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15 Things To Remember If You Love A Person With Asthma

15 Things To Remember If You Love A Person With Asthma

Loving a person isn’t easy. Love is a choice: committing your time, dedication and care to that certain person in your life, understanding and accepting them for who they are and staying by their side as they go through the tides of life. When loving a person with asthma, the situation is more delicate and calls for greater sensitivity towards their feelings and emotional needs.

With severe asthma, your daily life is muddled with incidents of breathlessness; you’re constantly troubled by the possible threat of an asthma attack, coupled with recurring hospital admissions despite heeding medical advice and medication. Every asthmatic episode further increases a person’s psychological suffering, with common feelings including: fear and anxiety, denial and feeling a loss of control.

As someone loving a person with asthma, you can do things to ease their struggle with asthma and to be that pillar of support they can rely on in their time of need. Here are 15 things to remember if you love a person with asthma:

1. They want you to know how to help them during an asthma attack

Defined by the World Health Organization, asthma is a respiratory condition that is present in all age groups, but typically starts in childhood. This condition has the distinctive quality of frequent and repeated attacks of breathlessness and wheezing, which again is specific to every individual. As each asthma case is unique, it’s important to identify the best way to assist your loved one when they are faced with an impending asthma attack, or ongoing series of asthma attacks.

Check their sitting position. Get your loved one into a comfortable sitting position as it is easier to breathe sitting up rather than lying down. This will aid your loved one in having increased and regular air flow into their lungs, assisting them to recover faster.

Be clear about their personalized response to asthma attacks. Be conscious of whether they use an inhaler and if so, where to locate it in the event of an attack. If your loved one has severe asthma, in most situations their medical consultant would have provided a card with instructions.
Where they don’t use an inhaler, record down their emergency contact somewhere convenient for your reference.

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2. They want you to be sensitive

One of the consequences of having asthma is being limited to activities that are not strenuous (this can vary depending on the severity of asthma). Not all people are aware from a young age that they have asthma. For those who are only conscious of it at an older age, this can suddenly create hiccups in their everyday life, especially for those people who are involved in highly strenuous sports or an active lifestyle.

In cases like these, people require some time to adjust and accept their new lifestyle. Be sensitive with them during this road to acceptance, encourage them, and help them to realize that their asthma will not define their life. It is up to them to decide how their life pans out, and with your sensitivity and guidance, it can be a brighter and better future.

3. They want you to be understanding

Be understanding to your loved one. There are limitations to what they can do with their condition and because of their asthma, they might choose to do things in a different way than others would. Remember that your loved one is a different person from you. You cannot expect them to do things that you want to do, or to live their life in the way you would want them to. The beauty of love is that you accept them for the decisions they make. You accept them because you love them and it is no different with someone who has asthma. Make a greater effort to appreciate their style of thinking and accept the range of activities that they can do. Get them what they need, for example an air purifier for asthma. Where possible, don’t pressure them to over-exert themselves as ultimately this will be detrimental for both their health and your relationship.

4. They want you to be aware

Be aware about the frequency and pattern of your loved one’s asthma attacks. Also, learn how to read their warning signs. Ask your loved one about their previous experiences and take note of their usual triggers and the regularity of their attacks so that you will be able to support them and anticipate potential problems.

5. They find it easier to feel comfortable when you are knowledgeable about their condition

Do research and learn more about your loved one’s respiratory condition. By educating yourself about asthma, not only are you more knowledgeable about the illness but you become better equipped at dealing with the illness as well. Go online and read up about natural asthma remedies such as herbs and natural dietary supplements, read about your loved one’s medication and the possible side-effects that may occur. Read up widely on people who are asthmatics and how they have struggled and conquered their battle with asthma so you can learn to offer great support to your loved one. Famous people who have experienced asthma include: Elizabeth Taylor, Jason Alexander, Diane Keaton, and Martin Scorsese.

