water as by-products. (6H12O6 (s) + 6 O2 (g) → 6 CO2 (g) + 6 H2O (l) + energy). This involves breathing for oxygen, eating for glucose, drinking for breaking down what you eat and to transport the goodies through your blood. Here’s how you can adjust your habits to help make this function more efficient.
The last thing you may feel like doing when you’re tired is exercising. If your body is already depleted, aerobic exercise can leave you more tired. If this is the case, start with more restful exercises such as yoga or tai-chi to gradually build your energy levels before adding aerobic exercise to your routine.
Active people have a greater sense of self-confidence and improved working efficiency of your heart, lungs, and muscles. It gives you more energy for any kind of activity.
Omega-3 oils are good for your heart and also boost alertness. Found in fatty fish (such as tuna and salmon), walnuts, and canola oil, these essential fatty acids play a role in keeping brain cells healthy and helping you feel mentally alert. Another potential bonus: Omega-3s encourage the body to store carbs as glycogen — the storage form of glucose (blood sugar) and the body’s main source of stored fuel — rather than as fat.
Pranayama exercises will increase the amount of oxygen in your system, increasing respiration and energy levels.
Keep hydrated. You should be going every two to four hours, and your urine should be clear or pale yellow in color. Water makes up the majority of your blood and other body fluids, and even mild dehydration can cause blood to thicken, forcing the heart to pump harder to carry blood to your cells and organs and resulting in fatigue. Also, ample fluids keep energy-fueling nutrients flowing throughout the body. Tip: Besides drinking more, you can also consume foods that naturally contain water, such as yogurt, broccoli, carrots, and juicy fruits, like watermelons, oranges, and grapefruits.
Watch caffeine intake after noon – the caffeine can sabotage sleep. Consuming a moderate amount of caffeine — 200 to 300 mg, the amount found in two to three cups of coffee — can make you more energetic and alert in the hours following. When caffeine is consumed in large quantities — or anytime in the afternoon or evening — the quality of your sleep that night can take a nosedive, leaving you with heavy eyelids the next day.
Losing extra weight can provide a powerful energy boost.
Have breakfast… even if you don’t feel hungry – spooning up a bowl of breakfast cereal every morning is associated with lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Some people may benefit by eating smaller meals more frequently during the day. This may help to steady your blood sugar level. Having three smallish meals and two snacks throughout the day can keep your blood sugar and energy levels stable all day long. Super-sized meals use more of your energy to digest leaving you feeling lethargic. At each mini-meal, get a mix of carbohydrates (which the body uses for energy), protein (which helps sustain energy if needed), and healthy fats like those found in fish, nuts, and olives — these fats and protein contribute to meal satisfaction, so you don’t go hunting for sweets an hour later and wind up with a short-lived sugar high and subsequent crash. A few meal ideas: a low-fat yogurt parfait with berries and a couple of tablespoons of whole-grain granola; salmon over mixed greens with whole-grain crackers; and beef tenderloin with a baked sweet potato and asparagus.
Favor whole grains and other complex carbohydrates. These take longer than refined carbohydrates to digest, preventing fluctuations of blood sugar. Avoid fats at night as it is harder to fall and stay asleep.
If you start eating more often, watch your portion sizes to avoid weight gain.
Breakfast: Oats cooked in fat-free milk or juice
Lack of sleep increases the risk of accidents and is one of the leading causes of daytime fatigue. The solution: Get to bed early enough for a full night’s sleep or take a 10 minute (no longer than that) power nap in the afternoon. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, since the body craves regularity.
Become aware of your own circadian rhythms. Then schedule demanding activities when your energy levels are typically at their peak.
Sleep in a cool, dark, quiet room.
Sleep on your side. You’ll breathe easier and snore less, which will make for a more restful sleep.
Energize Your Spirit. We’re all familiar with physical exhaustion, but mental strain — sadness, boredom, worry, anger, and general stress (the biggie) — can take an even heavier toll on vitality, completely wearing you out. Life happens, and these difficult emotions will, too. But if you react wisely, your brain and body will rebound — along with your vim and vigor.
Water Therapy. Splash some water on your face or take a shower when you’re feeling burned-out. A little H2O refresher can instantly help take the edge off when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Suit up in a “power” outfit to beat the blahs. Fight the tendency to throw on sweats when you’re feeling sluggish. Although it may seem counterintuitive to slip into the skirt you save for special occasions, it helps to look in the mirror and see an energizing image — not a deflating one that confirms and reinforces your internal state. Dressing for success will give you a big mental boost every time you catch sight of your reflection (or receive a compliment) throughout the day.
Vent your feelings. Keeping fear, anxiety, and stress pent up inside may seem like a grown-up way to deal with these emotions. But discussing negative feelings with another person can ease them far better than keeping them bottled up; by airing them, you reduce their ability to sap your stamina.
Turn on some tunes. Listening to music is one of the most effective ways to change a bad mood, decrease tension, and increase energy. Consider this: Runners in one study who listened to music while on the treadmill ran faster than those who jogged in silence — no matter how loud the volume or how fast the tempo, according to new findings in the journal Ergonomics. Other research suggests that music effectively distracts you from feeling fatigue. Try burning a CD of your favorite songs and playing it anytime you need a pick-me-up. (If you exercise, so much the better — but the music will move you either way.)
Let go of grudges. Nursing a grudge prompts your mind and body to react as if they’re under chronic stress, increasing your heart rate and blood pressure and potentially resulting in an impaired immune system and exhaustion over time, according to a study in the journal Psychological Science. On the other hand, practicing empathy and forgiveness after you’ve been wronged makes you feel as if you’re back in control, which keeps the body’s stress responses in check. The next time you find yourself harboring ill feelings, repeat a stress-relieving mantra to yourself, such as, “Forgiveness makes me a happier and stronger person.”
Take belly breaths. When we’re under stress, we’re prone to take “chest breaths” — short, shallow ones, says Domar. Chest breathing brings less air into the lungs and reduces the supply of energizing oxygen to the body and brain, leaving you physically and mentally drained. The goal is deep, diaphragmatic breathing — like that of a sleeping infant: When you breathe in, your belly should round and fill like a balloon; on an exhale, your belly should slowly deflate. Of course, remembering to practice deep breathing isn’t the first thing on your mind when you’re under the gun, so as a visual reminder, try posting a tranquil picture (such as a pool of water or your kids smiling) with the word “breathe” next to your computer, or anywhere you tend to feel on edge.
De-clutter a corner. Go through that teetering pile of papers or overflowing closet and clear it out. Clutter can make you feel out of control and overwhelmed, especially when you’re already feeling stressed or down. Plus, simply accomplishing a goal, no matter how seemingly minor, can be energizing, says Domar.
Do some good. Acts of altruism can lend a little pep to your step. Volunteer work can boost your energy in six ways: It enhances happiness, life satisfaction, self-esteem, sense of control over life, physical health, and mood.