It’s said that at any given time 10% of people are suffering with fatigue. Tiredness is natural. It’s simply the signal to rest after energy has been expended. But what happens when a person is consistently tired? There are many reasons why this can occur, but one thing is for sure, it’s horrible for the person experiencing it as they battle through their day usually consuming stimulants and sugar to try to keep themselves awake and focused. If this sounds like you, don’t worry. Here are five things you can do to get your energy levels back to where they should be and beat fatigue.
1. Seriously, reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake
Okay, this is probably not what you want to hear, after all it’s probably these things that are giving you a lift and are making life more fun. But the catch is while these things give you a boast of adrenal energy, they also deplete it digging you deeper into the hole of lethargy. It’s a short term fix that has long-term repercussions. You’ll need to kick these for a while, while you balance your blood sugar and regain your adrenal health. Start by reducing these. If you’re severely addicted you may get withdrawal symptoms, so take it in stages. I suggest thinking about which cup of coffee or tea is the most important for you and keeping to that one. The rest you can cut out. Over the long term (days to weeks) your energy will improve, so stick with it.
2. Eliminate sugar and white flour.
Can you live without sugar? No? Oh, you’re probably addicted then. Yes, this stuff is addictive and there is a reason manufacturers keep putting it into everything they produce (1). It doesn’t just taste good, it also leaves you depleted and craving more. When your blood sugar goes up it causes a spike of insulin which brings it back down and stores excess energy as weight. The problem is over time, you become ‘insulin resistant’ and insulin losses its ability to allow the cells of your body to take up sugar and use it as energy. The excess is stored as fat and you end up needing more and more sugar to feel like you have any energy. Oh and I mentioned white flour? It turns to glucose in the blood stream faster than table sugar does, so you might want to avoid that too.
3. Eat 3 good meals a day and definitely make sure you eat protein with each meal.
Protein means fish, meat, eggs and dairy, but it also means nuts, seeds and pulses, so don’t feel limited and mix it up. Eating protein with each meal slows down the breakdown of food in your gut and hence the release of sugar. This is a good thing because high levels of sugar in the blood stream give you a temporary high, but also a crashing low which compounded over time leaves you permanently tired. So you’re going to want to make sure that you slow the release of sugar from your food and one sure way to do that is to include protein with each meal.
4. Start investing in whole foods and a good multi-vitamin.
To kick in the repair processes in your body, you’re going to want to consume good nutrients. To repair your adrenals, you’ll need a lot of Vitamin C , B vitamins, zinc, manganese and magnesium. To heal your blood sugar you’ll want chromium and magnesium. These are found abundantly in fruits and vegetables, especially dark greens. Get them in quantity and go for organic as much as possible as pesticides aren’t doing you any good and just add to the toxic load. A good multi-vitamin (not the cheap supermarket kind) will make sure you’re hitting your minimum requirements in everything. Good quality ones are highly absorbable. Cheap ones are full of binders and fillers and have been known to come out the other end intact, so don’t waste your money on cheap synthetic vitamins. Look for food derived varieties that are easy to absorb.
5. Reduce Stress Levels
If your a stress junkie then you’ve got a problem. We have two parts to our autonomic nervous system – the synaptic and the parasympathetic parts. The parasympathetic is our resting and healing state. It allows us to rest and rejuvenate. It’s also our base state and the one we should be spending most of our time in. The synaptic nervous system is our flight, fight or freeze nervous system, designed to help us deal with treats or help us in tough situations.
For stone age people this worked quite well. Imagine turning a tree and coming face to face with a sabre tooth tiger. You could freeze and hope he hasn’t noticed, you could run or you could fight the critter. In any case you would want an increase in energy from the adrenal glands and in order to do that and you’d need to divert energy from the parts of your body that you don’t need, such as the digestive system or the sex glands. Adrenal hormones like adrenaline and cortisol would increase glucose release from the liver while dampening inflammation to make sure you don’t feel any injuries until later when the danger had passed – very handy.
Today most of the stress is in our own minds. We are often focused on perceived problems and drama which keeps us in the sympathetic stress state. It’s a great place to visit for a while to boost energy but we will burn out if we stay there too long. To rescue our energy levels we need adequate rest time. This means a good nights sleep (7-9 hours) but it also means having relaxed time in the day and cultivating a more relaxed state of mind. This will naturally increase energy levels as the body and mind have time to recover. Anything that helps you calm and slow down is good, tai-chi, yoga, a pleasant walk or a good book are all great. Deep-breathing will always put us in a parasympathetic state, as will good feelings such as being happy, grateful and serene. We’ll talk more about this is future articles but for the moment, just notice where your getting stressed in life and ask your-self how you can go about changing that.
Oh, and here’s one more reason to spend time in the parasympathetic state. It’s where your creativity and hence the solutions to your problems come from. So stop to smell the roses during your day and find some reasons to appreciate yourself and your life for heavens sake!
So there’s 5 sure ways to beat fatigue and reclaim your energy levels. They work, but you have to stick with them for a while and cultivate the healthy habits. It can be hard to begin with, but if you don’t do it, you’ll never recover and over time continue to get worse. These steps are fundamental to any energy recovery programme. The diet and advice may vary, but will in one way or another incorporate these steps. I’d also like to add before we finish to do some moderate exercise each day, but not to over-exercise. Exercise is great for balancing blood sugar and energy levels, as long you don’t over do it and start depleting those adrenal glands.
I’d like to hear your comments, so do let me know what you think and what results you’re getting. Also, if you know of someone suffering with fatigue (adrenal or otherwise), please do share this article as it will set them on the road to recovery.
I wish you the very best in health and energy.