No matter the time of year, many people seek my help for their lack of energy, and this takes a noticeable upswing especially during this time of year. Whether it’s the change in light levels, colder temperatures or the plans and preparation that emerge for seasonal holidays, I thought it would be timely to address why we feel so tired!
Feeling tired on a regular basis has become a very common health concern.
You may feel like…
…no matter how much you sleep you always wake up feeling tired… or you hit a mid-day wall where it’s a struggle to keep your eyelids open…or perhaps you feel like you’re good as long as you keep moving but as soon as you sit down you’re done for.
These are just a few examples of the exhaustion that my patients express to me. It can interfere with productivity and minimize the enjoyment that should be experienced each day.
Here are some significant influencers on energy levels. If you have a combination of these happening at one time, it’s understandable that you feel like you’re dragging all the time.
Identifying energy drainers and doing what you can to minimize or change the occurrence of these in your life will have profound effects on your vitality and your quality of life.
Lack of Water - Your body relies on water for many physiological processes and a lack of hydration can lead to reduced energy and alertness. Coffee, black tea, sugary drinks and exercise all deplete water, so more is more in these cases. A sufficient amount of water is generally two litres a day, or 8-10 glasses, of pure fluid like water, lemon water, herbal tea or green tea.
Too Many Refined Carbohydrates - Breads, bagels, muffins, potatoes, chips, starchy veggies, pasta, sugary treats, sweets, cookies and added sugar gets broken down in your body and causes a rapid rise in blood sugar. If your body doesn’t manage blood sugar well, the effects of this can lead to lethargy and that classic feeling of after lunch sluggishness. Limit the refined carbohydrates and replace them with vegetables, fruit, good sources or protein and healthy fats.
Not Eating Enough - Whether you’re skipping meals, watching your weight* or eating quick fix foods (see foods listed above), you may be not getting enough nutrients! You need to eat wholesome, nutrient dense, good quality food to properly drive energy production and fuel your body or you may be having episodes of hypoglycemia, which lead the dreaded combination of irritability and fatigue.
*Side note: Eating less, or following restrictive diets, to lose weight almost always drives up cravings, hunger, fatigue and misery… so please…Eat Real Food…Nutrient Dense Food… and if you’re not sure what to do, seek guidance from a health care provider with a strong understanding of balanced nutrition. This is one of my strengths in my practice and I’m always happy to help.
Poor Sleep - This is a given. If you are staying up late, or wanting to sleep but can’t seem to effectively fall asleep or stay asleep, you won’t be able to get the reset and rest your body needs.
Not Enough Exercise - Regular exercise is essential to move circulation, oxygenate the blood, eliminate the wastes that bog us down and create endorphins. Getting 3-6 days of exercise can seriously stamp out exhaustion.
*So many people feel too tired to exercise. Remember… MOOD FOLLOWS ACTION. You may not feel like it but once you’ve completed your exercise it makes a world of difference.
Constant Stress - If you find yourself constantly worrying, go through the day projecting or anticipating, think negative thoughts or putting yourself down, this type of mental activity is tremendously draining emotionally and it will translate to physical exhaustion.
Being under pressure due to work and/or home responsibilities and expectations is something that’s not easily changed, as so many people go through each day navigating the ways to keep everything going.
So many of us are experiencing stress on a regular basis and no matter what form it takes in your life, it’s so important to find a way neutralize stress.
It’s up to each person to figure out the way they can do this in their own life. It may be going for a walk, deep breathing, prayer, positive affirmations, making time for things they enjoy, listening to music, singing, dancing around the house, spending time with a friend, family member or pet, or seeking regular support through a good counsellor that you resonate with.
Medical Conditions & Prescribed Medication - Certain medical conditions can cause fatigue such as:
Low Immune System
Crohn’s Disease and Colitis
…and many more
In addition, certain prescribed medications can cause people to feel lethargic or drowsy. If you have a medical condition, or a combination of conditions, and/or are taking prescription medication, getting proper treatment with your team of health care providers is a must. It’s also so important to work on converting the energy drainers just discussed to help build a stronger ability for your body’s energy production.
As a Naturopathic Doctor, I take the time to understand the whole picture of health for each patient and then give individualized ideas, guidance and share information to help you along on your path. I can also discuss very effective and safe natural treatment options to help improve energy production, or support optimal sleep, that can be added as you work on the energy drainers.
For individualized guidance and recommendations for building your best energy to help you make the most of your day and feel your truest self, visit with me at WIN Health Solutions and I’d be happy to help.