Do you constantly find yourself feeling sleepy throughout the day? Are you grumpy, irritable and tired all the time, reaching for that second (or even third) cup of coffee just to keep you going? Barring a medical condition, you may be suffering from chronic fatigue.
Fatigue happens to most people at some point during their lives, especially during the dark and dreary winter months. Emotional issues, physical exhaustion, mental stress and more can all contribute to burnout and fatigue. It can be debilitating, hindering you from getting tasks done and enjoying life to the fullest. Thankfully, there are natural steps you can take to remedy your fatigue and get you energized.
Be prepared. When burnout strikes, try these eight smart tips to beat fatigue.
1. First, See Your Doctor
If you were once an energetic person full of zest, and now, suddenly, you’re constantly exhausted, see your doc. Physical and mental fatigue can be a result of a number of underlying health issues, including anemia, pregnancy, thyroid problems, kidney disease, use of certain medications, diabetes, heart disease and more. Once all of these possibilities have been ruled out, you’ll be able to try these remedies with greater peace of mind.
2. Get Moving
When we’re tired, the last thing we want to do is exercise – though this is precisely what we need to do to get over a bout of fatigue. Statistics show that people who exercise on a regular basis are less fatigued than those who don’t. Find an exercise that you enjoy and get moving every day. If you don’t like calisthenics (jumping jacks, push-ups, etc.), try swimming, yoga or join an organized sport or running group. Try a combination of different gym or workout classes, from strength training to Zumba, to keep things interesting. Walking is also a great stress reliever, is low impact, and has amazing health benefits. It doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you get your heart rate up and get a sweat going. Intentional exercise is indeed, one of the best ways to fight fatigue, and the more you move, the better you will feel. Getting started, of course, is the hard part, but that’s where motivational hacks come in.
3. Check Your Diet
Our bodies need fuel for energy, and eating the wrong foods can make all the difference. Processed carbs and sugars give us a quick, artificial energy boost – and promptly make us crash, leading to that dreaded afternoon slump. If you’re fuelling your body with a jelly doughnut and a gallon of coffee for breakfast (or even worse, skipping breakfast altogether), you’re asking for exhaustion to set in come lunchtime. Eating nutrient-dense foods is your best best in the fight against fatigue. Choose clean foods that are rich in antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and lean proteins.
Watch your caffeine intake, too. While a jolt of java can be just what the doctor ordered to give us a buzz, too much caffeine can lead to chronic fatigue and sleeplessness. And it also goes without saying that consumption of alcohol is one of the number one causes of unnecessary exhaustion and fatigue; that glass of wine before bed may feel like it’s helping you sleep, but your quality of rest will suffer, so cut it out.
4. Stick To A Sleep Schedule
Consistently groggy every morning? Reconsider your sleeping habits and prioritize a good night’s rest above all else. Humans are creatures of habit. Opt to wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day, whether or not you’re getting up for a workout and even if it’s the weekend. Your body will eventually get used to the familiar rhythm, which means you’ll fall asleep and wake up naturally, with ease. If you’re someone who struggles to get up in the morning, especially during the dark winter months, consider investing in a gradual wakeup light alarm clock, which mimics the rising sun.
5. Practice Meditation
While we often think of fatigue as a physical issue, it actually can be a deeply psychological one rooted in stress. When life is gets overwhelming and fatigue sets in, find a quiet spot, close your eyes and breathe deeply. Meditation has been a form of de-stressing for centuries. It can release mental and emotional baggage that is weighing you down. Let the bad stuff go – focus on your accomplishments. Realize the things you can change and the things you cannot. Commit to hanging out with people who lift you up vs. drag you down. Stay away from emotional vampires and people who steal your joy. Once you come to a release the heaviness of emotional stress, your energy levels will rise and you will find peace.
6. Stay Hydrated
If you are suffering from an energy crisis in the middle of the afternoon, don’t reach for an espresso – instead, have a glass of ice water. Not only does proper hydration give your body energy, but drinking ice water forces your warm body to warm the water to its temperature, burning energy in the process and perking you right up as a result. For extra oomph, add some lemon (citrus has energizing properties) or ginger. The acidity and spice stimulates your olfactory senses and perk you up.
7. Prioritize Friendship
Sometimes, fatigue manifests as a physical symptom of loneliness. We all feel a buzz and a frenetic energy after having a robust conversation with someone we feel close to. Loving and being loved releases oxytocin, a feel-good hormone that can relieve stress and anxiety. In today’s world, friendships are in the palm of your hand, literally. Facebook, Whatsapp, Skype – all it takes is the click a few buttons and you can connect with an old friend. Instead of crawling into bed after a long hard day, invite a friend over for a well-deserved catch-up, or schedule a Skype date. You’ll feel the energetic, bubbly afterglow long after you two have parted.
8. Try Aromatherapy
Our ancestors relied on aromatherapy to relieve many ailments, including fatigue. Certain scents and aromas, like fresh citrus and eucalyptus, are naturally energizing. Use a diffuser to unlock energetic essential oils throughout your home, and keep a roller handy at your desk when in you’re in the need for a quick pick-me-up.
9. Schedule A Power Nap
The Spanish were onto something with their siestas. North Americans are known for their sleep deprivation, because our bodies were not made to work 12-hour shifts and crazy swing hours. William A. Anthony, PhD, Clinical Psychologist, is the author of The Art of Napping at Work. Through his research, Anthony says that a nap helps people feel more alert and do better on the job. While we don’t necessarily recommend taking a snooze under your desk, if you can swing it (particularly if it’s a weekend), consider taking a half-hour power nap to re-energize and regroup.
10. A Splash Of Cold Water
This one is an oldie, but a goodie. It really works. A hot shower or bath is what doctors recommend for people who have trouble falling asleep, because coming out of a hot shower into cooler air brings a sudden decrease in body temperature. This leads to a tranquil state of mind, which is helpful when you’re looking to fall asleep, but not what you need before you start your day.
Here’s how to do it: Once you’ve finished washing, crank the faucet to as cold as it can go, and force yourself to stand under the water for about 30 seconds. Feel free to gasp or scream, if you like! It won’t last long, because after 30 seconds, turn the water back as hot as you can stand for another 30 seconds. Finally, cap it off with another icy cold if you can stand it (or cool, if you prefer.) This method of hydrotherapy has been used for thousands of years. Cold water opens up the capillaries, increases blood flow and provides stimulation. (Splashing cold water on your face is a good alternative when fatigue hits in the middle of the day, too.)
Don’t let fatigue run your life. Take control of your chronic exhaustion, and get back to your energetic, vibrant self.