6. They want you to think about how your illness could impact them

Having asthma means that a person is more susceptible to respiratory illnesses and when they do contract the illness, it can create significant health problems for them. As such, if you are ill with a cold or the flu, even though these appear to be non-serious conditions to the everyday person, they can actually be a life-threatening illness for asthmatics. If your illness could threaten their health, keep away.

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7. They want you to be positive and encouraging

One of the psychological effects of asthma is its detrimental impact on self-esteem. Especially in cases of more severe asthma, these people tend to have negative body image which leads to alienation from close friends. Even where they do have an asthma action plan or their asthma isn’t obvious, it’s not something that they include in their self-introduction or reveal to the people that they have known for a short period of time. The decision to tell their friends about their asthma often requires deep contemplation and they usually wait for a period of time until they are convinced that they can trust that person with their secret.

Most people with asthma are even more doubtful about dating. They’re hesitant because of their fear of being a burden to their significant other, their fear of not being accepted, and their fear of not being good enough for the other person because of their asthmatic condition. If you are in a romantic relationship with a person with asthma, encourage them. Assure them that you accept and love them fully. Show them that you love them and will always be their rock in times of need. Inspire them to look to the future with hope and love. Remember to express yourself not just through words, but your actions too.

8. They want to be kept away from smoke

Smoke is hazardous to everybody, but even more so for asthmatics. Avoid smoking or putting your loved one in situations where they are exposed to second hand smoke. Research has suggested that passive smoking may actually be more harmful than the act of smoking itself. The smoke that is produced at the end of the cigarette is created from far more harmful substances than the chemicals in the smoke inhaled at the front of the cigarette. For asthmatics, second hand smoke can trigger symptoms like wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath which are incredibly painful experiences.

9. They benefit from dust-free surroundings

Where possible, strive to rid your home of asthma triggers. Dust mites, mould, pets, cockroaches and daily household irritants are the main sources of asthmatic triggers. By removing these triggers, you can help to decrease the rate of asthma attacks your loved one experiences, lowering stress levels, pain and suffering.

If you wish to remove dust mites from your house, you have to keep your house clean. Some suggestions include: swapping your pillow and mattress covers to allergen-proof and zippered covers, washing your bedding in hot water at least once a week to kill germs, and to make sure that you keep your house neat and tidy, free from clutter.

To prevent mold and mildew from appearing in your house, some suggestions include: removing any indoor plants, layering your walls with a mold inhibitor when painting, and frequently airing the areas of your house which are usually damp and humid.

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To prevent insects from entering your home, make sure that you close all windows and open garbage shoots, giving them no entrance into your home. Another option is to purchase thin netting that you can layer over your windows so that flies and cockroaches are not be able to enter your home, whilst ensuring you still have ventilation in your home.

You can also buy cockroach traps or baits and put them near the garbage shoots, doors or anywhere else they are likely to enter from. Try to avoid insect sprays as these contain strong chemical products that could be highly detrimental to your loved one’s health. If you do use these sprays, ensure that you use them whilst your loved one is not at home and to air out your home for a few hours before their return.

10. They probably want you to wear less perfume/cologne

To most of us, wearing perfume or cologne is a daily ritual and we don’t really take the time to stop and think of what these strong chemical fragrances can do to our loved ones with asthma. Perfumes and colognes are one of the more common triggers for asthmatics. Perfume and perfumed cosmetic items can contain many toxins, with some medical professionals believing that these chemicals can have disastrous effects on reproduction and the risk of acquiring cancer.

For people with asthma, perfume or fragrance products will irritate their lungs. They may also have an allergic reaction which can lead to dangerous asthma attacks. Thus, when with your loved one, refrain from wearing perfume or using fragrance products as well as visiting locations like beauty or perfume retail shops.

11. They can experience health problems caused by stress

Typically, some stress is beneficial for a person since it encourages greater productivity and pushes a person to develop character. However when coping with asthma, unrestrained or extreme anxiety can exacerbate the respiratory condition. For people with asthma, stress can result in a myriad of problems such as insomnia, irritability, anti-social behavior and depression. Increased stress is also directly proportionate to the level of asthma symptoms like wheezing, coughing and panic attacks. This in turn creates further stress; such a vicious cycle can have devastating effects on your loved one’s health.

