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Last Updated on December 17, 2020

I’m Exhausted: The Real Causes and How to Fix It Forever

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I’m Exhausted: The Real Causes and How to Fix It Forever

Do you say “I’m exhausted” all the time? Are you constantly feeling tired and looking for all that energy you used to have?

Fatigue shows up in many ways in daily life, including pure exhaustion, the inability to concentrate, anger, frustration, behavioral issues, weight loss (or gain), memory problems, decreased work performance, and slower reaction times.

Chronic fatigue has also been linked to medical problems, including obesity, hypertension, depression, diabetes, as well as increased automobile accidents.

We attempt to combat fatigue with coffee, sugar, energy drinks, vitamins, and a variety of other products that claim to increase our energy and stamina, but what if your exhaustion is trying to tell you something?

If you’re getting enough sleep and you’re still feeling exhausted, it’s time to stop, take a step back, and look at what else is contributing to your exhaustion.

Before you reach for that next cup of coffee, the 3 pm sugary snack, or the toxic energy drink, let’s look at some reasons why you might be tired all the time and what you can do about it.

Here are 11 potential reasons why you’re exhausted even when you get enough rest and what you can do about it.

1. You Are out of Alignment

If you’re saying “I’m exhausted” all the time, your mental, emotional, or spiritual energy may be out of whack. Essentially, you’re off track with who you are and what works for you. Maybe you’re unhappy, unfulfilled, stressed out, or just plain bored with some areas of your life. You might be in a relationship that isn’t working, a job you can’t stand, or a situation that drains your energy.

Think about a time in your life when you were in the flow, in the zone, and totally engaged and excited about what you were doing. How much sleep did you need then? Even after only a few hours, my guess is you probably found yourself jumping out of bed in the morning without an alarm clock, excited to embark on the day.

On the flip side, think about a time in your life when you were in a relationship or job that zapped your energy. No matter how much sleep you got, you probably found it difficult to get out of bed in the morning and were tempted to hit that snooze button just a few more times.

We all have things that make us feel great and energized and things that completely zap our energy.

Maybe you’re someone who likes to move quickly but you’re drowning in detail; maybe you’re someone who thrives when you are on top of things and you’re feeling like everything is completely out of control. Or maybe you thrive on spontaneity and variety and you’re bored with your life.

I had a client share this sentiment recently as she described a period in her life: “My boss sucked, the work was boring, and it made me tired all the time.”

When you’re doing things that align with who you are and in environments that align with what you need, you will feel more energized and alive. On the contrary, when you’re in environments that go against your grain, you will feel drained and de-energized.

What Can You Do?

Take a step back and identify what’s not working. Figure out what you want and work towards it. Do things that give you energy.

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What makes you feel healthy and alive, energized, and excited? What gets you in the flow and makes you feel most like you? Aim to get more of that in your life.

Find more ways to be in alignment with who you are by reading this article: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up.

2. You’re out of Touch With Your Physical Body

When we are structurally out of alignment, it can cause all sorts of issues. When things aren’t moving properly, it makes it hard for your body to do its job. Not to mention, pain is exhausting and leaves you saying “I’m exhausted.”

Here’s what Chiropractor, Dr. Ruth Ziemba[1], who specializes in NSA (Network Spinal Analysis) has to say:

All of life is energy. We are energy. Any disturbance or blockages to the energy flow creates imbalances. Physical, mental and emotional stressors can cause subluxations (misalignment of the vertebrae) which interfere with signals getting clearly through your body. This can result in many health problems, including fatigue and insomnia.

Recently, I was feeling tired all the time – and felt like I was doing “everything else” right. So, I went to see my chiropractor and a cranial sacral therapist. Two days later, I felt much more energized and clear in my head.

I love the analogy I was once given by a chiropractor: “It doesn’t matter how well you can play an instrument if the instrument is out of tune.”

What Can You Do?

Try getting a massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, reiki, cranial sacral therapy – anything that works for you.

If you don’t know where to start, ask a friend or colleague for a recommendation.

