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Published on October 9, 2020

Feeling Fatigue? 3 Reasons Why And How to Fix It

Feeling Fatigue? 3 Reasons Why And How to Fix It

Fatigue can be described as the overall feeling of tiredness, lack of energy, and having no motivation. This feeling of fatigue is such a common problem that it has its own abbreviation, TATT, which is short for “Tired All The Time”.

Various factors can contribute to fatigue, including psychological, physical, and lifestyle factors. The key is to understand which contributing factor or factors may be resulting in you feeling fatigued and understanding what steps you can take to fix the problem.

Forming new habits, lifestyle changes, and a change in mindset can be the first steps in overcoming fatigue. It may simpler than you first think.

What Contributes to Fatigue?

There are three main factors that can contribute to feeling fatigued. These are the following:

1. Psychological Factors

Work and family worries can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. If you are facing any problems in your relationships, they may be causing you mental and psychological burdens, which can make you feel fatigued.

2. Physical factors

Sleep apnoea, anemia, being overweight, and pregnancy are some of the examples of the physical causes of feeling fatigued. It is important to see your doctor if you are experiencing ongoing fatigue that you cannot attribute to psychological or lifestyle factors.

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3. Lifestyle Factors

Sleep, hygiene, working long hours, exercise, diet, and alcohol can all contribute to fatigue. In today’s world, it can seem that there is too much to do but too little time to do it.[1]

How to Overcome Fatigue

Now that you know the factors that are contributing to your feeling of fatigue, what steps can you take to overcome it?

An important factor in overcoming fatigue is to practice self-care. Utilize your time more efficiently to create more time for you to do what you want to do rather than spend too much time worrying about what you have to do. A simple change in your mindset and approach to life can make a big difference to how fatigued you feel.

1. Daily Chores and Habit-Forming

Let’s start with the basics. There is a saying that a tidy home helps promote a tidy mind. If your home is untidy and cluttered, then how are you able to even think about relaxing? You will always have tasks on your mind that you need to do, and you won’t be able to fully take advantage of your relaxation time.

Create daily habits that take little time to do but if done every day enables you to keep on top of your housework and chores.

The result is that you do not have to spend a large part of your weekend on a big tidying up of your home. You will not spend your relaxation time in a cluttered home not fully being able to relax because everywhere you look reminds you of the chores that you need to do.

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  1. Make your bed in the morning. This sets your intention for the day and also helps create a tidy bedroom.
  2. Set your alarm 10 minutes earlier than you need to. This ensures that you are not in a rush in the morning and have time to have a quick tidy up after yourself and your family. Being in a rush creates undue stress and anxiety that can affect the rest of your day.
  3. If you do not have time to wash your breakfast dishes, put them in a neat pile next to the sink. If dishes are scattered around the house, it immediately creates the illusion of more work to be done.
  4. When you get back from work, calm down for 10 minutes, sit down, watch TV, and create a line between your work life and your home life. If you have kept on top of the morning routine, then there should not be much housework for you to do when you get back home.
  5. Start making the evening meal, do the dishes as you go along, and make lunches for the next day. Multitasking is the key to creating more time for yourself.
  6. Eat the evening meal as a family at the table. Use this time to catch up on the day’s events and anything that you need to discuss.
  7. After the evening meal, set 10 minutes for relaxation and then clean up. Get your child to help you to take the dishes out and share this task with your partner if you can. You can use this time to chat among yourselves and communicate before you all do your separate things.
  8. Finally, give the house a quick hoover. Put your clothes out for the following day, and you are ready to do what you wish with your evening. You can relax knowing that lunches are prepared for tomorrow, the house is tidy, and the chores are completed.

