Fatigue is something that affects all of us at some point in our lives. It is the number one complaint that doctors hear in their offices. Sometimes fatigue is just a product of our busy lives and being overworked. Occasionally fatigue can be a sign that there is something else going on in the body, so if fatigue is persistent a doctor must investigate. Causes of fatigue range from iron deficiency, B12 deficiency and hypothyroidism (which are easy to correct) to more serious problems like cancer or heart failure. It is also a commonly reported side effect of many medications.
Once you’ve established that your fatigue is simply a product of a busy life, there are many lifestyle tips you can use to give you that extra needed energy:
Sleep! Simple right? Fact is most of us don’t get the 8 hours we need every night. Make sleep a priority for yourself. If you’re going to do just ONE thing from this list, it should be this one. Sleep in a dark, quiet, cool room.
Skip the grain filled/carb heavy breakfast foods such as cereal and toast. These foods cause irregular blood sugar patterns, which can cause fatigue. Instead make sure you’re getting a good amount of protein with breakfast. Eggs, oatmeal with fruit , or a smoothie with protein powder are all decent options.
Eat something every 3-4 hours, and consume 8-10 servings of fruit and vegetables everyday! They contain essential vitamins and minerals that help our bodies function optimally.
Hot and cold showers! It sounds silly and potentially torturous, but during your morning shower try alternating hot and cold water. Try for around 3 minutes of hot, 1 minute of cold, and repeat. Always finish your shower with cold. Many people feel surprisingly invigorated after they get out!
Getting good amounts of physical activity releases endorphins and gets your circulation going. Instead of reaching for that chocolate bar at 3pm, try going for a brisk ten-minute walk.
Take your vitamins regularly! It’s hard for most of us to eat a well balanced diet 100% of the time, so a good multivitamin isn’t a bad idea (not Centrum please!). B Complex vitamins are thought of as ‘energy’ vitamins and can also be helpful, particularly during times of stress.
Herbs from a category we call ‘adaptagenic herbs’ can be beneficial, particularly if you’ve been under a lot of stress for a long period of time. These should only be taken under doctor supervision, so see your Naturopathic Doc for a prescription for these.
Lastly, don’t reach for energy drinks or gallons of coffee. A small coffee before 3pm is acceptable, but in my opinion energy drinks are more harmful than helpful. Several deaths have been linked to these beverages, and they can lead to anxiety, irritability, and many other unwanted effects.
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