3. You Are Not Eating Right (or Enough)

What and how much you eat has significant effects on your energy levels.

While there are many different diet protocols, there is one thing all the experts can agree on: sugar and processed foods make you feel sluggish and exhausted.

They make your blood sugar go haywire, causing you to feel a brief period of energy followed by a crash. Paradoxically, those are the very things we reach for when we need to get some energy.

What Can You Do?

I’ve found two things to be consistently true.

One, you need to eat real, clean food. Avoid processed foods, and especially refined sugars. You’re going to feel so much better for it.

Next, find what works for you: Gluten-free, Paleo, Mediterranean, high-fat, plant-based, you name it. Experts and well-meaning friends and family may tell you what’s best, but no one knows your body as well as you do.

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Pay attention. Do you feel energized or fatigued after you eat certain foods? Our bodies have intrinsic wisdom if we are willing to listen and hear them.

4. You Are Not Really Sleeping

We’ve established that you’re (hopefully) getting enough sleep, but are you getting enough high-quality sleep? If you’re constantly saying “I’m exhausted,” you may not be.

Some of the top causes of poor sleep quality include being on electronics right before bed, interruptions, an uncomfortable mattress or the wrong pillow, grinding your teeth, an inconsistent sleep routine, or the fact that you’re not getting through all of the sleep cycles.

What Can You Do?

Start with the basics—get off your electronics at least an hour before bed, make sure you have a comfortable pillow and mattress, set a consistent sleep routine, reduce outside noise, and sleep in a well-darkened room or wear an eye mask.

If you have difficulty falling asleep or have poor sleep quality, this guide will help you get a good night’s sleep: Poor Sleep Quality Comes from All the Things You Do Since Morning.

5. You Are Stressed or Worrying Too Much

When you’re stressed, you produce more cortisol (the stress hormone), which can significantly affect your sleep and decrease the effectiveness of your immune system.[2] This is why one of the common side effects of long term stress is lack of sleep[3].

Stress and Sleep: Why You May Be Exhausted

    On top of stress hormones, excessive worrying can drain your energy. When you worry, you’re using energy.

    It’s like when you have an app on your phone that takes up a lot of battery and you have it constantly running the background, your battery will drain more quickly. Such is true with worry and stress.

    What Can You Do?

    Find things that reduce your stress levels. I’ve seen clients have great success with yoga, meditation, and exercise. If you’re worrying too much, get a clear plan in place to take action on what’s worrying you.

    6. You Are Not Breathing Deeply Enough

    Deep breathing increases circulation by bringing oxygen to your muscles and brain. This increased oxygen content in the bloodstream leads to greater energy and healthier muscles, organs, and tissues, which can help you avoid those “I’m exhausted” moments.

    To highlight the benefits of deep breathing, I reached out to a longtime Yoga Instructor and Ayurveda Wellness Counselor, Vivica Schwartz. Here’s what she shared:

    “Most people breathe into the chest only (shallow breathing) and don’t allow the breath to reach deeper into the abdominal region, due to stress and anxiety. Shifting the breath down, so that it expands the belly (and all the muscles that comprise the diaphragm) is one of the best ways to shift our awareness, quiet the mind, release tension and increase our energy levels.”[4]

    What Can You Do?

    Make a conscious effort to breathe deeply more often. Try this from Vivica:

    1. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your lower belly.
    2. Breathe smoothly in and out through the nose, noticing how your breath expands three-dimensionally in the ribcage.
    3. Now, begin to shift the inhalation into the lower abdomen first, so that the lower hand rises first, then fill the chest area.
    4. Reverse the process on the exhalation, emptying the chest area first, then the lower belly.
    5. Continue like this for a few rounds, visualizing the diaphragm contracting and pushing down and expanding the belly area.

    7. You Are Hanging out With the Wrong Crowd

    Have you ever known someone who “sucks the life out of you”? After spending time together, you feel tired, drained, and find yourself thinking “I’m exhausted!”

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    “Energy vampires” do just that—they suck your energy and throw your mental health out of alignment. It doesn’t matter how much sleep you’re getting. If you’re spending time with people who drain your energy, you’re going to feel tired.