To prevent these catastrophic effects, you can help your loved one to combat stress through encouraging them to eat a healthy diet, practice breathing exercises, engage in exercise, get better rest and focus on positive thinking. Motivate your loved one to live a stress-free life.

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12. They can benefit from light exercise

Light exercise benefits people with asthma. Through exercise, their lungs and bronchial tubes will be stretched and expanded, creating larger, clearer airways and reducing the resistance in breathing. Light amounts of running (even barefoot running) can be helpful.

13. They can benefit from a healthy diet

A healthy diet is essential for managing an asthmatic condition. Try to incorporate foods containing higher amounts of vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and omega-3 fatty acids, for example, as these foods contain antioxidants which prevent cell-damage. Take care to avoid high-calorie diets, figure out your loved one’s food allergies, and take note if your loved one is allergic to preservatives in order to prevent and reduce the frequency of asthma attacks.

14. They don’t want you to make assumptions

Haven’t you heard of the saying, “when you assume, you make an ass out of you and me”? Assumptions about asthma or even about your loved one’s journey with asthma can be risky, inaccurate and hurtful. Don’t make assumptions about how your loved one thinks, how they feel and how they are coping with their situation. Although there are times where our assumptions are right, most of the time, they are incorrect and negative. Show your loved one some courtesy by asking them what they really feel instead of assuming or interpreting their actions or words through blurred vision. Negativity will hurt your relationship and we must strive to eliminate these potential obstacles wherever possible.

15. They want your love

Show love to your loved one. Find out what your loved one’s love language is and how they would prefer you to extend a helping hand or offer support. Make them their favorite foods when they return home from a long hard day, sort out the household chores for them so that they can rest and relax when they return from work, or even introduce them to your friends and important figures in your life so your loved one truly knows that they mean something to you. True, genuine acts of caring are the most important methods for demonstrating your love.

Scientific studies have long proven that loving relationships are beneficial for a person’s health. When in a relationship with someone, the both of you take care of each other and you are each other’s inspiration for living a better life and becoming a better person. Remember these 15 things, but don’t get too caught up in the specifics. As long as you love and are committed to them and your relationship, that’s more than enough.

Featured photo credit: TapGenes via 1yaj3q2k9muz1rlxii3mp8wz.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

Feeling tired all the time?

Have you ever caught yourself nodding off when you’re watching TV, listening to someone drone on during a meeting or even driving a car?

I know I have, especially when I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive.

Feeling tired all the time may be more widespread than you think. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

If you’re tired of feeling tired, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re feeling tired all the time and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

What Happens When You’re Too Tired

If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

  • You may have trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired within your brain.
  • You may experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not because your brain’s neurotransmitters are misfiring.
  • You may get dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
  • You may find it more difficult to exercise or to perform any type of athletic activity.
  • Your immune system may weaken causing you to pick up infections more easily.
  • You may overeat because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids even when you’re not hungry.
  • Your metabolism slows down so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

Are you saying that feeling tired can make me overweight?

Unfortunately, yes!

Feeling tired all the time can cause you to put on the pounds especially around your waist. But it is a classic chicken and egg situation, too.

Heavier people are more likely to feel fatigued during the day than lighter ones. And that’s even true for overweight people who don’t have sleep apnea (source: National Institutes of Health).

Speaking of sleep apnea, you may be wondering if that or something else is causing you to feel tired all the time.

Why Are you Feeling Tired All the Time?

Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

Here’s a quick overview of each root cause of feeling tired all of the time:

  1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep restorative sleep.
  2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness which could be triggered by numerous issues such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
  3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance or emotional trauma.

It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

Feeling Tired vs Being Fatigued

If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

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Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep.

But fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive (source: Science Direct).

Symptoms of fatigue include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low stamina
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Low motivation

These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness but they usually last longer and are more intense.

Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. But there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

How Much Sleep Is Enough?

The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

So, quantity and quality do matter when it comes to sleep.

The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[5] So, you should definitely plan on getting seven hours of deep restorative sleep every night.

If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is most likely reason you feel tired all the time.

And that is good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

  1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
  2. Exercising regularly
  3. Using stressbusters
  4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

So, I know it is possible to change your lifestyle even when you’re working crazy hours and have lots of family responsibilities.

After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

In addition, I lost two inches off my waist and looked and felt better than ever.

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I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

  • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy including getting enough sleep.
  • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of exercise a day ideally for six days a week.
  • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
  • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight and to achieve overall wellness.[6]

And yes, there does seem to be an important correlation between being lean and feeling rested.

But overall based on my personal experience and Dr. Sear’s scientific proof, the key to not feeling tired all of the time does seem to be 4 simple changes to your lifestyle.

L — Living Healthy

Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested and better overall.

So, whether you’re sleep deprived or potentially suffering from fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you probably want to find a way to sleep better.

In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger.

As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

1. Unplug

Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. But tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime.

So turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

2. Unwind

Do something to relax.

Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating or taking an Epsom salt bath.

3. Get Comfortable

Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep.

Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed.

If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[7]

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Above all, be gentle with yourself and count your blessings, some sheep or whatever helps.

This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

E — Exercise

Many people know that exercise is good for them, but just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

That’s what happened in my case.

But when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my lifestyle.

As part of my lifestyle upgrade, I knew I needed to move more.

My friends who exercise all gave me the same advice: find an exercise you like to do and find a specific time in your schedule when you can consistently do it.

That made sense to me.

So, I decided to swim.

I used to love to swim when I was young, but I hadn’t done it for years. The best time for me to do it was immediately after work, since I could easily get an open swim lane at my local fitness club then.

Also, swimming became a nice reason for me to leave work on time. And I got to enjoy a nice workout before eating dinner.

Swimming is a good way to get your cardio or endurance training. But, walking, running and dancing are nice alternatives.

So find an exercise you love and stick to it. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training and flexibility training in during your daily 20-minute workout.

If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try because you will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

A — Attitude

Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted. But there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued.

Do you want to know what that master stress-busting technique was?

Breathing.

But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

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Here’s how you do “Long-Exhale Breathing”:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy (so you know you are breathing deeply from your diaphragm and not shallowly from your chest)
  2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air)
  3. Hold your breath while you count to 7 mentally and enjoy the stillness
  4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it)
  5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep, long exhale breath
  6. Repeat 3 times ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system

This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[8]

Plus, this is a great technique for helping you get to sleep, too.

N — Nutrition

Diet is vital for beating fatigue – after all, food is your main source of energy.

If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels.

Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated, time-consuming though.

For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

Unless your current diet is solely made up of fast food and ready meals, adjusting to a fatigue-fighting diet shouldn’t be too much of a shock to the system.

Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

  1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
  2. Add a healthy fat or protein to your any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed. Please note that carb-only snacks lead to blood-sugar crashes that can make you eat more and they can keep you from sleeping.
  3. Fill up with fiber especially green leafy vegetables. Strive to get at least 25g per day with at least 5 servings (a serving is the size of your fist) of green vegetables.
  4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice and corn.
  5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
  6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives such as So Delicious Dairy-Free Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream.
  7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive and nut oils.
  8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts such as Kite Hill Plain Yoghurt with 1g sugar or Lifeway Farmer Cheese with 0g sugar.
  9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice

Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multi-vitamin or specific supplement.

The Bottom Line

If you are tired of feeling tired, then there is tremendous hope.

If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices.

If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes including:

  • Enough High-Quality Sleep with Bedtime Routine
  • Regular Exercise You Love
  • Stress Reduction with Long-Exhale Breathing
  • Fatigue-Reducing Diet

Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle Is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

More Tips to Help You Rest Better

Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
[2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
[3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
[4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
[5] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
[6] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
[7] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
[8] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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