“Fatigue” insinuates a complete lack of energy or motivation, and sometimes we end up feeling utterly helpless.
Fatigue…..just that word makes many of us feel tired! But fatigue is really more than just being “tired”. It is persistent, pervasive, and sometimes debilitating exhaustion. “Fatigue” insinuates a complete lack of energy or motivation, and sometimes we end up feeling utterly helpless.
So, why do we feel so exhausted and, more importantly, is there anything we can do about it? Many of us are prone to neglecting ourselves while we care for others. And, for most of us, this is exactly why we feel fatigued. The good news is that there are many things you can do to care for yourself and alleviate the fatigue. Let’s look at some simple, yet powerful steps we can take to give us more energy!
Our society often eats what is quick and convenient without much thought to the quality of the nutrition in that food. However, this is one major area where we could be shooting ourselves in the foot, so to speak. Our bodies and body systems require certain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in order to function properly. To provide those elements that are so essential, we need to eat a good variety of nutrient-dense foods such as a colorful array of vegetables and fruit as well as healthy sources of protein, fat, and Omega-3 fatty acids. We also need to avoid highly processed foods, which tend to carry a lot of calories but not very much nutrition.
When we feel tired or fatigued, all we want is rest! But what is rest? Sleep? Doing nothing? Watching TV? Reading a book? What do we need to do (or not do) to feel truly rested? Rest encompasses so much more than just sleep. We need physical, emotional, and mental rest!
Physical rest includes sleep. Most people need 7-9 hours of sleep each night, mostly uninterrupted. When we don’t get uninterrupted sleep, we limit how much restorative (REM) sleep that we get. This lack of restorative sleep can lead to issues other than fatigue such as a weakened immune system and increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.
You can help restore a proper sleep pattern by following a few rules daily:
- no caffeine after 2pm
- no eating or drinking for 3 hours before bedtime
- no electronics for 1 hour before sleep
- maintaining consistent times for going to sleep and rising in the morning
We also need emotional and mental rest. Sometimes life is just hard. It takes a toll on us emotionally and mentally unless we devote time to care for our psyche and our soul.
There are many ways to provide emotional and mental rest for yourself:
- time spent with family/friends,
- sound counseling
There are other ways to ground yourself and find rest for your soul:
- walking on the beach
- a hike through the woods
- Some call it “finding your happy place”
Make time to give your soul rest.
We were created for movement. Our muscles were designed for that one thing alone! This does not have to mean exhaustive exercise (running, cycling, etc), but it can.
It can also mean:
- taking your dog for a walk
- enjoying a stroll through the woods
- doing yoga
- walking around your neighborhood (and maybe meeting some neighbors)
- doing yardwork
Just get up and move!
While this is not an exhaustive dissertation on how to overcome fatigue, it’s a great place to start! And if you feel that you are already doing all of these things and you still struggle with fatigue, please see your primary care provider or functional medicine practitioner for a full workup to make sure you don’t have a medical issue that needs to be addressed.
Mental Health Services at CHE
When mental health conditions impede a person’s ability to lead a normal life, both psychiatry and psychology offer effective solutions for treatment and symptom relief.
If you are unsure which provider is best for your condition, contact your primary care physician to discuss the appropriate course of treatment.
CHE offers treatment for a variety of mental health issues virtually with our