    What Can You Do?

    Grab some garlic and your stake and ditch the energy vampires. Make a conscious effort to hang out with people who feed your soul and make you feel energized and alive.

    If you need a little help to spot these people out, you can check this article out: 15 Signs Of Negative People.

    8. You Are Not Moving

    A great deal of research suggests that physical activity and exercise improves energy and decreases fatigue.

    In a widely acknowledged 2006 study published in Psychological Bulletin, researchers analyzed 70 studies on exercise and fatigue which involved more than 6,800 people.

    Over 90% of the studies showed the same thing: sedentary people who completed a regular exercise program reported improved fatigue compared to those that did not exercise.[5]

    What Can You Do?

    Get moving, and find ways to increase your exercise and movement.

    General guidelines are 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity (or a combination of the two). This can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking 20 minutes a day, or participating in a sport you enjoy.

    Here’re some tips for you: How to Instantly Fall in Love With Moving and Start Shaking off the Extra Pounds

    9. You Are Dehydrated

    The human body is composed of 50-65% water. Some parts of our bodies, like our brain, heart, and lungs are more than 70% water. This means even mild dehydration can cause your energy levels to fall and leave you saying “I’m exhausted.”

    Fatigue is a telltale sign you are dehydrated. In fact, in a survey of 300 doctors in the UK, 1 in 5 patients who saw their doctor for symptoms such as fatigue and tiredness simply weren’t drinking enough water.[6]

    What Can You Do?

    A simple rule of thumb is eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Before you reach for your coffee in the morning, reach for a glass of water first.

    However, doctor and hydration expert Dr. Zach Bush noted,

    “Proper hydration is not simply infusing your body with water. More specifically, it’s about getting the water inside your cells. To do that, you need to improve the electrical charges across your cellular membranes. Strategies that improve the electrical charge across your membranes include: reducing EMF (electromagnetic field) exposure, increasing electrolytes, and boosting your fiber intake.”

    Try this intensive hydration protocol:

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    Drink 4 ounces of water every 30 minutes from 7 am to 7 pm for 3 days. During this intense hydration, add electrolytes to every other 4-ounce dose. Then, give your body a break from food and water between 7 pm and 7 am.

    10. You Are Too Busy

    You know the saying, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” I say, leave the busy person alone. They clearly have enough on their plate.

    Whether you’re a busy parent trying to get the kids to their various activities, a young entrepreneur trying to get a business up and running, or a person with a fairly average job trying to deal with a family crisis or work through continuing education, a busy life can leave you saying “I’m exhausted.”

    I’ve been there and I have to be careful of this myself. As a working mom of three young girls, who also wants to be social and active in my community, I know all too well the life of being busy. I’ve had to reign it in, create strategies, and make very conscious decisions.

    What Can You Do?

    Look at your life as an outside observer.

    Do you notice yourself constantly taking on more than you should? Would it be good to learn to say no? Perhaps you need to take a step back and identify what’s most important or set boundaries. 

    Perhaps you need to delegate more, outsource, or just get some stuff off your plate! 

    Delegation can be a great resource here, so check out this article to get started with this helpful skill. 

    11. There Is Something Else Going on

    If you’ve tried everything above and are still saying “I’m exhausted,” you may want to see your doctor or healthcare professional to uncover any underlying issues.

    Among other things, medication side effects, a viral infection, heart disease, and other health concerns, including thyroid and adrenal dysfunction, anemia, and sleep apnea, can all cause fatigue.

    What Can You Do?

    If you’re sleeping enough and doing all the “right” things above and you still feel tired, it’s important to identify what could be the cause, so talk to a healthcare professional as soon as possible.

    The Bottom Line

    If you’re sleeping enough and still find yourself tired and saying “I’m exhausted” all the time, it’s time to step back and see which of these reasons resonate with you.

    To get a different result, you have to do something differently. In order to be more energized and less exhausted, you’re going to need to make some changes.

