The most common complaint among patients who come to see me is fatigue. Many complain they don’t have enough energy to make it through their day and engage in the activities they love. Others find that their energy is so low that climbing out of bed is difficult and near impossible without caffeine.
Creating healthy routines and making simple lifestyle changes can help you begin to revitalize your energy and enjoy more of what you love about your life.
Adopt stress reduction practices to help you cope with the stress in your life. stress is unavoidable, but you can choose how you react to it and manage it. Making a practice of breathing deeply, with an emphasis on creating a longer exhale, each time you feel your stress levels rise, can increase your awareness of your feelings and help dissipate some of the stress you are experiencing. Chronic states of stress demand a great deal of energy from your adrenals and can create a state of adrenal fatigue, in which the adrenals are not able to produce a sufficient amount of cortisol.
Aim for 8 hours of quality sleep and getting to bed by 10 pm. Listen to your body when you are tired and nap when you are able. Adequate sleep allows our body to heal, regenerate and revitalize. If you have difficulty falling asleep or feel that you are tired, yet unable to sleep, your evening cortisol levels may not be decreasing as they should in the evening. Making a bedtime routine (yes, much like a baby needs) is a gentle way to encourage your body to make hormonal shifts to help you get better sleep.
The more refined and processed food your diet contains, the lower energy levels you can expect. Eating a diet rich in whole foods, avoiding food sensitivities and having plenty of variety will give your body the nutrients it needs to produce adequate energy. Include quality protein with each meal to help you maintain consistent blood sugar and avoid taxing the adrenals.
While high amounts of caffeine and sugar may make you feel good in the short term, they are depleting to your body and will ultimately leave you feeling more tired. Limit caffeine to one cup a day and if you can, take the weekend to give yourself a break from caffeine. The idea is that your coffee or tea is there for your enjoyment instead of a necessity for you to function.
ENJOY MODERATE EXERCISE DAILY
Intense exercise for prolonged periods of time can mimic chronic stress and create hormonal imbalances. Moderate exercise or high-intensity interval training that gets your heart rate up can help you reset your hormones and gain more energy. If your exercise routine leaves you feeling exhausted for more than a day, it is time to switch your routine.
CONSIDER ADAPTOGENIC HERBS
Ashwagandha, cordyceps, eleuthero, holy basil, rhodiola, schisandra and ginseng are among a group of herbs called adaptogens. Adaptogens help your body adapt to stressful periods and balance stress hormones. Consider meeting with a health practitioner to discuss if botanical therapy could help you with your energy. As with most herbs, caution should be used when pregnant or nursing. A qualified health practitioner should be able to advise you on what is appropriate for your individual needs.
Diminished energy may be a result of lifestyle and diet choices, or it may be due to a more serious condition. Adrenal fatigue, thyroid dysfunction, hormonal imbalance, anemia, chronic stress, insomnia or chronic disease may be the root of your low energy. If you suspect you may have an underlying condition, it is important that you schedule a visit with your doctor to speak about your health concerns. It is always important that the root of your symptoms is addressed, rather than treating symptoms alone.