Sometimes, we can live the healthiest of lifestyles (or so we believe!) and yet we are still plagued by fatigue.
Fatigue is one step further than tiredness. It's defined as extreme tiredness. It's the type of exhaustion that can cloud your judgement, make you fall asleep on the train and typically make every task feel like a total drain.
Many of the items on this list, may seem to easy to be true but they are proven time and time again to be the underlying cause of extreme tiredness.
1. Eliminate sugar and processed or packaged foods.
Eat a candy bar and your energy will usually plummet soon after. Sugar and other refined carbohydrates give you a little shot of energy, but at a huge expense. In reality, we are eating sugar to feel the euphoria for around 5 minutes max (usually less) in return for feeling drained for hours afterwards. If you find it too hard to eliminate sugar, try swapping it for fruits, like berries or apples. And if you need something heavier, swap biscuits or cakes for nuts like almonds or peanuts. If you feel a bit lost on which types of foods have added sugars or refined carbs try to keep away from anything in a package, food closest to its natural state i.e a jacket potato before it becomes a chip or a bowl of porridge before its a flapjack - is what you should be aiming for.
2. Reduce or eliminate caffeine and alcohol.
Sometimes, eliminating caffeine is incredibly difficult especially if you are somewhat dependant on it now. But, what will feel like suffering for the first two days you cut it out will turn into a lifetime of happiness. Coffee much like sugar gives you energy for the first hour but then leaves you feeling totally zapped afterwards. Alcohol does the same too. It may calm your nerves for a short time, but will certainly leave you feeling drained or mentally foggy a few hours later.
3. Get 7 – 9 hours of sleep nightly.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Some questions you can ask yourself to see if you are not sleeping enough include: Does it take me a long time to fall asleep? Do I wake up often or am I restless? Do I feel sleepy when driving? Do I need caffeine to get through the day? Answer, “yes,” to any of these indicates you may not be getting enough quality sleep. Whilst sleep is another topic in itself if you do think you are not getting the quality sleep you need - its time to take action because a good nights sleep can dramatically improve your quality of life.
Spending hours at the gym isn’t doing your chronic fatigue levels any good – remember overexercising can be a culprit of chronic fatigue syndrome. The most effective way to exercise and increase your energy is through the high-intensity interval training (HIIT). These short, intense “bursts” give you a full workout in little time. Or if you find HITT too much try 30 minutes max of cardio combined with max 15 minutes of light bodyweight exercises, these can range from abs to squats. One thing is for sure - with the right amount of exercise you can significantly increase your energy levels.
5. Find ways to relax and reset your mind.
For some people, taking 20 minutes during the afternoon to meditate can be enough to recharge. Maybe yoga or deep breathing is your thing. Whatever you do, you must find time to relax and reset your mind.
For me, the best thing to clear my mind is a walk in nature - nature can be just alongside trees. This is a great way for me to start feeling the small release, I need, to get on with my day.
Chronic fatigue can impair your health and happiness, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. While it may take some time, and some small or large lifestyle changes, you can get your energy back and reclaim your health and wellbeing if you are dedicated to doing so.