    Are you going to eat better, exercise more, stay hydrated, take something off your plate, reassess the job you hate, or get away from a relationship that’s draining you?

    Change takes action, and it’s time for a change. Take action now and your energy levels will be glad you did!

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    Tips to Combat Exhaustion

    Featured photo credit: Mel Elías via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Tracy Kennedy

    Lifehack's Personal Development Expert, a results-driven coach dedicated to helping people achieve greater levels of happiness and success.

    How to Deal with Setbacks And Use Them for Future Success How to Deal with Uncertainty And Have Peace of Mind 12 Proven Ways To Increase Your Intellectual Wellness How to Build Self-Esteem: A Guide to Realize Your Hidden Power How to Build Self Discipline to Excel in Life

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    Published on November 18, 2021

    The Importance of a Healthy And Balanced Diet for Energy

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    The Importance of a Healthy And Balanced Diet for Energy

    Do you feel like you lack energy? Maybe you should start looking into what you eat. A healthy and balanced diet is crucial for everything in our lives. But oftentimes, people get consumed into the marketing of special “supplements,” energy drinks, powders, pills, and the list goes on and on. This happens to the point that we forget to go back to the basics—having a healthy and balanced diet.

    Eating healthy is not about doing cleanses, starving ourselves, or even restricting food groups. It is not even about “dieting.” If all this sounds familiar—yet shocking—to you, it’s probably because you may need to start making some changes to your eating lifestyle. A healthy and balanced diet is the solution to more than 90% of health problems, especially energy-related ones.

    Keep reading to learn more about the importance of a healthy and balanced diet for energy.

    1. A Healthy and Balanced Diet Is Key to Boosting Your Metabolism

    When you eat healthily, you’re nourishing your body with everything it needs. Your metabolism depends on all the necessary nutrients to be efficient. We all need enough amounts of protein, healthy fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and water. Without any of these elements, your body would not perform well. Whether you want to lose body fat or build muscle, you need to have a healthy and balanced diet.

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    2. It Helps Improve Your Memory and Productivity

    Studies show that when you have a healthy and balanced diet, your brain works better.[1] This is because you’re feeding your body with all the right nutrients including omega-3, which enhance memory and productivity. When you feel tired, especially at work or even after eating, it’s most likely because you’ve not been eating well or eating too much over-processed food. Eating healthily will also boost your creativity and make your ideas flow better.

    3. It Helps You Have a Healthy Weight

    This seems like a no-brainer, but again, common “dieting” trends have made people obsessed with extremes to achieve a healthy weight. You don’t have to do any “fad diets” to lose weight.[2] There’s no need to break the bank to eat healthily or even spend on expensive supplements. If you want to get a healthy weight, all you need to do is learn how to eat in a balanced, healthy way. Eat more whole foods from all food groups, and stay away from refined, overprocessed foods.

    4. It Can Help With Your Fitness Goals

    If you’ve been trying to get fit, get toned, and lose some body fat but keep struggling, take a closer look at your diet. Remember that fitness results are based on 80% healthy nutrition and 20% exercise.[3] When you eat healthily, your energy levels increase and so does your whole body composition. The first thing you need to focus on—before your weight—is improving your energy and metabolism, and the best way to achieve these is with balanced nutrition.

    5. It Helps Improve Your Immune System

    The thing about having more energy as your diet improves is that it directly affects your immune system as well. When you eat healthier food, you start feeling more energized and getting sick less often. Personally, I’ve experienced more wellness, and I hardly ever get sick. This includes the infamous flu. One of the best things is seeing how your body changes and that you don’t have to depend on medications or shots to stay healthy. If you’re looking to improve your immune system naturally, many foods can help boost your immune system.[4]

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    6. It Can Help Save You From Unhealthy Food Cravings

    Having a healthy and balanced diet helps reduce food cravings, especially sugar. Eating in a balanced way means that you’re including enough protein and fiber at each meal. Increasing protein in your diet is important not only to increase your energy and boost your metabolism but also to control cravings. Protein is actually the most satiating nutrient, besides fiber.[5] Having healthy fat foods like oils, nuts, seeds, and fruits like avocado will also help keep your blood sugar in check, reduce cravings and increase your energy.[6]

