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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.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Tired and How to Fix It

Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Tired and How to Fix It

“Why am I so tired?” is a question that people ask themselves pretty frequently. Everyone gets tired at one point or another, particularly after something like an illness, a long night up with a sick child, or a busy week at work. However, when tiredness is persistent—when you feel tired as soon as you wake up in morning or when sleep doesn’t seem to help, no matter how much rest you get—it may often indicate a deeper, underlying problem.

While there are a lot of possible reasons for tiredness, here are some of the most common causes of fatigue.

1. Dehydration

If you’re asking “Why am I so tired?” and want to boost your energy levels, first check whether you are dehydrated. The human brain is 85% water, and it needs to maintain this level in order to perform its essential functions[1].

Signs of dehydration

    If you fail to drink enough water, the brain extracts fluids from your blood to compensate for the deficit[2]. As a result, the oxygen levels in your blood drop, reducing the amount of energizing oxygen available to your organs and tissues. Fatigue and sleepiness set in rapidly, leaving you more vulnerable to the 2 pm post-lunch crash that many of us experience.

    You cannot cure this crash with caffeine; the only long-term, effective solution is to drink hydrating fluids throughout the day.

    2. Lack of Exercise

    A workout will surely leave you feeling even more tired, right? Wrong! As counterintuitive as it may sound, physical activities have an energizing effect. Moving your body releases endorphins, increases your heart rate, and boosts your concentration.

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    Try to fit in at least 30 minutes of medium-intensity exercise every day. It’s easiest if you can make this part of your everyday routine, either as soon as you wake up or right after work.

    3. A Poor Diet

    The food you eat has a direct impact on sleep quality and the amount of rest you get every night. For maximum energy, stick to protein, slow-release carbohydrates, and a moderate amount of healthy (unsaturated) fats.

    The majority of your food should be plant-based, high in fiber, and low in sugar. These choices will prevent blood sugar fluctuations, which can leave you feeling exhausted.

    An easy way to make sure you stick to a good diet is through meal preparation. It’s easy to just get take-out when you’re tired after work, but if you have a meal ready for you in the fridge, you’ll be less tempted by a frozen pizza or cheese sticks.

    Find out more about healthy meal prep here: 10 Meal Planning Apps You Need To Have To Get Healthier Easily

    4. Skipping Breakfast

    Eating breakfast is key to maintaining a good level of energy throughout the day. When you eat breakfast, you are sending calming signals to the areas of the brain responsible for avoiding danger, along with those that instruct the body to conserve as much energy as possible.

    Ingesting food signals to your brain that there are enough calories available to ensure our survival. This encourages it to stay relaxed, which in turn, promotes restful sleep.

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    Some great ideas for healthy, filling, and make-ahead breakfasts include overnight oats, smoothies, and freezer-friendly breakfast burritos.

    If meal-prepping isn’t your thing, stock up on easy but healthy breakfast foods like multigrain cereal, yogurt, and fruit.

    5. Poor Quality of Sleep

    We all know that it’s important to wind down a couple of hours before bed, but did you know that it’s what you do throughout the day that promotes good-quality sleep? It’s not just about the number of hours you sleep, but how restful and deep that sleep is if you want to stop asking “Why am I so tired?”

    To feel rested, try to regulate your everyday routine to make your sleep deeper and better. Get up at a regular time in the morning to ensure that you get regular sunlight.

    Eat nutritious foods in moderate amounts, and make sure you stay hydrated. Go to bed at the same time, and before bedtime, avoid screens that can give off harmful blue light and also keep you stimulated when you need to fall asleep.

    6. Sleep Apnea

    Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder where a person’s airways get blocked off while they are asleep, causing their oxygen levels to drop while sleeping[3]. This often causes people to stop breathing at night and then to jerk themselves awake (this can happen over 30 times an hour).

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    Risks of Untreated Sleep Apnea

      Because of this, people with sleep apnea can feel short of breath and have low energy levels[4]. Mouthpieces and other devices to aid in breathing can be used to keep oxygen levels in a safe zone.

      If you feel tired all the time and think you might have sleep apnea, consulting with a doctor is important. Do a sleep study, as this can often reveal if there is an underlying problem causing your tiredness — and once a diagnosis is made, treatment to help you get your energy back begins.

      7. Depression

      Depression is the most common mental health disorder in the United States (and in many other countries of the world, as well). It is marked by persistent feelings of sadness or unhappiness but has physical symptoms, too. Apart from fatigue, people may also experience changes in sleeping and eating habits and difficulty concentrating that leave them asking “Why am I so tired?”

      Treatment can often center on anti-depressants, counselling, and lifestyle changes, like stress management to help manage this condition.

      Many people also benefit from activities like yoga and meditation, which help regulate both the body and mind.

      8. Hypothyroidism

      If a person has hypothyroidism, they have an underactive thyroid gland that does not produce adequate levels of important hormones, and the result can be a persistent and unrelenting fatigue, even if someone is getting enough sleep. Other common symptoms of this disorder include mood swings, weight gain, and feeling cold all the time.

      Fortunately, simple blood work can reveal if there is a problem, and it can be treated with artificial thyroid hormone pills. Check here for signs of a thyroid problem. If you suspect that you might have hypothyroidism, talk to your doctor.

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      9. Anemia

      People with anemia are not able to make enough red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout their bodies. This is often due to a lack of nutrients like iron or B-12 and can be caused by problems such as heavy periods, bleeding in the digestive tract, or pregnancy (due to the increased demands of the growing baby).

      However, in most cases, this can be resolved with treatments like changes in diet, iron supplements, or B-12 shots. A simple blood test can tell you if you have anemia, so check in with your doctor if you suspect this.

      10. Cancer

      While you shouldn’t be freaking out about cancer just because you are tired, it is a fact that fatigue is one of the symptoms of cancer. Other common symptoms can include unexplained weight loss and the presence of palpable lumps or growths. This disease is marked by the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells that can do damage to surrounding tissues and possibly spread to other parts of the body.

      Diagnosis is usually by biopsy, and treatment often focuses on radiation, chemotherapy or surgery—and generally when a diagnosis is made early, the outcomes for the patient are better.

      Final Thoughts

      If you find yourself constantly asking, “Why am I so tired?” it may be time to see your doctor to find out if any of the problems above apply to you. All of them have treatments that can help improve your quality of life and get you back to normal energy levels.

      More on Overcoming Fatigue

      Featured photo credit: Lily Banse via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Harvard Health Publishing: Fight fatigue with fluids
      [2] NuCara: Are You Dehydrated?
      [3] Sleep Foundation: Sleep Apnea
      [4] Very Well Health: What Is Sleep Apnea?

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