2. Live a Healthy Lifestyle

The best way to overcome feeling fatigued is to avoid what causes it, and you can do this by living a healthy lifestyle. To live a healthy lifestyle, take note of the following:

Sleep

The amount and quality of sleep that you get each night is an important part of preventing fatigue. Good sleep hygiene is a must. The recommended amount of sleep for adults is 7-9 hours per night to promote health and well-being. The benefits of good sleep hygiene are increased focus, productivity, and being more present throughout the day.[2]

Sleep is the time when the body heals and restores itself. It promotes weight control and lowers the risk of health complications. Quality sleep can also improve memory and mood.

If you struggle to obtain good quality and amount of sleep, then there are a few tips that you can follow to ensure that you get a restful night’s sleep.

  1. Try to limit caffeine late in the day. Caffeine is a stimulant and can affect when you are ready to sleep.
  2. Try to avoid food close to your bedtime. Your stomach can take 3 to 4 hours to empty. If you go to bed soon after eating, then indigestion or heartburn can disturb your sleep.
  3. Turn off devices at least an hour before bed as devices can create too many distractions. You may be tempted to reply to emails or scroll through endless social media posts. Why not read a book rather than reaching for your phone?
  4. Avoid naps in the day and try to get in the habit of going to bed at the same time every night.
  5. Meditate before you sleep. There are plenty of apps and videos on the internet that provide guided meditation. Meditation is a good technique to practice to promote relaxation ready for sleep.

Healthy Eating

Your body runs off what you feed it. The best way to get the most energy from your food is to make sure you’re giving yourself the best food possible. Besides what you eat, when you eat can also impact your energy.[3]

The key to healthy eating is making time to prepare.

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  1. Make a meal plan each week before you go shopping. Plan for both evening meals and lunches at work. This saves you money but also ensures that you are eating healthy and not rushing to the shop on your lunch hour to grab a high-calorie convenience food.
  2. Involve your family in the meal planning. Use websites such as BBC Good Food to find a healthy variation of quick healthy meals. look for some ideas for delicious and healthy lunches you can take to work.

Finally, make sure that you value mealtime. Use your evening meal as quality time with your family. Try not to think of mealtimes as an inconvenience but as precious time that you can spend with your family without any distractions.

Exercise

It’s free, easy to take, has an immediate effect, and you don’t need a GP to get some. Exercise is the miracle cure we’ve always had. But for too long, we’ve neglected to take our recommended dose. Our health is now suffering as a consequence. Research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy.[4]

Many forms of exercise can suit your lifestyle, current fitness ability, and resources. Exercise can have a positive influence on fatigue as it impacts areas such as sleep quality and energy as mentioned above.

You may have the time, money, and no other commitments that enable you to join a gym and to attend the gym regularly. You may use your exercise time as social time and join a class or a sports club.

You may have family commitments, confidence issues, money issues, or other obstacles that prevent you from attending a gym or sports club. However, there are many online videos or fitness apps that you can do in the comfort of your own home or you may prefer to go running, jogging, or walking. Exercise is very personal to you and your lifestyle.

Yoga

One form of exercise that can be done at home is Yoga. Yoga is an ancient practice that involves both the mind and body. It can have an effect on your whole lifestyle with regular practice and help change your whole mindset and thus, having a positive impact on your feelings of fatigue. You can try out some beginner yoga poses first.

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The benefits to practicing yoga can include:[5]

  • Decreases stress
  • Relieves anxiety
  • May reduce inflammation
  • Could improve heart health
  • Improves quality of life
  • May fight depression
  • Could reduce chronic pain
  • Could promote sleep quality
  • Improves flexibility and balance
  • Could help improve breathing
  • May relieve migraines
  • Promotes healthy eating habits
  • Can improve strength

Summary

Fatigue can be attributed to one or more of the following factors: psychological, physical, or lifestyle. Whichever of the factors contribute to fatigue, the key is to ensure that you have self-care as your priority.

If you have a healthy, balanced lifestyle, then you will be more equipped to be able to deal with and overcome any factors that could cause you to be overwhelmed by fatigue.