    7. It Will Help You Save Money

    If you have been spending tons of money on energy drinks to stack up for the day yet still feel awkward, then it’s time to change your eating habits. When you eat in a balanced way that embraces all food groups (AKA colorful plate), then your energy levels will increase. You won’t need to keep buying any more energy drinks or rely on coffee to boost your vitality. Always start with a great breakfast. Starting your day with a balanced meal is the best way to fuel up your body with all the energy you need. Quality whole foods are less expensive than investing in energy drinks and caffeine. By doing this simple change, you’ll notice a significant improvement in your budget.

    8. It Can Help You Have Better Mood

    Have you noticed how you have constant mood swings when your diet is full of junk food? Well, this has to do with the lack of essential nutrients and the excess of sugar, sodium, saturated fats, and additives. All these substances, especially refined sugars, cause your body to have constant energy crashes.[7] This is the reason why you often feel miserable and tired throughout the day. Start with an easy change, such as including more fruits and veggies, even in your snacks.

    9. More Energy Means Better Workout Performance

    When you’re heading to the gym, the first thing you usually think about to boost your energy is getting that supplement, those amino acids, or pre-workout shake mix. This is not altogether bad, but did you know that the quality of your diet throughout the day matters more than what you take during workouts? Yes, it’s the foods that we eat during the entire day that will make a huge difference. Therefore, instead of putting all the emphasis on your pre and post-workout snacks only, focus on eating quality meals throughout the day.

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    Also, don’t rely on workouts to increase your energy. Remember that exercise is only a component of the whole package, so eat healthier meals, and train according to your goals. When you eat right, your energy levels will increase, which means that you won’t feel unnecessarily exhausted after working out.

    10. It Can Help Enhance Your Sex Drive

    Sexual health is often overlooked when touching on this topic about eating healthy. But besides the common myths and noise about the aphrodisiac foods that can improve your sex life, a healthy and balanced diet can actually impact your sex drive.[8] A healthier diet leads to a healthier body, thus more vitality to perform well in bed. So, if you need to spark up your energy during sex, start by making healthier food choices overall.

    11. It Helps Improve Your Digestion

    When your energy increases through balanced eating, it directly impacts your digestion as well. Having a healthy metabolism also helps in digesting and absorbing the nutrients from foods. You can see the difference in how you feel after eating. Notice if you constantly feel bloated, have constipation, and even indigestion. When you eat more healthily, you’ll see a change in your gut health for good. A lot of energy problems are related to a poor digestive system. Good fiber foods like fruits, veggies, seeds, nuts, and whole-grain cereals will help improve your digestion and give you more energy.

    12. It Helps Protect You From Chronic Diseases

    Reducing the risk of suffering from chronic diseases has been by far the biggest benefit of having a healthy and balanced diet. Simple wins, such as not relying on medications to feel well, not having to check in with the doctors regularly because of symptoms, or even saving on medical bills is what I call prevention. This is what I call quality of life.

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    When you feel more energized because of a healthy and balanced diet, you are at less risk of suffering from chronic diseases. Problems like heart blood pressure, diabetes, gut issues, obesity, and even cancer are very common. The truth is that something as simple as having a healthier diet can help you avoid most of these problems. Therefore, a healthy and balanced diet for energy should be one of your top priorities if you want to stay away from chronic health issues and doctors.

    Final Thoughts

    A healthy and balanced diet can improve your life overall, not only your energy. You can have a better quality of life by simply including more whole foods rather than processed. Also, eating enough amounts of protein, healthy fats, fiber, and staying hydrated each meal will keep you energized and improve your mental health.

    Quality nutrition is key, as lack of energy is often linked to stress, poor sleep patterns, and anxiety and metabolic dysfunctions. Make sure you include a variety of foods in your diet, and your life will change for the better!

    More Tips on Leading a Healthy And Balanced Diet

    Featured photo credit: Pablo Merchán Montes via unsplash.com

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    Reference

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