Fatigue is something that affects around 95% of my clients, irrespective of age or occupation. It’s more than just feeling a bit tired after a bad night’s sleep or a heavy workout at the gym. Fatigue is an unrelenting feeling of low energy that just doesn’t go away.
So, in a world that offers us online shopping, robot vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, automatic washing machines, clothes dryers, people to mow the lawn and clean the oven, along with a myriad of other things to make our lives easier…
Why are so many people suffering from fatigue, and most importantly, what can be done about it?
In order to find an answer to fatigue, the first thing we need to ask is, “Why am I fatigued in the first place?” The answer to that question will depend on various things, some of which might be any, or even, all of the following (which is by no means a complete list):
- Food allergies
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Mineral deficiencies or excesses
- Poor diet
- Lack of hydration
- Consistently poor sleep
- Medication side effects
- Underlying medical conditions
Many people who are suffering from fatigue will automatically reach for something that gives a quick fix. Just so they can survive another day and do what they need to do.
But is this really the best way of handling fatigue?
Nope, not even close. In many cases, using things such as coffee, energy drinks and pre-workout will only make things worse in the long run. Likewise, reaching for sugary foods will only give a temporary lift, but then send your energy crashing after an hour or so.
The best way of fixing fatigue is firstly to investigate and find the cause, and then address that.
When it comes to things such as food allergies, testing is the best way to find out which of the foods are causing the problem. Once you know, then you can adjust your diet accordingly. Likewise, with vitamin and mineral deficiencies and excesses: there are tests available that can reveal your vitamin and mineral status, and again, once you know the results, you can adjust from there.
In fact, most of the things listed above can be easily adjusted.
Medications and medical conditions may prove a little more challenging and require you to work with your healthcare professional regarding the types and doses of medication you may be taking.
However, with all that said, the one thing that I have observed that contributes the most to fatigue is stress.
Chronic stress (stress experienced over a long period of time), robs the body of valuable nutrients that are necessary for keeping the energy cycle of your body functioning optimally. Stress also uses up nutrients required by your nervous system that help to keep you feeling calm and relaxed.
In our fast paced 21st Century society, stress has become a part of daily living. We’ve always lived with stress, but now we are “on” 24/7. With an increased need for 2 incomes, just to pay the weekly bills and 7 days a week trading, AND everything else we deal with today, people simply aren’t taking the time to recuperate.
The days of Sunday roasts, leisurely drives and picnic at the beach are a thing of the past.
And yet, times of relaxation are a critical component to the restoration of energy in your body.
So, how can you help yourself to overcome fatigue that is caused by stress?
First of all
Do everything in your power to remove as many causes of stress in your life that you can. For example; learn to say ‘no’ when you are at capacity and start to take 30 minutes every day just for you to relax.
You can support your body with a healthy, clean diet rich with vegetables, clean protein, nuts and seeds, fruit, whole grains, fish, healthy fats, and clean filtered water.
I mentioned earlier that your body uses lots of nutrients when it’s under stress, so you need to replenish those vitamins and minerals that become depleted – B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, and CoQ10 are all a good place to start. Exercise can also assist with energy, as long as it’s not extreme or excessive.
There are also some wonderful herbs that can help to bring your body back into balance so that the effects of stress are minimized. (Ask one of our instore naturopaths for help with this.)
Ditch the coffee and/or energy drinks and replace them with non-stimulating drinks such as dandelion root tea (which will help your liver), tulsi tea (which helps you to relax), kombucha (gut health), and at least 2 litres of filtered water each day.
Going to bed early and getting adequate sleep will help your body repair and rejuvenate from the wear and tear of daily living. If sleep is a problem, taking magnesium or some calming herbs before bed can help you get a refreshing night’s sleep.
If you’d like to have some testing done to find out why you’re fatigued, book in with one of our qualified practitioners and begin your healing journey.
Written by: Annette Hurn, Nutritionist and Naturopath.
You can book in with Annette by simply calling our team at Toowong on 38708118