The first step is to form a calm and relaxed environment as a base to practice your self-care. Creating daily habits and routines can ensure that your home environment is as relaxed and easy to manage as possible.

From this foundation, you can then have the time and energy to invest in healthy sleep habits, healthy eating, and exercise to achieve a healthy and balanced lifestyle and prevent the risk of being overcome by fatigue.

More Tips When You’re Feeling Fatigued

Featured photo credit: Yuris Alhumaydy via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Charlotte Chidlow

Declutter Consultant and Life Coach with a BSc (Hons) Psychology with the Open University.

Feeling Fatigue? 3 Reasons Why And How to Fix It

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Published on October 23, 2020

5 Things That Will Help You Sleep Naturally

5 Things That Will Help You Sleep Naturally

Sleep is an essential part of everyday life. We all love a good night’s sleep and loathe the tiredness and lack of concentration that comes from not having slept well.

Sleep also contributes to our feelings of wellness and our happiness. Many of us go through periods of time in our lives where we experience problems with our sleep. Sleep disruption, delayed sleep, insomnia—whatever you want to call it, sleep issues are a common experience, especially when you are feeling emotionally overwhelmed by the demands life places on you.

There is so much general advice out there on things to help you sleep, referred to as sleep hygiene. This includes how many hours to aim for, going to bed at the same time every day, getting up at the same time every day, avoiding day time sleep, taking regular exercise (but only during day time), avoiding caffeine alcohol and nicotine, not going to bed hungry or overfull, and having a good routine for bedtime.

One of the things I always advise my patients is to rethink their use of screens, especially in their bedrooms. You may find it hugely beneficial to change the way you use screens and electronic devices at night and leading up to bedtime.

In this digital age, most of us love our electronics, whether it’s a tablet, mobile phone, games console, laptop, computer, or TV. But these things take up a lot of our time, and they do not help with sleep at all.

In fact, they are proven to disrupt sleep. They can suppress the body’s ability to release melatonin—a sleep-inducing hormone.  Therefore, avoiding these things can help you sleep better.

The habit of checking our devices last thing at night and reaching for them first thing in the morning is ingrained in us. Remember these points when you next find yourself reaching for your device:

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  1. They stimulate your brain.
  2. The light that some devices emit can interfere with your internal body clock.
  3. Devices can be highly addictive, eating into even more sleep time.
  4. Checking work emails at night can create worry and stress, leading your brain to become stimulated in thinking about a specific issue/task.

Sleep hygiene is really important for us, and I would recommend thinking about all these things if you haven’t already.

In addition to sleep hygiene, here are some natural things to help you sleep, that you can try straight away, some of which you may not have come across before. Even with the best routines and behaviors around sleep, we can still struggle to get some decent shut-eye, and having ways to deal with that can be invaluable.

Quoting the Dalai Lama,

“Sleep is the best meditation.”

1. Mindfulness and Breathing

Mindfulness—yes, here it is again. We’ve all heard of it, and you guessed right—it can help with your sleep and is proven to do so.

Looking at it simply, mindfulness is the ability to objectively and non-judgmentally take notice of our internal and external experiences as they happen and without reactivity. When we can’t sleep, we experience unwanted thoughts and unpleasant feelings—the type we want to get rid of quickly, so that we can fall asleep.

Mindfulness shifts our focus from trying not to think about these things to accepting that these thoughts and feelings will come and then, noticing their presence without struggling against them. Then, as you lie still in your bed, move your focus to your breath and simply count 1 on every inhale and 2 on every exhale. Do this very slowly, allowing your lungs to fill and empty as you go.

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Some people find that tuning into this rhythm can get them off to sleep. It’s important to stick to this consistently before you decide it doesn’t work. Naturally, our attention can drift away. When this happens, just restart the counting of your breath. Let your body relax with each breath as you feel calmer, and approach the fringes of sleepiness.

