Life can be chaotic at times with long to-do lists and exhausting obligations. It’s normal to get exhausted with so many things on your plate. But have you found yourself experiencing low energy and exhaustion regularly? You might think it’s just a common side effect of getting older and taking on more responsibilities. While the source of your tiredness could be due to over extending yourself, it’s more likely due to lifestyle choices.
We’ve cultivated this idea that tiredness and exhaustion are just normal adult experiences. How often do you hear how busy or tired someone is when asked a simple question like ‘How have you been?’. We have created a normalcy around low energy and exhaustion. It’s almost as if being busy or tired are virtuous indictors of our success in life. We desperately need to break this habit. Having energy is sexy but apparently not too common.
The National Sleep Foundation did a study in 2020 with results indicating the average American feels tired three days a week. You can view the full report here. Feeling tired or fatigued all the time is not normal. It’s an indication that you’re in need of a lifestyle change or in some cases an illness within the body. If you’ve been experiencing fatigue along with other symptoms it’s best to talk with your physician to rule out any severe illness.
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Lack of Boundaries
Do you have a hard time saying no? Or maybe you feel like you always have to reply to every text, email, and phone call? If you answered yes to either (or both) of these then it’s probably time to set some personal boundaries in life. Boundaries play an important role in our psychological and physical health. They are a set of rules or limits we create for ourselves to protect our own wellbeing. When you fail to set boundaries for yourself you’re telling others that it’s okay to take advantage of your personal time or space.
Boundaries look different for everyone but include setting alone time for yourself, practicing self- awareness, and distancing yourself from places or people that don’t nurture your wellbeing. It’s important to use your intuition when setting boundaries because you know what’s best for your health and your life. Try to really stick to your boundaries once you’ve set them. Of course they will evolve over time, but sticking to your boundaries shows others you are serious about them and don’t intend to waver.
A life without boundaries is exhausting. Take some time to focus on the areas of your life that could use more boundaries. Where are you over extending yourself? Are there areas of life that you know you would rather say no to, but say yes to avoid confrontation or uncomfortable conversations? Remember, saying no to something that might not be healthy to take on is saying yes to yourself and your wellbeing.
Curing your tiredness might be as simple as drinking more water. Fatigue is the first symptom of dehydration. Your body is made up of around 60% water, so staying hydrated is absolutely vital for the body to function properly. We are constantly losing water through urination, sweating and breathing. If you’re not drinking enough water or eating enough fruits and veggies with high water content it’s very easy to get dehydrated. This means even if you aren’t very active or exercising you should still be drinking water throughout the day.
Water plays a more important role than just quenching your thirst. It helps to deliver nutrients throughout the body via the bloodstream. Your diet might be pristine for giving you ample energy, but if you’re not drinking enough water those nutrients might not be giving you as much energy as you think due to inadequate absorption.
The amount of water you should be drinking every day varies for each person. You’ll have to take age, weight and activity level into consideration. This post by Life Lived Well includes a handy calculator to figure out your proper daily water intake. A lot of people find that it’s easier to drink more water from a specified bottle. I like to call mine a support water bottle since I tote it around like a child might tote a support blanket everywhere. I don’t know what the psychological reasoning is behind this, but I find it extremely hard to drink the amount of water I’m supposed to drink each day if I don’t have my specified bottle with me. I use a 32oz Iron Flask to keep the water chilled. For me personally it’s much harder to drink room temperature water.
Food is one of the biggest sources of fuel for the body. The food you eat has the ability to be one of your greatest sources of medicine or your most influential sources of illness. If you’re not eating enough you’ll set yourself up for fatigue. If you’re not eating the proper balance of nutrients you’re equally setting yourself up for low energy and fatigue. Highly processed foods (including those from diet companies) are generally filled with preservatives and empty calories. What they lake in nutrients they usually make up in sugar and sodium. Both of which cause inflammation in the body which can result in fatigue.
If you’ve been experiencing exhaustion lately it might be time to take an honest look at your diet. A lot of fad diet’s aren’t created to provide ample nutrients to the body. They are more concerned with fast results and high profits. Try to minimize your preservatives and sugar intake. Cook meals with whole ingredients like fresh produce, fish high in omegas, and lean meats.
Changing your diet isn’t easy, and it’s definitely not a quick fix. This area might take some time to adjust to and master. If you find yourself feeling lost in this area I recommend this free course from Stanford University on food and health. It’s a great place to start when transitioning your diet.
Bad Sleep Hygiene
Who would have thought good sleep would make the list? Getting good sleep every night requires you to set a plan for good sleep. You may be exhausted and expect your body to fall asleep as soon as the lights go out but your brain might have other plans. Great sleep is an art form. It takes practice, trial and error, and consistency in your plan.
Turning your brain off for sleep requires time. Your night time routine should begin hours before you’re ready to rest your head. Start by distinguishing a set bedtime and stick to that time every night. Eventually your brain will be programed to recognize that time as a time for rest. Make your bed a tech free zone. Scrolling through your phone or watching TV in your bed shows your brain and body that your bed is used for more than sleeping. When you only use your bed for sleeping you’re programing yourself to recognize your bed as your exclusive place of rest. You’ll be shocked to see how you can instantly fall asleep with a little reprogramming of the mind.
It’s equally important to set your environment up for sleep about an hour before bed. Turn off any bright overhead lights and use a soft light lamp. Put away your phone and laptop at this time as well. Bright lights and tech can overstimulate the brain confusing it for a time other than sleep. It’s best to read or listen to calming music but if you have to turn on the TV an hour before bed make sure you’re watching something calming or funny. Turn off the TV before getting into bed. One of the worst things you can do for proper sleep is fall asleep with the TV on in bed.
Keep your room cool and as dark as possible. Natural melatonin is induced within the body in dark environments so this is a very important step. Clean your bedding at least once a week. Never underestimate the therapeutic power of clean sheets.
Prolonged stress in the body can result in emotional exhaustion and chronic fatigue syndrome. It’s normal to experience stress at times, but a constant state of stress in the body can be detrimental to your physical and emotional health. The body produces a hormone called cortisol when in a state of stress. An excess amount of the stress hormone cortisol is often found in patients with fatigue. This stress hormone is beneficial when the body needs to be in fight or flight mode, but too much cortisol negatively effects our sleeping patterns.
A racing mind is often accompanied with excess stress making it particularly challenging to fall asleep when our head hits the pillow. You might instantly begin to think of stressful situations going on in your life and before you know it the alarm clock is going off. Try to incorporate some mindfulness practices into your nightly routine like meditation or sound bathing to ease your mind.
It’s hard to see it on the surface at times, but being stressed out really burns through a lot of our energy. When our minds and bodies are stressed it’s like we’re running an internal marathon. Sometimes no one else can see it but we’re burning through all of our energy while trying to cope and process stress. It’s important to take some time for self-care and mindfulness to manage daily stressors so they don’t take over.
If you have been experiencing high stress for an extended amount of time it may be time to seek help from a therapist. They can help you find the source of your stress and offer strategies to manage it better.
This occurrence is more common in women. Hormone imbalance happens when there is too much or too little of a hormone in the body. While it’s natural to experience hormonal imbalances at different points throughout life it can also be an indication that the endocrine glands are not properly functioning.
Hormonal imbalances can be caused by extreme stress, poor diet, allergic reactions, infections, anorexia, or being over weight. These imbalances can also be a sign of illnesses such as thyroid disease or diabetes so it’ important to pay attention to your body in case there are other warning signs. Medical News Today has a great article that dives deeper into hormonal imbalances. If you’re concerned that you may be experiencing a hormonal imbalance please speak with your physician.
Increasing your energy level could be as simple as making a few simple changes to your daily routine. While you can’t expect to feel a full energy change overnight, you might be surprised at how fast you notice a difference within your body and mind.