2. Weighted Blankets

Maybe you’ve heard of these before maybe you haven’t, but they really are something else. Weighted blankets are exactly what they sound like—heavy blankets that are just the right weight to apply deep, evenly distributed pressure on your body, resulting in a calming effect that aids relaxation and sleep.

Some people have described the feeling of a weighted blanket as being hugged or held. There has been lots of research on the effectiveness of using weighted blankets, and a recent study in the Journal of Clinical and Sleep Medicine confirmed the benefits of using them. They have helped many people reduce sleep onset time (the time it takes to get off to sleep) and the number of nighttime awakenings.[1]

Aside from the deep pressure and holding experienced by the use of a weighted blanket, they have also been shown to increase serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in regulating sleep. All these benefits from a heavy blanket.

Learn more about the benefits of sleeping with weighted blankets here: Weighted Blanket for Anxiety and Insomnia: How to Make It Work

3. Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra is one of the fastest-growing forms of yoga right now, and guess what, it can help you get right off to sleep. Yoga Nidra is a technique for supporting your body’s natural relaxation response. It has been noted as therapeutic for several health conditions.

It’s essentially a type of meditation of the experience of falling asleep. This is a type of yoga where you don’t actually have to move. You just lie still under your duvet—cozy and warm—and are talked into sleepiness by listening to a recording.

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Think of it as a type of restful yoga in bed, requiring you to listen to a Yoga Nidra recording to help your mind and body restore themselves to a restful sleep state. You can find recordings on YouTube to give this technique a try. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t fallen asleep after a session of Yoga Nidra.

4. White Noise

If you are someone who experiences the slightest noise as disruptive to your sleep, then you might find white noise helpful. White noise is when sound waves of a broad spectrum of frequencies are combined to form a sound that blocks out background noise, reducing your attention to external sound. By doing this, white noise acts as a constant ambient sound to help mask the surrounding noise.

Many people find the rhythm of white noise soothing and relaxing. Before you rush out and buy a white noise machine to test out whether it could help you or not, there are plenty of white noise recordings available on YouTube.

Try to be consistent, with some level of persistence. Many things don’t work the first time, but that doesn’t mean they won’t work at all. Moving away from the idea of a quick fix to focusing on experimenting with a flexible attitude can be helpful.

5. Acceptance

From personal experience, changing the focus from trying to sleep to accepting it might not happen helps take the pressure off and reduce sleep stress.

The more we struggle to sleep, the more frustrated we can feel, and the more unwilling we can become of tolerating and experiencing unwanted thoughts and feelings that arise. This can leave us wired with stress and anxiety. This actually heightens wakefulness, with the nervous system becoming increasingly activated and consequently, worsening sleep problems.

The purpose of acceptance is to accept that we will experience unwanted thoughts and feelings. We should accept that we may not sleep so well given the problems we are having, and move to focus on resting and allowing discomfort to be present instead of struggling against it.

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The more accepting our attitude towards whatever problems we are having with sleep, the greater the willingness is to experience poor sleep. This often results in fewer struggles, less arousal, and interestingly, improved levels of sleepiness.

Next time you hit the sack, try to gently say to yourself, “I might not sleep, sleep is sometimes hard for me, I accept it might be difficult again tonight, but I will focus on resting my eyes, and my body.” Keep trying these techniques over several nights to try and lessen the intensity of the struggle you are having with sleep.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you are now armed with a few more techniques to manage sleep difficulties. Remember that like most people, many of us don’t get the exact number of hours we would like every single night. Some nights we get less, and some nights we get more. I certainly do.

Have an acceptance that sleep fluctuates, and at worst, you may feel tired,. But you know there will not be a catastrophe, that you will cope, and that you will get through the day just like you always do.

As always, if you’ve tried lots of things to help you sleep but are still experiencing difficulty, consider seeing your doctor.

More Things to Help You Sleep

Featured photo credit: Gregory Pappas via unsplash.com

Reference

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